We continue our series on five year trends with the Iowa Hawkeyes. In this post, we'll get to see the effects of a coaching change - Steve Alford was at the helm for the first 4 years of these charts, with Todd Lickliter taking over for 2007-08.
First, the overall team quality, measured by Pomeroy rank:
Iowa had good teams in 2005 and 2006, but didn't manage to win an NCAA Tournament game. The big shocker was in 2006, as the #3 seed Hawkeyes lost to #14 seed Northwestern State. This past season saw Iowa drop further in the Pomeroy rankings than they'd ever been (Pomeroy rankings go back to 1998-99). The main reason for this drop? Offensive ineptitude:
Iowa's defense held steady to where it had typically been (save for the outstanding 2005-06 defense, which was best in the nation). The offensive glidepath resembles a Sunday drive for Toonces the Cat, except way less entertaining. What drove these offensive struggles? Well, it wasn't shooting:
Iowa wasn't a great shooting team in 2008, but they haven't been one for awhile now. No, the big problem was something that Todd Lickliter's teams were known for limiting - turnovers.
That spike is just plain ugly. Iowa was the worst BCS-conference team in the nation in this category, and was only 15 teams away from being the worst, period. Freshmen guards Jeff Peterson and Jake Kelly struggled mightily, but by no means were they alone. Only departing senior Justin Johnson and little-used J.R. Angle had TO rates below 20. It will be interesting to see if Lickliter can work his low-TO magic in his second season, despite 6 new recruits.
Iowa is typically a good defensive rebounding team (the pink line), with 2007 as the only exception. Strangely, that was their best offensive rebounding season, although even that team was mediocre on the offensive glass. A freshman Tyler Smith's good offensive rebounding and awful defensive rebounding explain a big chunk of that anomaly. Look for Iowa to get fewer and fewer offensive rebounds as Lickliter installs his perimeter-oriented offense.
Iowa has steadily been getting to the line less and less, and their FT shooting fell off that same cliff as Toonces:
The big driver here is the fact that Cyrus Tate got to the line a TON (he would have led the nation if he'd played a few more minutes), but only converts at 59%. Tate's minutes (and shots) figure to increase this season, so it will be tough for Iowa to get that FT percentage much higher. Tate did shoot 66% in 2007, so maybe there is hope for improvement.
Iowa has gone from being a solid 3-point shooting team (47th in 2005) to mediocre (182nd in 2008). The loss of primary threats Tony Freeman (38%, 62 threes) and Justin Johnson (35%, 93 threes) won't help, but neither was exactly a world-beater. Jake Kelly may be primed to pick up the slack, as he shot 44% with limited attempts.
Iowa has been consistently mediocre at shooting inside the arc. This is somewhat surprising considering how tall Iowa was last year (10th in the nation in effective height). The main culprits were freshmen guards Kelly and Peterson, who shot 39% and 35% on twos, respectively. Kelly can be expected to improve - at 6'6'', he's usually taller than the man guarding him, so it's hard to understand how he can shoot a lower percentage inside the arc than outside it. More shots for Cyrus Tate could also help here - he shot 67% on twos.
Despite all that size, Iowa didn't block many shots. In fact, the only real shotblocker on the team was the underrated Kurt Looby, who has exhausted his eligibility. Iowa only adds one player over 6'6'', so I'd look for that pink line to drop even further this season.
Here we see that Iowa's turnover problems weren't just travelling violations and balls thrown out of bounds - they got the ball stolen a lot too. Couple that with a complete inability to get steals yourself and it can make for a long season. The only team with a larger steals gap in 2008 was Howard - the 4th worst team in the nation. In a way, it's pretty amazing that Iowa was able to finish in the upper half of Pomeroy's rankings and win 6 Big Ten games with such a huge turnover/steal problem. This team beat Michigan State!! To be fair, Iowa did improve their TO Rate as the season progressed, which is something you can expect from a team with two freshmen guards playing big minutes.
Lickliter in da house! After shooting relatively few threes under Alford, Iowa jumped to 23rd in the nation in their first season under Lickliter. As we saw above, they didn't shoot it particularly well, but shoot it they did. Improving that 3-point percentage is crucial to the perimeter-oriented style that Lickliter loves, and he's got 5 incoming wings that hope to help.
As we've said before, this stat says more about style than anything else. Iowa shared the ball well under Alford, and that has continued under Lickliter.
So, we've seen some of the influences of Todd Lickliter; some expected (way more threes), some unexpected (more turnovers than the Pillsbury Dough Boy). It's hard to expect Iowa to stablize much this season with all the newcomers, but it will be interesting to see what Lickliter can do as he installs his own recruits. His track record at Butler certainly buys him some slack.