26 January 2014

GAMBLE Report 1.17

Iowa 76 @NU 50

We're not upset that NU lost yesterday to Iowa.  The Hawkeyes are a very good team this year.  If NU and Iowa play 100 times we'd expect Iowa to win about 95 of them.   A loss was to be expected.

What bothers us is how NU lost to Iowa.  To us that the second half looked eerily similar to the first three games of the season.  It is true NU was game in the first half unlike in Iowa City.  But in the end does that matter?  Are our expectations for this year so diminished that we need be grateful for some sad moral victory that NU didn't get blown out of the gym during the first 60% of the game? 

The fact is that NU never really made Iowa sweat.  At the start of the game Iowa had a 86% win probability.  Sad but true -- NU never played its way into a bigger threat than at tipoff.  As soon as Iowa stretched the lead to double digits in the second half NU folded like a cheap tent.  Just as NU had done in the first few games of B1G play.   In the end the margin was 26 -- the same as the game in Iowa City earlier this month. 

That's disappointing.  The line was about 10 points which sounded about right.  Between the game switching to NU's home court and the trend of the losing team closing the gap in rematches -- something we went on about at length two seasons ago -- we expected a more competitive game.  Not so much.


NU was expected to lose 70-60.  NU lost 76-50.  NU never held the lead in the game.  Overall NU slipped four more rungs to #148 and is now 16 rungs worse than 2013.

The adjO went down by only 1 rung to #324.  There are now only 27 teams with worse offenses than NU.  The next worst major conference offense is Washington St at #290.

Somehow the adjD improved by one despite allowing Iowa an Off Eff of 119 and an eFG% of 56.5%.  This improvement smacks statistical noise whereby NU's defensive peers which had a bad Saturday themselves.

The problem with the defense against Iowa were twofold.  First unlike in its three wins NU could not force the Iowa offense into bad shots.  Iowa had an eFG% of 56.5%.  Second NU could not keep Iowa off the glass.  Iowa had an eye popping 46.4 OR%.   NU fell back 23 rungs in OR% which now makes for an overall slippage of 53 rungs during in B1G play.


The offense continues to look as anemic as ever.  NU's Off Eff of 78.6 didn't help matters.  In B1G games NU now has an AdjO of 83.5 which is on pace to easily break the 89.7 AdjO  futility mark set by PSU in 2004 (stats only go back until 2003).

The defense took a couple of steps back from last report with NU now the #7 ranked B1G defense. 

Next Game

NU travels to Madison on Wednesday.  NU has a 5% chance of winning per kenpom.  We'd like to think NU will close the gap since the Badgers visited Evanston.  Especially since Wisconsin has been a funk on defense.  This is a golden opportunity for NU to fix some things on offense but we won't hold our breaths.  The Iowa rematch was disappointingly bad which does not bode well for CCC's first trip to the Kohl which has been a house of horrors for NU over the years.