Three Takeaways From Iowa’s Performance at the Battle 4 AtlantisPosted by Deepak Jayanti (@dee_b1g) on December 3rd, 2013
After three consecutive days of basketball at the Battle 4 Atlantis, we can now take a step back and summarize some takeaways from the tournament that was held in a hotel convention center. Freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins was supposed to steal the show during the tournament, but Kansas’ loss to Villanova moved the spotlight on to some of the other teams. Villanova’s resurgence will be well-documented over the next few days, but Iowa‘s subtle improvements on exhibit there also deserve attention. The following are three takeaways from the Hawkeyes’ performance in the Bahamas over the weekend:
- Devyn Marble appears to have improved his jumper. Sorta. As a junior, Marble’s jumper wasn’t horrible, but it also wasn’t very consistent from beyond the arc (33 percent from three). He relied heavily on cuts to the basket that were taken away by opposing defenses during the second half of the Big Ten season, but his offensive game appears to be more diverse this year. Still, he only shot 33 percent (6-of-18) from three-point land at this tournament. He was 4-of-10 against Xavier, but most of those misses came in the second half when he was dealing with leg cramps. The difference is that there were a few possessions in transition when he pulled up for a shot instead taking it all the way to the basket. This new angle to add the mid-range to his game will help keep defenses honest going forward.
- Zach McCabe steps up as the designated long-range specialist. With Josh Oglesby out injured for a few weeks, the Hawkeyes needed McCabe to shoot effectively from beyond the arc and he definitely delivered, hitting 8-of-16 over the weekend. He averaged 13 points per game and made several clutch shots from the corner against Xavier to help the Hawkeyes come back from a 15-point deficit during the second half. The Musketeers will not be the only team this season to present a zone defense against the Hawkeyes because of a perceived lack of a consistent three-point threat. Opposing defenses will also begin to double team Marble, even on the perimeter. With two good perimeter offensive threats in McCabe and Marble, the Hawkeyes’ offense is showing that it will be more effective than last season.
- Adam Woodbury continues to be confused offensively. Woodbury was one of the top-75 recruits last season, but understandably struggled as a freshman. However, three weeks into his sophomore campaign, he still hasn’t found an offensive comfort zone and has taken a back seat to Melsahn Basabe during key second half possessions. Averaging 4.8 rebounds per game is helpful but Woodbury has to find a way to contribute offensively too. Basabe is more athletic than Woodbury and is excellent in transition because he finishes well around the basket. Woodbury on the other hand still struggles to catch quick passes in traffic and finish, whether in transition or in the half-court. Over the weekend, Fran McCaffery used Gabriel Olaseni when Basabe was on the bench, who also ran the floor well against Villanova and Xavier. Olaseni has averaged 6.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game so far this season, which will definitely impact Woodbury’s playing time. If McCaffery uses Marble as a stretch four, it wouldn’t be surprising if Woodbury’s minutes continue downward because he takes a backseat to Basabe or Olaseni at the center position.