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Buy or Sell: Gauging the Big Ten Tournament

BY KYLE MANN AND RYAN RODRIGUEZ | MARCH 04, 2015 5:00 AM

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Buy or Sell: Iowa has the best offense in the Big Ten

Mann: Buy. I think this is a true statement, mostly because I don’t think any other team can beat you in as many ways as the Hawkeyes.

Sam Logic can penetrate the lane at will and find somebody for an open shot, and she has also been showing her ability as a scorer recently. On the outside, she’s got one of the best 3-point shooters in the nation in Melissa Dixon. That’s without mentioning Ally Disterhoft and Beth Doolittle.

The team finished as the third scoring offense in the conference, but was only 1.1 points behind Maryland for the lead. When it comes to tournament time, however, not many teams can match up with four scorers in the Big Ten’s top-26.

Rodriguez: I’ll sell this one, but just barely.  Does Iowa have the best collection of shooters? Probably. But the best overall offense? I’m not so sure. The Iowa offense is predicated mostly on generating scoring chances off of transition and letting its dynamic outside shooters find space to set up and shoot. 

Slow the game down, and you really limit some of Iowa’s best offensive players.  I’d like to see a little more balance between offense in the paint and their perimeter attack before I say they have the best overall offense.

Buy or Sell: Iowa’s offensive firepower outweighs its defensive woes

Mann: Sell. The Hawkeyes defense and rebounding has been their Achilles heel all season long, and I do believe that it could potentially hurt them in the tournament.

As good as the offense has been, the defense at times has offered no resistance against other capable offenses, which resulted in losses to Maryland, Ohio State, and Minnesota, which help round out the top four offenses in the conference.

Iowa was the worst scoring defense in the Big Ten and allowed the second-best opponent field goal percentage, but still managed to score their way to the second seed. It worked for most of the season, but heading to Hoffman Estates without an emphasis on defense is risky business.

Rodriguez: Sell.  Do the offensive totals lessen the effect of a spotty D? For the most part, yes, but it doesn’t completely make up for it. 

Look at one stat —Iowa put up at least 80 points in each of its last three losses. Bottom line, teams have found ways to beat them even if their offense is clicking.

Buy or Sell: Iowa has a legitimate chance to win the tournament

Mann: Buy. In spite of their defensive inconsistencies, I think Iowa has a very real chance to find itself playing for the title this weekend.

Like I said, they ended up as the second seed for a reason. Besides the loss to Illinois, they had no other bad losses, split their games with Minnesota and Ohio State, and had a lead against top-seeded Maryland for the majority of their game.

The offensive versatility is firepower than any team can match offensively, and the defense has played well enough at times to hold the second-leading scorer in the nation, Kelsey Mitchell, to only 13 points.

This is Lisa Bluder’s best team in a very long time, and combined with her prowess as a coach, it would be foolish to expect anything less than a title run this weekend.

Rodriguez: Buy. Any team that boasts three All-American seniors in their starting lineup has a legitimate shot at winning a conference title, but it goes beyond just talent for Iowa.

The Hawks only lost one player form last season’s run to the conference championship, which saw them fall just short against Nebraska. The value of that experience can’t be undersold, especially when it comes to tournament time.

Follow @ryanarod and @KyleFMann on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa women’s basketball team.


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