Mar 8, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Matt Gatens (5) dunks against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the second half of the first round of 2012 Big Ten Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Iowa defeated Illinois 64-61. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

NIT Watch: Iowa

With the Oregon Ducks getting ready to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes in their next NIT game, it becomes time to take a look at the best five players on Iowa, a team that finished 8-10 in Big Ten play; one of the toughest conferences in the nation. The No. 7 Iowa Hawkeyes are terrible defensively, but they have a top 75 offense and were one of the best 80 teams in college basketball last season. Oregon was better, but Iowa is still dangerous, especially when they start making it rain.

1. Matt Gatens- This guy was one of the five most efficient players in the Big Ten this season and was worth 4.6 wins with a 21.5 PER. His 62.4 TS% is insane, and he is basically their better version of Garrett Sim. Gatens almost never turns it over and even shoots 42% from three and just over 85% from the line. Overall, he was worth nearly four wins on offense and added 1.4 steals per game. He may be subpar defensively, but Gatens is a huge threat on offense and puts up over 15 points per game and 1.30 points per possession. Simply put, Matt Gatens is the model of efficiency and plays Iowa basketball. Did I also mention that he uses up only one-fifth of the team’s possessions and still puts up 15 a night?

2. Aaron White- Their best rebounder, Aaron White was also worth about three wins this year and led the team with a 22.7 PER. He is also the team’s best defensive player, but barely, and has an efficient 57.9 TS%. The offense runs through White, because he has the highest USG% and makes good on that with a 1.14 PPP. Watch for this guy.

3. Roy Devyn Marble- Iowa also has a good playmaker, and Marble has an assist on nearly a quarter of his possessions. The facilitator may not be the most efficient player in the world, but he can make a case for being the team’s best defensive player and even averages 1.6 steals per game. Marble is a dangerous player, and the advanced statistics don’t do him as much justice as he deserves.

4. Melsahn Basabe- An 18.7 PER and a 55.2 TS% are enough to show you that Basabe is an efficient player who does work on the inside. A solid block artist, Basabe averages 1.1 blocks per game and is just behind White in rebounding. He is just behind White for being the best defensive player on the team and has the blocks to prove it.

5. Zach McCabe- He might turn it over a little too much and doesn’t light it up on defense, but McCabe has a very efficient 58.4 TS% and hits his shots when you need him to. He was the team’s third most efficient offensive player, but he was also the second worst defensive player of the six players who receive the most playing time. McCabe finished the season with a solid 16.5 PER and is a decent fifth wheel and a nice scoring option; he just can’t do much else besides hit shots and add a little bit of rebounding (4.7 per game).

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Tags: Aaron White Basketball Big Ten Garrett Sim Iowa Matt Gatens Melsahn Basabe NIT Roy Devyn Marble Zach McCabe

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