This evening at 5:00 PM ET on ESPNU, another NIT game will be televised with this game being between the No. 3 seeded Oregon Ducks and the No. 7 seeded Iowa Hawkeyes. Don’t be fooled by the low seed, because Iowa hung in there in a tough Big Ten and actually won a game in their conference tournament. Sorry, I had to put that in there even though Oregon lost to a future NCAA team that upset UNLV; sorry if I’m still frustrated. Anyway, the Hawkeyes are currently 18-16 overall and were 8-10 in conference play. They defeated Dayton in the last round in a minor upset, and they are looking for more against a tougher Oregon team. Huskies fans everywhere, including guard Abdul Gaddy, are ready to face Oregon and get revenge. Now, it’s time to take down Iowa in order to get there.
Despite their poor defense, it won’t be that easy to stop Iowa. They knock down shots with ease and are an efficient team on offense, especially with Matt Gatens leading the way. The guard almost never turns it over, he has a 62.4 TS%, and only Devoe Joseph has a higher PER than him. Garrett Sim is the only Duck with a higher TS%, and only Joseph has provided more value to his team per game.
However, Gatens doesn’t lead the team in PER even if he is their best and most efficient player. Aaron White has a 22.7 PER- one point higher than Joseph (22.6), but nobody will ever say that he is better than the Ducks star- and is the team’s leading rebounder. He uses up the most possessions of any Hawkeye, but he is also an efficient player with a 57.9 TS%. Melsahn Basabe isn’t far behind in the rebounder department, but he is definitely the team’s fourth wheel with an 18.7 PER. He is, however, one of only three useful defensive players on the team. The other two being White and their point guard.
And that PG I’m talking about would be their facilitator Roy Devyn Marble, who makes up for a lack of efficiency through steals (1.6 per game) and passing (24 AST%). Nobody on this team is good defensively, but Marble does provide some positive value on that end of the floor. Zach McCabe is a solid, efficient Hawkeye who grabs nearly five rebounds per game and averages 1.08 PPP. Although, nobody will ever mistake him for Gatens insane efficiency 1.29 per game.
While Sim has the better TS%, his 1.21 PPP isn’t at Gatens’s level. Still, it doesn’t matter when your team has four players who are better on defense than the best defensive player on your opponent. Oregon will have to defend a barriage of great shots, but they have the defense to seal off the drives and make the defensive plays. Guys like Tony Woods are tough to beat on defense, and he’s also becoming a legitimate offensive threat over the past few games.
Although Iowa has higher PER totals, for the most part, PER doesn’t adjust enough for defense, and Oregon has the better defensive players. Nobody on Iowa is as talented as Devoe Joseph, and they also don’t have guys like Tyrone Nared and Tony Woods playing lockdown, nasty inside defense. Oregon is going to win this game 77-72, but I want you guys to watch out for Iowa’s shooting. They are dangerous when they get hot, and a few of their players can turn into Garrett Sim clones when they get going; especially Gatens. Watch out for him, because Gatens possesses ruthless efficiency and can hit shot after shot like he’s a machine. I think we’ll win this one, but I bet that’s what Arizona fans thought. Let’s not get too confident, because Iowa is better than you think. Unless, of course, you think they’re as good as Mizzou. Wait, what? But seriously, Iowa is a pretty good team.
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Topics: Aaron White, Abdul Gaddy, Arizona Wildcats, Big Ten, Devoe Joseph, Garrett Sim, Iowa, Matt Gatens, Melsahn Basabe, Missouri, NIT, Oregon Ducks Basketball, Roy Devyn Marble, Tony Woods, Tyrone Nared, UNLV, Washington Huskies, Zach McCabe