The Box Score: A look at Iowa men's basketball statistics ahead of NIT Final Four
Iowa with halftime lead vs. nonconference opponents (including NIT): 12-1
As anyone who saw South Carolina State, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, or Coppin State this season can attest, the Hawkeyes had an easy nonconference schedule. Not just easy for a major conference team but for any team.
One of the only blemishes on the record was against Final Four team Wichita State. Iowa blew a 2-point halftime lead against the Shockers, who cruised in the second half of the Nov. 21 game. Contrast the that blown lead to the NIT where Iowa has led at half by 7 points combined in three games. The Hawkeyes have won all three of their NIT games by 11 points or more.
Iowa’s record vs. Sweet 16 teams: 0-7
Some may say the Hawkeyes NIT run has proven they belonged in the NCAA Tournament. Regardless, it doesn’t seem Iowa would’ve made it far in the Big Dance. While Iowa did beat some NCAA Tournament teams, the five teams Iowa played that made it to the final 16 all bested the Hawks in 2012-13.
Granted, the Hawkeyes did play some of these teams close (see: two losses to Michigan St. by 3 points), but both Final Four teams on Iowa’s schedule won by double-digits. Michigan was the only team to truly blow out the Hawkeyes this year, winning by 28 in Ann Arbor.
Eric May field-goal percentage: .460
The only scholarship senior on the team also shows the best wisdom when deciding to shoot. His field-goal percentage is the highest among true guards on the team and he’s nearly as choosy from deep, where he shoots just above 40 percent.
The Dubuque native has had a penchant for hitting a big 3-pointer at the right time, too — currently he’s 4-of-5 from beyond the arc during the NIT.
Maryland’s field-goal percentage defense: .384, 1st in ACC
The Terrapins are only as good as their defense, which usually means they’re pretty good. Much is, rightfully, due to Maryland’s 7-1 center Alex Len, a league-leader in both blocked shots per game (1.9) and pulling down nearly 8 rebounds per game. The Ukranian also contests and alters countless looks inside.
For what it’s worth, Virginia is second in the ACC in field-goal percentage defense (.388), and the Hawkeyes shot .491 against the Cavaliers’ zone and man-to-man.
Maryland guard-forward Dez Wells: 10-straight double-digit scoring games
Dating back to the regular season, 6-5 swingman Dez Wells has arguably wrested the “Maryland’s best player” award from Len. The sophomore’s run was highlighted by a 30-point effort against Elite Eight loser Duke during the ACC Tournament.
He selects shots well, as one of a mere seven ACC players who shot over .500 during the 2012-13 season. Wells had a .531 to be precise, but much like Marble for Iowa, Wells is a scorer who had off games this year, gaining only 5 points or fewer in four conference games.
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