The Box Score: Hawkeyes fare well statistically in hoops

BY BEN ROSS | DECEMBER 03, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s basketball team has eight games under its belt and a top-25 ranking to go along with its 7-1 record. The Hawkeyes fell in the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis to Villanova over the Thanksgiving holiday, but Fran McCaffery’s squad still played some fantastic basketball against stiff competition. A closer look at the stats put Iowa tops in the nation in more than one category.

Devyn Marble, 21 steals — 21st in NCAA, 1st in the Big Ten

Marble is leading the Hawkeyes in scoring and steals, picking the pockets of opponents around twice a game. He had a big steal and assist to Aaron White against Xavier in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis in a play that made it to ESPN’s top plays for the night. So far Marble is looking like his father — Roy Marble Sr. — on the court. Marble Sr. leads the Hawkeyes all-time in scoring, and when he moved on after his senior season, he also led the Hawks in steals. If his son can carry this play into the Big Ten season, he may get to play at the next level, too.

Team Scoring Margin — 33.8, 2nd in NCAA

Iowa is scoring 28 more points than it opponents on average, and that’s huge. The Hawkeyes do have some inflated stats because of their games against laughable opponents from earlier in the season, but they just came off three contests against teams that certainly aren’t slouches. Iowa’s tough defense is allowing just 61 points per game, and it is starting to look more and more like Tom Davis’ legendary press from years ago.

Field-Goal Defense — 34%, 1st in NCAA

Opponents are hitting just 34 percent of their field goals against the Hawkeyes, and if the suffocating defense can keep this up, Iowa will be tough to beat. Teams have attempted an astonishing number of field goals — 509, second most in the nation — against the Black and Gold, and only 173 of those shots have gone in.

Iowa also boasts the fourth-best 3-point shooting defense in the nation, with opponents making just 21 percent of their treys. This is also big, because teams may not be able to live by the 3-point shot in order to defeat Iowa. Villanova made three-straight 3s at one point against the Hawks, but that could prove to be an anomaly.

Mike Gesell’s Assist/Turnover Ratio — 7.0 Third in NCAA

Mike Gesell does really smart things with the ball. Pay close attention to what he does with the rock when he has it in his hands; rarely does he make a mistake. He doesn’t have the most assists in the world, with just 28 dishes, but he’s only turned the ball only four times in his many possessions, which is just a whole lot of bang for your buck.

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