Iowa basketball returns to the ground on Tuesday, November 29 when the Hawkeyes take on Georgia Tech in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Hawkeyes go into this contest 5-1, having just come off a loss to TCU in the title game The Emerald Coast Classic, while the Yellow Jackets are 4-2, their last game being against North Alabama, resulting in a victory led .
Here are three keys and a pick for this contest.
Time: 8:00 p.m. CT
Location: Carver Hawkeye Arena (Iowa City, Iowa)
Planned starting positions
G Tony Perkins
f Payton Sandford
f Pat McCaffery
f Chris Murray
f Philip Rebraca
Names to know from the bank: Ahron Ulis and Dasonte Bowen In the Hawkeyes’ 1-1 draw in Florida last week, two key players were substituted on the Iowa backcourt. Connor McCaffery has also given Iowa good minutes while Josh Ogundele and Josh Dix got minutes too.
Georgia Tech (based on last game)
G Devon Smith – The offense for Georgia Tech runs through Smith. He averages 10.8 points and 3.2 assists per game for the Yellow Jackets and is one of the more energetic players on the team. He’s as fast as they come and will try to force the defenses to lunge at him so he can find others and score at the same time.
G Dallan Coleman – Coleman, a willing shooter, is 10 of 27 from beyond the arc this year. He’s shot the most three-pointers for this team.
G Miles Kelly – With 11.2 points per game, Kelly is the second-best scoring player for Georgia Tech. Kelly is wired to score as he will try to attack the perimeter but will also shoot from deep. He’s 4 out of 22 out of three a year.
f Jalon Moore – A springy, athletic forward, Moore is at his best around the rim and is also good at finishing. He can also work from the post office.
F Ja’Von Franklin – Franklin is another athletic forward for Georgia Tech. It is springy and can also end around the rim. Georgia Tech likes to lead the offense through him on halfcourt through the high post.
Names to know from the bank: Kyle Sturdivant is the leading scorer from the bench for Tech. Sturdivant did not start against North Alabama. He can shoot and is a troublesome defender but has a turnover problem. Lance Terry is another willing shooter for Tech from the bench. Rodney Howard is a long, dangling post that can be operated from the high post. Tristan Maxwell didn’t play North Alabama but will try to score the basketball.
Three things I’m looking for
1. How this Iowa team is recovering from their first loss: This Iowa team was challenged at The Emerald Coast Classic. The Hawkeyes had back-to-back games against opponents who wanted to play physical and make the game gross. Iowa responded in the first game against Clemson, although it was clear that the physicality the Tigers played with and how TCU came out against Iowa was a lot for this team to handle in the early stages. Iowa is still figuring out how certain players can adapt to new roles, and this team is still figuring out its identity, but the Hawkeyes have an important stretch of non-conference games coming with this one, Duke at Madison Square Garden, and then hosts next week are a tough, physical team from the state of Iowa. Getting off this stretch with a right foot will be crucial for the Hawkeyes. I think the key in this matchup will be Chris Murray back into a rhythm. Murray fought mightily against TCU and Clemson, and he’s Iowa’s top scorer along with go-to guy. Getting him and his confidence back fully after two tough games can help move this team forward. This competition could also be a tougher matchup for Murray considering Georgia Tech has guys similar in height to him, with length and athleticism that pose problems for Murray.
2. Take Advantage Of Georgia Tech’s Droughts: The Yellow Jackets have a few guys who can score, but they haven’t been overly efficient on the offensive side of the court this year. Georgia Tech ranks 322nd in the country for effective field goal percentage, 310th for three-point percentage, and 288th for two-point field goal percentage. In games lost by Georgia Tech this year, the Yellow Jackets have gotten off to a slow start and also endured notable scoring droughts. Offense relies heavily on distance, cutbacks and dribbling handoffs, working out the post. The Hawkeyes must defend Georgia Tech on halfcourt and close at the perimeter. The Yellow Jackets aren’t great three-pointers, but they will try to shoot the ball and attack the rim as well. At half court, watch out for the Yellow Jackets using back cuts as Iowa presses.
3. How the Hawkeyes attack Georgia Tech’s defenses: With the versatility Georgia Tech has in its rotation, the Yellow Jackets can do a variety of things defensively, like switch everything man-to-man while managing man defense and zone. Iowa has played man-to-man in 96.3 percent of its offensive holdings this year, according to Synergy. Georgia Tech ran man-to-man on 61 percent of its defensive possessions while running the other 39 percent on the halfcourt in the zone. Iowa averages just under a point per possession against man defenses while averaging 1.29 points per possession against zone defenses. The key to attacking each zone is getting the ball to the center of the floor. Iowa has various types that can act as a man in the middle to defeat the zone Philip Rebraca Ideally in the short corner. Georgia Tech does a fantastic job of closing, using its length to disrupt shooters and not give opponents a clean view of the basket on the first catch. Fast, snappy passes with limited dribbling and spacing will hit a zone, and Iowa can play that way but also need to put down shots as the Hawkeyes have yet to fully identify a downed, consistent three-pointer like they have in years past.
Iowa 75, Georgia Tech 63
Think Iowa rebounds and scores a key win. Might see it’s a bigger margin but Georgia Tech has the parts to stay in it. This will be a proof game for the Hawkeyes. I think they come out hungry.
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