Three Keys for Iowa to Beat Texas Tonight

Posted by Alex Moscoso on November 20th, 2014

One of the Thursday night headliners will take place in Madison Square Garden where Iowa faces #10 Texas in the 2K Sports Classic. The Hawkeyes have gotten off to an impressive start by beating both their two opponents by an average of 32.5 points per game, but after last year’s late-season tanking, many are hesitant to jump back on the Iowa bandwagon. Fran McCaffery‘s squad is without question a talented bunch, so the Longhorns present a November opportunity to gain back some of that trust. An win Thursday night means the Hawkeyes would have a top 10 win before December, something they couldn’t muster at all last season. Here are three keys to the game that Iowa will need to address if they’re going to pull off the upset.

Adam Woodbury will look to use his size against Texas's big frontcourt on Thursday night

Adam Woodbury will look to use his size against Texas’s big frontcourt on Thursday night

  • Use their size. It won’t be very often this season that Texas looks across the floor and sees a team that has more size than them, but that will be the case tonight against Iowa. Three of the Longhorns’ starters are listed at 6’8”, 6’9”, and 6’9”, while the Hawkeyes have three starters at 6’9”, 6’9”, and 7’1”. Iowa will need to use its size advantage in the frontcourt — especially with Adam Woodbury — to defend under the basket. Through two games, 35.6 percent of Texas’ total shots have come at the rim, and they have been extremely effective from this spot (76.2% FG). The Hawkeyes need to challenge every shot and dare the Longhorns to hit that same rate over the arms of their big guys.

  • Let it fly from deep. A major weakness for the Hawkeyes over the past two seasons has been their three-point shooting. But in their first two games, Iowa has been hot from deep with a shooting percentage from distance of 43.9 percent. This improvement has been led by junior Jarrod Uthoff, who has hit on 6-of-10 treys thus far. Texas has also been fairly effective with the long ball, hitting on 40.4 percent of its own shots. However, the Longhorns have made the three a bigger part of their offense (39.8%) compared with the Hawkeyes (35.0%). As the underdog, Iowa is playing with house money and therefore should give Uthoff and his teammates the green light to let it fly in order to keep up with the Longhorns.
  • Win the turnover battle. Painfully obvious, right? Well, let me explain. Iowa’s defense has been very good at creating turnovers (21.9% TO rate), and especially at creating steals (12.6% steal rate). But the Texas offense has been just as good at minimizing turnovers and steals (16.6% TO and 3.8% steal rates). On the other side, the Hawkeyes have not been good at taking care of the ball (21.3% TO and 12.6% steal rates), and the Longhorns have been equally as poor at creating turnovers and steals (14.3% TO and 8.3% steal rates). The easiest way for Iowa to win the turnover battle is to let their guards – Anthony Clemmons, Mike Gesell, Josh Oglesby and Peter Jok – pressure Texas’ guards right out of the gate and add to their group total of 11 steals. Steals are more likely to turn into points than any other type of turnover, and dominating on this front will go a long way into securing the Hawkeyes a resume win by the end of the night.
Alex Moscoso (170 Posts)

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