Game 28: Michigan at Iowa Preview

Dylan Burkhardt
Who: Michigan (16-11) at Iowa (10-16) iowa%2Blogo[1]
Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, IA
When: Saturday, February 19th, 4:30 PM ET
Radio: MGoBlue / WTKA 1050 AM
Last Game: Michigan 87, Iowa 73

It’s all or nothing time for Michigan. The next four games, along with the Big Ten Tournament, will determine Michigan’s post season fate. Win all four and the NCAA Tournament is a reality. Lose all four and it’s time to start looking at NIT bracketology charts. Michigan looked a bit like a team allowing the pressure to affect them on Wednesday night. Every shot was just a little bit off and every pass and cut looked slightly contrived. It’s time to let everything go and just play. First up, a road trip to Iowa City.

The last time these teams met, Michigan shredded the Iowa defense and played its best offensive game of the season against any team not named Bryant. The Wolverines scored 87 points in 64 possessions while shooting 68% on twos and 50% on threes. Darius Morris even added a triple for good measure. If there’s one thing the last couple years have taught us, it’s that things won’t be quite as easy in Iowa City. Michigan’s last two games at Carver Hawkeye Arena have been back and forth rollercoaster rides that featured a healthy dose of scoring runs, droughts, buzzer beaters, and inexplicable benchings. Buckle up.

6173990 - WIR - Iowa Michigan Basketball - 01_30_2011 - 17.42.12[1]

In the three games after their loss to Michigan, Iowa appeared to have things figured out. The Hawkeyes routed Michigan State at home, knocked off Indiana at Assembly Hall, and took Wisconsin to overtime. Then Minnesota blew the top off Carver-Hawkeye Arena, routing the Hawkeyes by 18 points, and a road upset attempt at Northwestern fell just short.

Melsahn Basabe was not only the Hawkeyes most impressive player in the first match-up, he’s been their most impressive player all season. The freshman is averaging 12 points and eight rebounds per game in conference play. Junior college transfer Bryce Cartwright continues to improve and averages 12 points and 7 assists in conference games while Matt Gatens provides a scorer on the wing, pouring in 13 per game in conference play. Roy Marble, a Michigan native, had a big game in Ann Arbor as he scored 12 points on nine shots. Eric May and Zach Mccabe provide relatively athletic but inefficient options on the wing while Jarryd Cole is a solid but unspectacular option on the block.

Iowa has the worst offense in the Big Ten, averaging just .98 points per trip in conference games. The Hawkeyes aren’t a great shooting team and shoot 49% on two and 33% on threes for a 9th best 49% effective field goal percentage. Iowa doesn’t do a great job getting to the free throw line either (FTR: 28%, 9th), but they do manage to rebound 32% of their missed shots, fourth best in the league. The Hawkeyes routinely turn the ball over far too often, coughing it up on a Big Ten worst 22% of their trips down the court.


The Hawkeyes are a bit better defensively, surrendering 1.09 points per trip. Iowa doesn’t foul, allowing a free throw rate (FTA/FGA) of just 27% and forces turnovers on 22% of their opponents’ possessions. Despite their offensive rebounding prowess, the Hawkeyes are dreadful on the defensive glass and allow their opponents to grab 37% of their misses. Iowa’s interior defense leaves a bit to be desired as well, opponents are connecting on 53% of their twos.

Michigan played a near-perfect game last time around and the Wolverines will certainly look to emulate many of the things they did well in that game. Morris’ penetration gave the Hawkeyes fits all game and he did a great job of finding open shooters inside and out. If Michigan manages to run patient offense and hold onto the ball, there will be open looks. Defensively, it all comes down to defensive rebounding. Offensive rebounds are the lifeblood of this Iowa offense and limiting second chances will dramatically decrease the Hawkeyes’ offensive production.

Michigan’s tenuous NCAA tournament resume can’t afford another bad loss. A loss at Iowa, the league’s (better than average) doormat, would all but eliminate Michigan’s NCAA tournament chances barring a miraculous run. Pomeroy lists this one as a toss up, giving Michigan a 48% chance at the win and projecting a 64-63 Iowa win. It’s tough to judge Michigan’s psyche after a deflating loss at Illinois, but Iowa will be playing on short rest with a late road game Thursday followed by a Saturday afternoon tip.

  • Beilein’s Bricks

    This was always the key game if we wanted to make a run at the tournament. Illinois would’ve been nice to win, but wasn’t expected. Should be a tough game, as it seems the last few times we’ve played them there the game has come down to the last minute.

    Just caught that Penn State won again last night. Who would’ve ever thought they would have this good of a season? Getting swept by us is what will probably keep them from the NCAA Tournament.

    • billiam

      I disagree. There was never a “key” game. Just win one at a time, and see what happens from there.

      • Beilein’s Bricks

        I agree that all games are “key”, however there is really no hope if we didn’t split these two road games, and I always thought Iowa was the most likely game we could win. Hope they pull it off.

        BTW, any idea how many games we probably have to win in order to be safely in the NIT? I was thinking 18, but really have no clue.

        • jmblue

          The NIT won’t hesitate to choose an eligible Michigan (which we are). That’s not a big concern.

          • Dylan Burkhardt

            The NIT has changed a bit in the sense that there’s an actual selection committee.

    • JimC

      Agree…..IL was a nice-to-have win chance. This is a must, and the most winnable of the remaining 4.

      It seems we match up well with Iowa, so we have a good shot.

  • Alex

    Just focus on the Hawkeyes as they are a decent team. A win here should make Michigan NIT lock. That’s not the ultimate goal but the guys need to take it one step at a time. There were positives from the Illinois game (defense) and everyone has bad shooting nights. Just don’t be discouraged, try hard, and good things will happen Go Blue and Beat Iowa.

  • georgeesq.

    Cartwright is playing really well for Iowa right now. Keeping him in check will be a big factor in this game.

  • Section13Row15

    Anyone else wondering why Iowa is picked to win this one? I’m not saying it won’t be close but Michigan is clearly the better team here and Carver-Hawkeye is probably one of the friendliest arenas in the Big 10.

    • JimC

      My guess is that the Ken Poms of the world put some emphasis on performance on the road, so @IN, and @NU results are skewing this a little. Plus I doubt their prediction cares if a team is improving.
      Personally, before the MSU game I would have expected a loss. But now expect a close win.

  • AG2

    So is the Bryce-Jordan Center and so far Wisconsin, MSU, Illinois, and Minnesota failed to win there.

    All I ask for, is that next year fewer of Michigan’s games are on the Big Ten Network. The sad but true fact is that if you’re not on ESPN you’re nothing.

    • ouchudied

      All I ask for, is that next year fewer of Michigan’s games are on the Big Ten Network. The sad but true fact is that if you’re not on ESPN you’re nothing.


      • the_white_tiger

        Tell that to Purdue vs. Wisconsin. LSU was on the WWL last night, and they sure are not anything.

  • Brian W

    I don’t think has been linked yet. Max Bielfeldt is in no rush to make his decision…

    • Ben

      I wonder what wing player Beilein is trying to decide to offer?? Larry Nance isn’t a wing so maybe there looking at someone else.

      • Dylan Burkhardt

        I think Nance would qualify as a wing. Max is a five while Larry is a four which is a wing position in this offense.

        • Ben

          I guess but when I think of a wing in this offense, I think of Tim Hardaway position.

  • Mattski

    Funny, I just feel that almost anything can happen in these last games. I hope that Beilein is doing what he can to have them play confident and loose and have fun. Dylan, I think you are spot-on about their body language in the last game.

  • Troy

    I feel good about this game, but not as good about the last three–good news is they play one at a time. This is hard to write, but UM simply has better talent and more to play for–yet can play looser as they will play with nothing to lose (as opposed to playing not to lose). Pressure will mount with each win edging us near NCAA contention, but we’re far from that now. Still UM’s resiliency leads to a 63-56 victory.

  • Alex

    It will be hard fought but this game is pretty winnable especially given the short rest that Iowa is getting. Will be important to jump to a good start. I do think Michigan wins.

  • KAB

    I just hope that last game didn’t take the wind out of our sails..I think we get our shooting back and win!!

  • KAB

    Vegas Odds has UM by 1.

  • bird

    Iowa’s got a cool logo.

  • BK

    Anyone know if BTN live streams games or if there’s anywhere else I can watch this online?

  • tin mad dog

    Good sign for Stu!

  • tin mad dog


  • tin mad dog

    Good tackle of Morris by Morgan and we still hit a 3. Nice!

  • tin mad dog

    11-4 good guys so far.

  • tin mad dog

    Zack is ice cold so far. 14-10 still.

  • tin mad dog


    Dylan- I heard on the radio that Sim Bhullar has enough credits to graduate a year early. Is that correct?

  • tin mad dog

    Smot still struggling and now Iowa has cut it to 2.

  • tin mad dog

    We’re looking really shaky here.

  • tin mad dog


    I was wondering why nobody else was posting in the game thread. :-)

  • Bill

    Nice win, obviously we will not give it back! Although I am concerned with defensive rebounding, seems we give up too many 2nd chance points!!!!