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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Iowa vs Michigan St

IOWA (8)PtsRBAsstStlsFg%3pt%FT%
GAndre Wooldridge15.
GAdam Haluska16.
GJeff Horner12.
FGreg Brunner11.
FReggie Evans15.311.
B:G Dean Oliver12.
G/F Ricky Davis15.
F Ryan Bowen9.

Woolridge: In 1997 became the first player in Big Ten history to lead the conference in points and assists.  What more can I say? Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 1996, 1997
Haluska: A deceivingly good Iowa career.  Absolute burner and money from the line.  Defenders just couldn't stay in front of him and he made them pay. Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 2007
Horner: Level-headed, fundamentally sound guard who started all four years.  Not a great shooter but looked to get everyone else involved.  Another solid FT shooter.  Honors: Big Ten Tournament MVP 2006
Brunner: Solid, but unspectacular big man who had a little range on his shot.  For someone who shot as well as he did, I was always a bit surprised that his FT% wasn't better.  Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 2006
Evans: This JUCO transfer wreaked havoc in the Big Ten for two year.  An absolute rebounding machine, Evans was not a good shooter but instead a fearsome competitor that dared opponents to come into the lane.  Honors: Ben Ten Tournament MVP 2001
Bench: Dean Oliver is another quick guard Iowa can throw at you.  Ricky Davis was an offensive force who was so indifferent about defense he went to the NBA after one year, and big man Ryan Bowen was given 1st team honors in 1998 for his stellar season.

Strengths:  Guard play, rebounding, experience.  
Iowa's guards are not so unique in themselves as to what they bring as a unit.  Haluska is the big guard that can fly to the hoop, Horner the quarterback of the offense who controls the tempo and Wooldridge is a blend of the two.  Ricky Davis coming off the bench is a nice touch.
With six of the guys playing at least 3 seasons in Iowa City and Dr. Tom on the pine, this team's experience cannot be discounted.  Additionally, the Hawkeyes are running out two tournament MVPs ensuring that an under-prepared team will suffer the consequences.

Weaknesses:  Size, offensive imbalance
Iowa's biggest strength--work ethic--is offset by its biggest weakness regarding the physical limitations exposed by playing squads stocked with NBA lottery picks (the tallest guy on this team is 6'8" Reggie Evans).  Scoring in the post is already difficult enough but none of the post players on this team are go-to guys.  The Hawkeyes attempt to shroud this disadvantage with quality in Evans, Brunner, and the hard-working Bowen.  One of them, most likely Brunner, will have to step up to take some of the offensive responsibilities off the guards.

MSU  (2) Pts RB Assts Stls Fg% 3pt% FT%
G Mateen Cleaves 12.5 2.1 6.6 1.6 0.405 0.312 0.737
G Shawn Respert 21.3 3.5 2.5 1.2 0.484 0.455 0.857
F Morris Peterson 11.9 4.8 1.0 0.9 0.483 0.377 0.748
F Jason Richardson 9.6 5.0 1.4 0.8 0.502 0.382 0.648
C Paul Davis 13.2 7.0 1.4 1.1 0.537 0.270 0.763
B: G Drew Neitzel 11.1 2.0 4.2 0.7 0.411 0.399 0.865
G Charlie Bell 10.5 4.5 2.6 0.9 0.438 0.343 0.782
F Raymar Morgan 13.3 5.7 1.2 0.8 0.533 0.307 0.678

Cleaves: Compared to Magic in his ability to get everybody involved although their similarities end there.  Excellent defensive player who is the ultimate 2nd coach.  Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 1998-2000; Big Ten POY 1998, 1999
Respert: Quite possibly the best pure shooter in this tournament.  His 21.3 ppg rank second only to Kris Humphries (knocked out in the 1st round by Iowa) but unlike most superstars he played all 4 years.  Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 1994, 1995; Big Ten POY 1995
Peterson: A role player his first two years who later exploded and became an NBA lottery pick. Excellent shooter and decent rebounder.  Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 1999, 2000; Big Ten POY 2000
Richardson: Forced to play PF for this team because of a lack of size, Richardson was a big part of that 2000 MSU team that won it all.  Don't be fooled by his averages as he only played 2 yrs and put up a 14.7/5.9/2.2 line his soph year while shooting over 50% from the floor.  Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 2001
Davis: A solid, unspectacular big man that is the holy hope for size on this team.  Fundamentally sound, excellent shooter in the paint and a good passer.  Honors: 1st team All Big Ten 2004
Bench: Two-time 1st team selection Drew Neitzel gives MSU another quick guard who can come in and do what Cleaves does while providing an improvement from three.  Charlie Bell was an excellent defender and passer who has found a niche in the NBA.  Raymar Morgan is a beast who hasn't really reached his potential but provides a little size to this small Spartan squad.

Strengths: Athleticism, Guard play, rebounding
Don't be fooled by the lack of height.  Since Izzo has taken over, Michigan St. has been one of the best rebounding teams in the country.  This team will have to go small though due to a lack of forwards but the guys they do have are excellent as three were named POY and all but Morgan were first team selections.

Weaknesses: Height, consistent FT shooting
The bigs on this team consist of Paul Davis and no one else.  If forced to play a team such as Ohio State there could be some serious problems.  There are some good free throw shooters on this team and there are some average ones, but one thing I remember is the Spartans tend to miss these gimmes in close games.

What to expect:
Iowa will use the same formula that brought them success against Minnesota: take the PG out of the game and burn clock.  For the Spartans every long rebound will be a fast break opportunity so expect them to try to run often.  Iowa is not too big either so these teams match-up well.

Match-up to watch:  Jason Richardson on who ever guards him (Iowa may go zone)
Richardson is the one guy that will give Iowa the most problems.  He's too quick for Brunner and Evans but too strong for their guards.  If he has a big day watch out.  If the shot is not falling then Iowa's defense can settle down and force MSU to shoot from three.

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