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The Box Score: Inside Iowa Hawkeye basketball statistics

BY RYAN PROBASCO | DECEMBER 18, 2013 5:00 AM

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A lot was inferred from Iowa’s inability to close out Iowa State on Dec. 13. “Iowa can’t close games.” “The Hawkeyes still have to figure out how to be clutch.”

While those blanket statements may hold some form of merit, statistics argue against the “clutch” label.  

If Devyn Marble or Mike Gesell converted at the free-throw line, or if Zach McCabe knocked down his 3-point attempt in the final possession, the narrative would have been completely different — most likely, one that portrayed Iowa as a team that has arrived to the big stage.

From a statistical standpoint, being “clutch” isn’t necessarily a telling description of a player or team. Iowa has averaged more than 76 possessions per game in 2013, so pinpointing just a few at the end of games isn’t necessarily going to narrate useful information about a team, considering the sample.

What the Dec. 13 game in Ames did tell us about Iowa is that it can beat quality teams on the road. Of course, Iowa would have been viewed in a higher light if it did win the game. But because the Hawkeyes lost doesn’t mean they’re any better or worse than they were before the game started.

When just a few plays are the deciding factor in a game, anything can happen, which is why macro-level analysis is a better teller of a team’s skill. And thus far, Iowa has been impressive in several areas.

Aaron White — 66.7 field goal percentage (1st in Big Ten)

White was fantastic against the Cyclones, finishing with 25 points and 17 rebounds in 32 minutes. And frankly, his performance wasn’t surprising, considering how efficient he’s been all season.

Inside the 3-point line, White has converted on 70.9 percent of his shots, which is higher than any player in the Big Ten.

The Strongsville, Ohio, native hasn’t been as good shooting behind the 3-point line, but it appears that he’s recognized his skills and is attempting more shots closer to the basket. In both his freshman and sophomore campaigns, White averaged 1.7 attempts per game behind the arc. But this year, he’s taken just 0.7 per game.

A year ago, 22 percent of White’s shots were 3-pointers. In 2013, just 9 percent of White’s field-goal attempts have been from behind the arc.

Adam Woodbury — 11 rebounds against Iowa State (season high)

Woodbury has been criticized by some for his lack of physicality near the basket. But against Iowa State, the Sioux City product rebounded the ball extremely well, something the Hawkeyes will need from Woodbury as their competition improves.

The sophomore grabbed just 3 rebounds against Fairleigh Dickinson on Dec. 9, even though the Hawkeyes were dominant on the boards. That performance was concerning, but his effort against Iowa State shows the potential Woodbury flashed in his freshman year is still obtainable.

Jarrod Uthoff — .289 win shares per 40 minutes (1st in Big Ten)

College Basketball Reference’s version of Bill James’s win shares in baseball, this stat attempts to quantify the overall contribution a player makes to a team per 40 minutes of playing time.

Uthoff quietly has immersed himself in Fran McCaffery’s group and has played at an extremely high level. And even though he’s yet to start a contest for the Hawkeyes, he’s averaging the third-highest minutes per game, which shows his coach has recognized how well he’s been playing.

The Cedar Rapids native has scored in double figures four games in a row and appears to be gaining confidence each game.  

Aaron White GRX

2P%: 70.9% in 2013, 53.6% in 2012, 56.9% in 2011

3P%: 25% in 2013, 22.7% in 2012, 27.9% in 2011


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