#90 R.P.I. Iowa @ #155 R.P.I. Virginia Tech
7:15pm, Tuesday ESPNU/ESPN3
VT is a 3 point favorite (VT-3)
Our five game set of glorified pre-season scrimmages is officially over and coach J.J. and Virginia Tech are still officially undefeated.
Some would say officially untested.
And yes, Frank did beat J.J. to 6 wins.
Caveat being –it only took Frank 12 games to get there!
And coach J’s has his sixth game yet to play.
Either way, we are about 33% of the way to any potential post-season basketball tournament bid based upon our 3o game regular season 2012-2013 schedule. That does not suck; and neither do the following O&M national D-1 men’s hoops metrics.
- VT is 9th best in scoring (85.4 ppg)
- 13th best in defensive 3-point% allowed (23.7%)
- 15th best in 3-point% (42.7%)
- 34th best in FG% (48.3%)
As you can already clearly see below, Coach Fran McCaffery’s team is defense first, defense second and offense third. This is something of a departure from his previously fun-to-watch or made for TV motion-offense.
5-1 Iowa: (3 starters return)
- 13th in defensive FG% allowed (34.7%)
- 21st in defensive 3-point% allowed (25.4%)
- 58th in offensive rebounding
- 250th in offensive FG% (41%)
Mike Gesell was named Lindy’s best Big-1o play-maker/passer pre-season and frankly I’m inclined to agree. Gesell sure tore up the Nike Camp circuit in 2011 with his passing set-em-up wizardry last year in high school out in Nebraska with just a hint of And-1 to help spice up his game. Gesell may not be “the professor” though he is educated when it comes to running an offense as a pure point-guard goes. He is also a heady honor-roll student-athlete off-court and that’s where smarts last as nobody balls forever. Gesell is said to be part showman and part leadsman as he is not afraid to score if need be. Right now the 2-time Nebraska player of the year is giving you 8 points, 3.3 boards and 3.3 assists, on 38% shooting from the floor and from range alike. That’s no bad start for a kid with starry-eyed hyped up Rivals/Scout funded expectations without a doubt.
7`1“ 235 lbs., VHT (very highly touted), can run, and has good hands; is a true throwback 5 or Center, red-line work ethos when it comes to the proverbial sporting motor. That’s all #34 Adam Woodbury brings you in his first year after being named M.V.P. of the future N.B.A. players camp last spring and the 39th best baller in the nation by ESPN.com. That and 5.5 points, along with a second best 4.8 rebounds and likewise second-best 1.2 blocks per game. This is a good looking inside-out combo as Gesell and Woodbury go folks; and they only have about 3.9 years left to play.
Leading Iowa in scoring would be #4, one 6`6“ 194 lb. swing forward Mr. Roy Devyn Marble. Roy is a rising junior who has elevated his scoring all the way up to 13.8 ppg this season. Roy can put the biscuit in the basket as his offensive skill-set does not want as the box score goes. His defense and overall maturity are another matter or so the Hawkeye whispers say. That to me is most unusual for a kid who has been tagged with an unselfish rep’ to an on-court fault as a pseudo point-Forward goes. Roy does have 3-point range on his J, per his 44% marksmanship from downtown. And he is a pretty nice looking isolation worker out on the wing. Roy is second in assists with 3, and he will find his way to 3.3 rebounds on average. You may remember his father, Roy Marble who is the third all-time leading Hawkeye scorer who went onto an Association career down in the ATL and then with the Denver Nuggets. So you know genetics are on the legacy Marble’s side. Second in scoring and getting to the line a whopping 51 time in only 6 games thus far would be 6`8` 218 lb. Aaron White. Aaron is a sophomoric 12.5 ppg scorer, he is first in rebounding with 6.5 boards, first in steals (1.5) and he too is an honor roll student off-court. He is also another Hawkeye who needs defensive work, and some strengthening as his lack of D-1 frontcourt physique goes. Aaron however is a very consistent offensive player; even if his game is limited to about 18` from the basket and he is said to be relentless on the glass with a nice up-fake which allows him to get to the same.
Zach McCabe is the other frontcourt starter for Coach McCaffery. Zach stands in at 6`7“ 232 lbs. and Zach gets you a steady 6 and 4 (points & rebounds) per night. McCabe is a consistent player who does nothing to hurt you every bit as much as his game is a bit capped or maxed-out as his overall game goes. Zach is 31% from the floor and yet he is a handsome 44% from beyond the arc … go fig’ on that?
After that Coach McCaffery deploys a 10-man rotation with 4 game-to-game subs off of the Hawkeye bench. Eric May G, Melsahn Basabe F, Josh Oglesby G (no relation), Anthony Clemmons and Gabriel Olaseni have all played in all six games for the Hawkeye’s this season. Erick May is a 6`5“ 217 lb. senior who provides stability, leadership, and is also the Hawkeye’s top lock-down defender. This means he will likely check Erick Green and he will enjoy a modest size advantage in doing so. Eric is not a threat from the outside; though he does manage to conjure up 6.8 points and 4 boards in relief. Eric has some hops in his feets when his groin is (cough-cough) healthy, and he is subsequently known for highlight reel dunking. 6`7“ 225 lb. third-year Melsahn Basabe gets you 7.3 points and 4.8 boards off the Hawkeye pine. He also leads Iowa in blocks at a hard line 2.0 per game; which ain’t half bad when you are only playing half the contest. Josh Oglesby is a 6`5“ 190 lb. who is a pure sharpshooter whose range is the gym. If Josh is in it, he is open. Despite a sluggish or even downright chilly start to 2012, Josh was a money-ball shooter from beyond the arc last year. Accordingly, one could nominate that Josh is due to snap outta his opening twenty-twelve shooting slump any game now. Anthony Clemmons is a 6`1“ 190 lb. back-up nugget (rookie) year point-guard who is known for his on the ball defense and not much else. Gabriel Olaseni is a London England import who is said to be a favorite of Kate Middleton. Ok, so maybe Olaseni would be Katherine’s favorite if the rumored baby-bump princess knew who he was. Though Iowa fans know that he is a prototypical frontcourter at 6`10“ and 229 lbs. of pure Center. In addition to possessing a swooning imported accent, Gabriel is said to be something of a cross between a project and a defensive-Center right now. Although he does have five fouls to expend and he does average a rebound every other minute and a block every six minutes.
Big-10 A.c.c. challenge conclusion(s) and OPT digits:
I’m hearing some very good practice vibes outta O&M hoopology sources; as this is a hard working, industrious and downright tight basketball team in terms of on and off court friendships. This I do like … and yet make no mistake, this Iowa game is no gimmie. Not even at home.
Iowa is a mid-range to somewhat lower quality Big-10 basketball team accordingly to the pre-season cognoscenti. That tells me that Iowa is prolly within reach; at home; even if that is code for barely being within reach. That said, several things jumped out at me in my perusal of these Iowa Hawkeye’s.
- This is a heady basketball team, you do not have nearly half the team on the honor roll just because the are dumb. (PROPers on that)
- This is also a very heighty Iowa basketball team, as most of their playing-rotation stands in at 6`5“ or better (80% in fact).
- Finally I do not like the fact that Iowa has two defensive stoppers they can install to check and/or wear Erick Green down. Iowa will make some other Hokie beat them; and the Hawkeye’s are the deeper team.
Iowa has scored between 63 and 66 points in all four of their most previous basketball games. One has to consider that to be a fairly bounded range. Then we see that Virginia Tech is scoring 19 more points per game on average whereas Iowa is allowing 15 less per contest on the norm. Or in other words, this one is all about tempo. Whoever controls tempo controls this game and likely wins the same. One of these two hoops team will inflict their will and force the opposite side to play their game. I got the feel that we/Virginia Tech fell asleep a bit late in the game vs. UNC-G and even at home on a Thanksgiving+1 date with Appy.State. Our effort level looked stuffed and we just did not play up to our capabilities. Yes, the Iowa length could beat Virginia Tech all by its ownself, ditto the fact that the Hawkeye’s enjoy two full defensive stoppers which could dang well force the Hokies not named E.Green to win the game.
However, I am leaning in the direction that coach J.J.’s boys were looking ahead to Iowa (and prolly even OK.State) a bit; as they knew these two games would be their first real test. Testy this game will be indeed; though I do –just barely- favor J’s boys to find a way to win this one late, at home, via a fully focused effort. As I said, just barely… or by one single shot; take thy pick.
Virginia Tech=73, Iowa=7o