**2020-2021 Iowa Basketball Season Thread**

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Remember DJ Harvey, the Notre Dame transfer who picked Vanderbilt over Iowa? He’s averaging 6ppg and 3rpg for a bad Commodores team while shooting 32% from the field and 30% from three.

So far in SEC play, Harvey is 1-14 from the field and 0-5 from three.

If Iowa landed Harvey, it’s possible they don’t offer the Murray twins.
 

StinkyMcFadden

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Remember DJ Harvey, the Notre Dame transfer who picked Vanderbilt over Iowa? He’s averaging 6ppg and 3rpg for a bad Commodores team while shooting 32% from the field and 30% from three.

So far in SEC play, Harvey is 1-14 from the field and 0-5 from three.

If Iowa landed Harvey, it’s possible they don’t offer the Murray twins.
In Harvey's defense, he is an only child.
 

CurdMan

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This is so fucking stupid. Let’s do some math. By the “you have to be top 20 in both offense and defense to be a title contender” saying, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Houston, Kansas, and WVU are all title contenders. All of those teams are ranked lower in kenpom than Iowa. Here’s the crazy part: despite Iowa having just the 77th best defense nationally and Illinois having that magical top 20 defense, the gap between Iowa’s #1 offense and Illinois’ #6 offense is so wide that Iowa is still considered the better team.

Does the defense have to play better to beat the really good teams? It’d be nice, but no, it doesn’t. Iowa could have outscored Gonzaga on a decent shooting day, despite shitty defense. It’s a truly elite offense and it’s ridiculous to say that all of these other teams are title contenders and Iowa is not.
 

Mo T

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This is so fucking stupid. Let’s do some math. By the “you have to be top 20 in both offense and defense to be a title contender” saying, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Houston, Kansas, and WVU are all title contenders. All of those teams are ranked lower in kenpom than Iowa. Here’s the crazy part: despite Iowa having just the 77th best defense nationally and Illinois having that magical top 20 defense, the gap between Iowa’s #1 offense and Illinois’ #6 offense is so wide that Iowa is still considered the better team.

Does the defense have to play better to beat the really good teams? It’d be nice, but no, it doesn’t. Iowa could have outscored Gonzaga on a decent shooting day, despite shitty defense. It’s a truly elite offense and it’s ridiculous to say that all of these other teams are title contenders and Iowa is not.
I think the last team in the Final Four with an AdJD similar to Iowa was VCU in 2011. In the years since then, there have been a few outliers in the low 40's and upper 30's.

In 2005, Wake Forest was similar to Iowa with an elite offense and blah defense. They lost in the second round.

In 2012, Missouri had an elite offense and really bad defense. They lost in the first round.

In 2014, Duke had the #1 offense and 86th ranked defense. They lost in the first round.
 

6deuce

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I think the last team in the Final Four with an AdJD similar to Iowa was VCU in 2011. In the years since then, there have been a few outliers in the low 40's and upper 30's.

In 2005, Wake Forest was similar to Iowa with an elite offense and blah defense. They lost in the second round.

In 2012, Missouri had an elite offense and really bad defense. They lost in the first round.

In 2014, Duke had the #1 offense and 86th ranked defense. They lost in the first round.
 

CurdMan

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I think the last team in the Final Four with an AdJD similar to Iowa was VCU in 2011. In the years since then, there have been a few outliers in the low 40's and upper 30's.

In 2005, Wake Forest was similar to Iowa with an elite offense and blah defense. They lost in the second round.

In 2012, Missouri had an elite offense and really bad defense. They lost in the first round.

In 2014, Duke had the #1 offense and 86th ranked defense. They lost in the first round.
What makes NCAA tournament games different than other games? No one would say that Iowa can’t beat other kenpom top 20 teams. Hell, they’ve beat a shit ton of them the last couple of years. No one would even say that they couldn’t go on a streak and win several games in a row against really good teams at the big ten tournament. So why is it that the NCAA tournament is going to be so different?

Hint: it won’t be. It’s just that teams with truly elite offenses and middling defenses aren’t that common. When you put everything together Iowa is still a top 5 team and has no worse shot of winning a title than the teams ranked below them.
 

Dr. Zaius

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What makes NCAA tournament games different than other games? No one would say that Iowa can’t beat other kenpom top 20 teams. Hell, they’ve beat a shit ton of them the last couple of years. No one would even say that they couldn’t go on a streak and win several games in a row against really good teams at the big ten tournament. So why is it that the NCAA tournament is going to be so different?

Hint: it won’t be. It’s just that teams with truly elite offenses and middling defenses aren’t that common. When you put everything together Iowa is still a top 5 team and has no worse shot of winning a title than the teams ranked below them.
It’s probability when thinking about winning a string of games in a tournament as opposed to single games in a vacuum. It’s more common for a team to have an off night offensively than a team with solid defense.
 

CurdMan

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It’s probability when thinking about winning a string of games in a tournament as opposed to single games in a vacuum. It’s more common for a team to have an off night offensively than a team with solid defense.
Is it likely that an elite defensive team would go six straight games without having an off night? This is stupid
 

MikeyJoe

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This entire narrative of focusing on defensive rather than net efficiency is stupid.
Not really. It's kind of about variability or balance. Because theoretically, sure, it doesn't matter. Net efficiency means you can just outscore everyone on an average night. But having two ways to win is a little better.
 

CurdMan

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Not really. It's kind of about variability or balance. Because theoretically, sure, it doesn't matter. Net efficiency means you can just outscore everyone on an average night. But having two ways to win is a little better.
Of course you’d rather be 1 and 1. But you’d rather be 1 and 77 (Iowa) than 11 and 11 (Kansas) if you are so much better on one side that it makes the net difference significant.

I get thinking that you’d rather have Illinois’ numbers of both being top 20. But I think people are failing to realize that the gap between offenses is pretty large between Iowa/Gonzaga and everyone else.
 

Mo T

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What makes NCAA tournament games different than other games?
There is an extensive list to answer that.

I hope that Iowa's elite offense can get them to the Final Four. It certainly can if they play like they did last night. My personal opinion is elite defense is easier to replicate than elite offense in a multi-game scenario and gives teams advantages in a tourney setting when you may not have as much time to game plan.
 

MikeyJoe

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Of course you’d rather be 1 and 1. But you’d rather be 1 and 77 (Iowa) than 11 and 11 (Kansas) if you are so much better on one side that it makes the net difference significant.

I get thinking that you’d rather have Illinois’ numbers of both being top 20. But I think people are failing to realize that the gap between offenses is pretty large between Iowa/Gonzaga and everyone else.
Well, yes, of course. I'm talking about a scenario where all else being equal, two teams are +25 in net efficiency. I'd rather be the team that's 5 and 20 than 1 and 70.
 

CurdMan

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There is an extensive list to answer that.

I hope that Iowa's elite offense can get them to the Final Four. It certainly can if they play like they did last night. My personal opinion is elite defense is easier to replicate than elite offense in a multi-game scenario and gives teams advantages in a tourney setting when you may not have as much time to game plan.
An extensive list of probably single digit teams to have a much better offense than all but one other team in the country with a middling defense. It is statistically extremely unlikely that one of those teams has won a title and it has nothing to do with the defense being ranked outside of #20.
 

Mo T

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An extensive list of probably single digit teams to have a much better offense than all but one other team in the country with a middling defense. It is statistically extremely unlikely that one of those teams has won a title and it has nothing to do with the defense being ranked outside of #20.
My extensive list was the answer to your question about how NCAA tourney games are different than other games.
 

CurdMan

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Well, yes, of course. I'm talking about a scenario where all else being equal, two teams are +25 in net efficiency. I'd rather be the team that's 5 and 20 than 1 and 70.
I don’t even disagree with that. Iowa’s defense likely will sputter and cause them to lose a tournament game they otherwise could’ve won. But it’s ridiculous hearing people like Emmert say that they can’t be a championship contender until the defense improves by using the top 20 argument. It just isn’t common to have a top 5 team with a truly elite offense and middling defense, so there aren’t examples of teams to win titles that way. A better defense would help Iowa win a title. To say it can’t be done? Poor conclusion based off of history that doesn’t apply and is irrelevant to this particular Iowa team
 

MikeyJoe

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I don’t even disagree with that. Iowa’s defense likely will sputter and cause them to lose a tournament game they otherwise could’ve won. But it’s ridiculous hearing people like Emmert say that they can’t be a championship contender until the defense improves by using the top 20 argument. It just isn’t common to have a top 5 team with a truly elite offense and middling defense, so there aren’t examples of teams to win titles that way. A better defense would help Iowa win a title. To say it can’t be done? Poor conclusion based off of history that doesn’t apply and is irrelevant to this particular Iowa team
Yes, I agree with that. They're fairly unique, so if there's only 5 historical comps of course it's likely none of them won a title. Winning a title is really rare.
 

Mo T

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Yes, I agree with that. They're fairly unique, so if there's only 5 historical comps of course it's likely none of them won a title. Winning a title is really rare.
The only point of my shitty post about teams with highly ranked (#1) offenses and 70-100 ranked defenses (3 of them) was they won a combined one game out of four.

I have no idea if the other comps (elite defense, middling offense) would be similar to the few examples similar to Iowa.
 

L. Wade Childress

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Not really. It's kind of about variability or balance. Because theoretically, sure, it doesn't matter. Net efficiency means you can just outscore everyone on an average night. But having two ways to win is a little better.
right, but the people bitching about defense seem to ignore the fact that it’s also possible to have bad defensive games. It is less likely with a better defense? Sure. But the concept of net efficiency is quantifying the likelihood of having both segments be bad enough to lose a game.
 

nolookpass

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right, but the people bitching about defense seem to ignore the fact that it’s also possible to have bad defensive games. It is less likely with a better defense? Sure. But the concept of net efficiency is quantifying the likelihood of having both segments be bad enough to lose a game.
defense is directly affected by effort. shooting, not so much.
 
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I don’t necessarily trust my favorite team’s shooters in a new gym so sure defense>offense but if they just won game 1 can’t say I’m too concerned that they’ll shoot poorly with a quick turnaround.
 
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right, but the people bitching about defense seem to ignore the fact that it’s also possible to have bad defensive games. It is less likely with a better defense? Sure. But the concept of net efficiency is quantifying the likelihood of having both segments be bad enough to lose a game.
Are you sure? Is there some smoothing mechanism that is embedded into the net efficiency calculations?

Mikey’s point about variability is spot on.
 
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I don’t necessarily trust my favorite team’s shooters in a new gym so sure defense>offense but if they just won game 1 can’t say I’m too concerned that they’ll shoot poorly with a quick turnaround.
The great thing about this team is they aren't reliant on jumpers. Dump it into Garza and he'll get easy bucket after easy bucket.
 

Mo T

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The great thing about this team is they aren't reliant on jumpers. Dump it into Garza and he'll get easy bucket after easy bucket.
There has been nothing easy about many of Garza's points in the last five games. He is facing a double against every team, almost every time (unless they screw up).
 

Thomas Wolsey

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While not a lottery pick, Garza is a better college basketball player than most lottery picks over the last several years.
Agreed. Just pointing out people making arbitrary cutoffs about who contenders are based on ordinal rankings in efficiency metrics isn’t much different.
 
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There has been nothing easy about many of Garza's points in the last five games. He is facing a double against every team, almost every time (unless they screw up).
We can argue how hard or easy it is but Garza has shown he can score extremely efficiently and also get easy buckets for others. The point is we aren't reliant on jumpers. They scored 90 against Gonzaga with 4 threes.
 

HawkLax6

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This is so fucking stupid. Let’s do some math. By the “you have to be top 20 in both offense and defense to be a title contender” saying, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Houston, Kansas, and WVU are all title contenders. All of those teams are ranked lower in kenpom than Iowa. Here’s the crazy part: despite Iowa having just the 77th best defense nationally and Illinois having that magical top 20 defense, the gap between Iowa’s #1 offense and Illinois’ #6 offense is so wide that Iowa is still considered the better team.

Does the defense have to play better to beat the really good teams? It’d be nice, but no, it doesn’t. Iowa could have outscored Gonzaga on a decent shooting day, despite shitty defense. It’s a truly elite offense and it’s ridiculous to say that all of these other teams are title contenders and Iowa is not.
I think people are saying this as I don't think a champion has had worse than a Top 20/25 defense since Kenpom has been tracking his numbers in 2001-02 (or it is only like one of the 18 champions outside the Top 25).
 
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It's also worth noting that all of the analysis of where previous champions ranked is done after they won the championship.

After you beat several really good teams on neutral courts, your rankings obviously increase. Pre-tournament rankings are more useful.
 
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Most of those comparison examples cited were notable not because the team 'didnt win the championship' but bexause they largely flamed out early.
 

SuperHans

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New article from Ken Pomeroy on the Athletic:


The adage that defenses wins championships? Not so fast: KenPom

If you have ever played on a basketball team, at some point a coach told you that defense wins championships. Even if you haven’t, it is not hard to find coaches or commentators who will tell you that today either. I suspect the inspiration behind these statements is not some sort of long-standing history of great defenses winning championships, but from a need to motivate players to work on the defense as much as they work on their offense.

Deep in their hearts, few basketball people really believe that defense wins championships. As the kids say, those people have told on themselves with respect to their analysis of Gonzaga this season. In the first half of the season, the Zags have put together the most impressive offensive performances that Bill Self and Tony Bennett have witnessed from an opponent in their careers. After both games, there was little criticism of the defense played by Kansas or Virginia and a ton of praise for Gonzaga’s offense. Even on Twitter, where people are not exactly afraid to share negative opinions.

And you know what? That is the correct takeaway. Neither Kansas nor Virginia may not feature a vintage defense by each program’s standards, but both are still among the game’s best. However, Gonzaga’s offense is on another level. And history tells us that if anything, great offense is behind most champions. This is true whether we look at the very highest levels of the game or at conference champions.

Let’s start with the national title winners. Since 1997, 23 national champions have been crowned. Just four of those had a better adjusted defensive efficiency than adjusted offensive efficiency, relative to the national average. The last team to win with a better defense was UConn in 2014. The others prior to that: 2013 Louisville, 2008 Kansas and 1999 UConn. And that Kansas team had a defense that was nearly identical to its offense. With another made bucket here and there, they wouldn’t have made the list.

(One historical footnote worth mentioning is that last season, Kansas and Baylor were headed to the Big 12 tournament with a better defense than offense. Given that both were on track to be 1-seeds, it would have been interesting to see how their respective chases for a national title would have played out.)

The ’14 UConn team was the most lopsided defensive champ, with a defensive rating 5.1 points better than its offensive rating relative to the national average. However, eight champions have had an offensive imbalance greater than that. The 2018 Villanova team set the standard with an offense that was 11.7 points per 100 possessions better than its defense.

On a related note, it’s almost certain that the best offenses are better than the best defenses in a given season. Last season Gonzaga had the highest-rated offense, beating the national average by 18.9 points per 100 possessions, while Virginia’s top-ranked defense beat the average by “just” 17.3 points. That marked the 21st time in the past 24 seasons that the best offense was more dominant than the best defense.

Digging a little deeper into the rankings shows this effect better. Just once in the past 24 seasons has the 10th-best defense been better than the 10th-best offense, and in every season since 1997, the 20th-best offense has been better than the 20th-best defense. Basically, the ceiling is higher for offense than defense. When Corey Kispert is heating up, an opponent can only do so much. A defense is more at the mercy of whether an offense is clicking on all cylinders than vice versa.

Even if your program isn’t chasing a national title, these same lessons are learned when looking at past conference champions. Since 1997, 952 teams have won a regular-season conference title, either outright or shared. Of those, 433 finished regular-season play with the conference’s best offensive efficiency, while 409 finished with the best defensive efficiency. (It’s worth noting that 167 were ranked first in both categories.)

But relative to their conference’s average, the champs had a better offense 549 times (58 percent) compared to 403 teams that had a better defense. It’s not that a team can’t win with defense, but the best teams are more likely to win with their offense, no matter what level we’re talking about. They’re also more likely to win with a mediocre defense than a mediocre offense. Just 54 conference champs were able to win a title with an offense ranked in the bottom half of their league, while 80 did so with a below-average defense.

A useful corollary is that bad teams tend to be better defensively than offensively. It’s easier to fake a competent defense than a competent offense when a team lacks talent. One simple example is that a team can focus one’s efforts on preventing transition by ignoring offensive rebounds after their missed shots. At any rate, maybe that’s where the canard of “defense wins championships” got started. Coaches without talent know the best chance for their team to win games is to get stops because their own shots are probably not going in at a rate to overcome bad defense.

Among the 925 teams that have finished last in their conference race since 1997, 479 were last in their league in offensive efficiency, while just 383 were last in defense. A total of 590 of those last-place teams (64 percent) had a better defense than offense. But those teams weren’t winning championships — they were dead last in their league.

The truth is that great offense generally beats great defense. For the best college teams, that means the path to greatness is more often about scoring than preventing scores. Gonzaga’s run is another example of that, but it’s not the only one. Three of the top four teams in my ratings — Gonzaga, Villanova and Iowa — are significantly better on offense than defense. If those teams have a bad offensive game, it will more likely be due to shots not falling or poor execution than the defensive scheme they face.

Basketball is too complicated to be boiled down to three-word clichés. But history tells us that great teams are more likely to be driven by their offense and poor teams are more likely to be doomed by their inability to score. I think coaches understand this. One giveaway is that recruiting services and coaches alike put a premium on valuing players who can score over those that can defend. Deep down, basketball people understand that offense is more important than defense at the college level, even if they don’t want to say it out loud.
 
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It is posted in the general basketball thread, but I am putting it here as well as it does affect Iowa's schedule. It also says that the Big Ten is trying to get the missed games played, so hopefully they can figure out a way to reschedule Michigan State and Iowa.

 
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Good article re defense. I think the real question is: can iowas defense be considered 'mediocre' and what is the cutoff between mediocre and just outright 'bad'?

I dont think we will get far in march with outright bad d. I think there are other statistical analyses that back thst line of thinking. This article doesnt really refute that line of thinking, either.

At times the d has been bad, and at times its looked mediocre (and for brief stretches almost solid). Hopefully good enough for a deep run, but i am not convinced.
 
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