The Box Score: Shooting and the remainder of Big Ten play


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With only 10 games remaining before the Big Ten Tournament, the Iowa men’s basketball team has work to do, particularly defensively. The schedule isn’t going to get any easier, and things are beginning to hold more and more weight as the season draws to a close.

Iowa is riding a three-game losing streak and is scheduled to travel to Michigan on Thursday, followed by a date with No. 17 Maryland in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Feb. 8.

Jok, Oglesby on defense in Big Ten play

Perhaps exemplified the most in Iowa’s loss to Wisconsin on Jan. 31, the Hawkeyes haven’t gotten strong production on the defensive end from sophomore Peter Jok. This isn’t a surprise — Jok has never been labeled a strong defender and is on the floor to play well offensively.

However, what could surprise some is how advanced metrics from basketballreference show the difference between Jok’s and Oglesby’s defensive production.

Jok’s defensive rating, which estimates the number of points allowed per 100 possessions, is 116.7, while Oglesby’s comes in at 125.7. Even more, Oglesby has minus-0.2 defensive win shares, while Jok has 0.0.

While some may say Oglesby’s defense wins the eye test over Jok’s, the numbers give a different perspective on the situation.

Opponent field-goal percentage in Big Ten play — 45.4 percent (12th in Big Ten)
For perspective, only two teams — Wisconsin and Indiana — have had opponents shoot better against them than Iowa’s opponents have shot against it.

And as has been a trend all season, Iowa got a dose of this against the Big Ten’s best offense in Wisconsin last weekend. The Badgers shot 44.2 percent from the floor, including more than 53 percent in the first half.

Part of that is Iowa’s defense, which head coach Fran McCaffery said was inconsistent after the Wisconsin game, not playing well at some points, and some of it is the opponent.

Iowa has played the Big Ten’s best offenses twice — Wisconsin and Ohio State — as well as third- and fourth-rated Purdue and Michigan State.

In those six games, Iowa is 2-4 and the wins over the Buckeyes both came when they shot 42.1 percent and 38.3 percent.

Before the next section, it’s necessary to note only three of Iowa’s remaining opponents — Indiana, Northwestern, and Penn State — are in the top half of the league in field-goal percentage.

Iowa scheduled opponents combined record — 117-82

The Gophers are only team Iowa has on the remaining schedule that it has previously seen. The remaining opponents are Maryland, Northwestern (which Iowa plays twice), Rutgers, Nebraska, Illinois, Penn State, and Indiana.

As of this writing, only Maryland is ranked in the AP top 25. However, that doesn’t mean Iowa is in for a breeze. Quite the opposite, actually. Of those teams, only three — Northwestern, Rutgers, and Illinois, have losing records.

Even though the Big Ten isn’t having as strong of a year as it has had in the past, it’s still a grueling conference, and with the Hawkeyes in a slump and fighting for a better seed in the Big Ten Tournament, these final 10 games carry a ton of weight.

And there’s nothing guaranteed with these opponents.

Follow @dannyapayne on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s basketball team.

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