Iowa is off to a 7-2 start, a very solid beginning considering the tricky schedule they have faced. The Hawkeyes have no bad losses, and own wins over Florida State and Wichita State. Tonight, they have a chance to score its largest win to date when they travel to Ames to square off with Iowa State. The Hawkeyes have lost to their in-state rivals two years in a row; to avoid running the streak to three, here are three things Iowa must do on Thursday evening.
- Get A Big Game From Adam Woodbury: Iowa State’s Jameel McKay is a long and athletic shot-blocker, but he’s also not 7’1″. The towering Woodbury is posting the highest offensive rebounding rate (13.2 percent) of his career so far this season, a rate good for sixth best in the Big Ten. With this one expected to be a close game, he’ll need to create extra possessions by utilizing his length on the offensive glass. The Cyclones have the 12th best defensive rebounding rate in the country, so the senior big man will have his work cut out for him in doing so. Needless to say, the occasionally foul-prone Woodbury will also need to stay on the floor to launch his offensive rebound assault.
- Continue The Stingy Perimeter Defense: This is easier said than done against an Iowa State unit that has an eFG percentage (59.3 percent) in the top ten nationally. Iowa has held foes in check from the perimeter (28.4 percent on threes), but wing players like Charles Cooke from Dayton and VJ Beachem from Notre Dame have hurt them in their two losses by shooting high percentages from behind the arc. They can’t let Cyclones like Nazareth Mitrou-Long or Matt Thomas get quality looks from the wing, especially with the momentum swings that will come from a crazed crowd if the deep shots go down.
- Get Quality Looks: Shot selection has been a point of emphasis for this team the last couple of seasons. They are at their best when they can get into the paint first, then play inside-out. If the Hawkeyes start bombing away from the outside without trying to score from closer in, the Cyclones could quickly turn this into a lopsided affair. Getting into a three-point shooting contest with Iowa State is a losing proposition for most teams, even though Iowa actually is currently shooting a better percentage from long range on the season (40.2 percent for the Hawkeyes, 37.7 percent for ISU). A big part of the efficient Iowa shooting has been their patience and selectivity with the attempts they do take from deep. Scoring both in the paint and in transition early on will open things up from the outside as the game progresses.