Turnovers prove costly for No. 10 Iowa in Ann Arbor

1 Comment

While No. 10 Iowa had just two players, guard Roy Devyn Marble and forward Aaron White, averaging double figures entering Wednesday night’s game at No. 21 Michigan they don’t lack for scoring options. The Hawkeyes have five other players averaging between 7.1 and 9.9 points per game, with any of those players capable of joining Marble and White in double figures on any given night.

Against the Wolverines it would be Basabe who did the honors, accounting for 17 points and six rebounds on the night. But that, combined with 17 points from White and 13 from Marble, wasn’t enough for Fran McCaffery’s team as Michigan won 75-67 in Ann Arbor. Sure Nik Stauskas, who for some reason was left off of the Wooden Award midseason list that was released earlier Wednesday, was a handful and Jordan Morgan and Glenn Robinson III were productive as well.

But the biggest problem for Iowa was their efficiency, with the Hawkeyes scoring just over one point per possession and turning the ball over on more than 21% of those possessions. Iowa’s 14 turnovers may not seem like a terribly high number, and had they been able to control the flow of the game it likely wouldn’t have been an issue. But it was Michigan who dictated tempo, and their ability to take better care of the basketball helped decide the outcome.

Michigan, which turned the ball over just nine times, converted Iowa’s 14 turnovers into 20 points and outscored the Hawkeyes by ten points in that department. Those points factored into Michigan scoring 1.14 points per possession, the most Iowa’s allowed in a conference game this season. Michigan’s a good offensive team as it is, but for Iowa to give the Wolverines those extra opportunities makes the Wolverines even tougher to defend.

But while their loss drops them two games behind Michigan and Michigan State in the loss column, by no means is Iowa out of the Big Ten race. The Hawkeyes still have games against Michigan State (two, in fact), Ohio State, Michigan and Wisconsin remaining on their schedule with the trip to East Lansing being the only road tilt of the five. But in order to make good on that potential, Iowa has to take better care of the ball than they did on Wednesday night.

No. 10 Gonzaga outlasts No. 18 UConn despite late offensive struggles

Leave a comment

No. 10 Gonzaga survived a furious rally from No. 18 UConn to win the third place game in the Battle 4 Atlantis, 73-70.

The Zags were up by as much as 21 points early in the second half, leading 48-27, but UConn slowly chipped away at the lead. Kyle Wiltjer led four players in double-figures with 17 points while Eric McClellan added 15 points, making a number of key plays in the second half when it looked like the Zags were in danger of giving away the lead.

As good as Gonzaga looked in the first 22 minutes of this game — and they looked really, really good — the second half exposed the concerns that many had with this group entering the season. Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., who both shot around 40 percent from beyond the arc and started for four years, graduated, meaning that Gonzaga’s point guard situation is, more or less, Josh Perkins.

Perkins was terrific in the second half of a loss to Texas A&M on Thursday. He played 17 foul-plagued minutes against UConn. When UConn’s defense ratcheted up during the second half, Gonzaga struggled finding a way to consistently get good shots on the offensive end. Part of that was due to ineffective point guard play and part of it was a result of not really having anyone on the offensive end that can create a look on their own. As skilled as Wiltjer is, his impact can be limited when pick-and-pop actions aren’t working and he’s getting doubled in the post.

Perkins is talented, but this is essentially his first season of college basketball; he was a medical redshirt last season after breaking his jaw last November. There are going to be ups-and-downs, and that’s problematic on a team where he is essentially the only point guard on the roster.

The good news?

Gonzaga beat a good UConn team on a day when their best players struggled in crunch-time. It was McClellan and Kyle Dranginis that made the big plays down the stretch, not the big names on the Gonzaga roster.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady ‘awake, alert’ after getting stretchered off court

Leave a comment

Wichita State big man Anton Grady was stretchered off of the floor in the second half of a loss to Alabama after a nasty collision with Dazon Ingram.

The video can be seen above. There was nothing malicious about the way that Grady was injured. When he turned to run up the floor after missing a shot in the lane, he went face first into Ingram’s shoulder. He neck bent in an awkward directions and, after stumbling a few steps, he laid motionless on the floor.

It took 10 minutes for the training staff to strap Grady to a backboard and wheel him out of the arena.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 2.46.14 PM

A Wichita State spokesman told that Grady was taken to a local trauma center for evaluation and that he is “awake, alert and is answering questions appropriately”.

We will have more updates as they come available.

From a basketball perspective, the No. 20 Shockers lost their second game in a row and are now 2-3 on the season.

While for some the Shockers’ résumé is up for questioning following losses to USC and Alabama, two teams projected to finish in the bottom half of their respective leagues, the team’s health is the biggest concern.

Fred VanVleet has been dealing with a hamstring issue since the season began, and an ankle injury limited him in a loss at Tulsa earlier this month. He won’t play again until at least Dec. 5th. and who knows when he’ll be back to full strength. The same can be said for back up point guard and freshman Landry Shamet, who underwent surgery to address a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal in his left foot. Their injuries have led to even more being asked of senior guard Ron Baker, and the loss of Grady for any significant amount of time certainly isn’t going to help matters..

These early-season losses won’t help Wichita State when it comes to the NCAA tournament, but it’s important to make note of the circumstances surrounding those defeats. To be shorthanded, with one of the absent players ranking among the nation’s best point guards, has an impact that has to be accounted for when evaluating Wichita State. The Shockers will add Conner Frankamp in mid-December, which will help them on the perimeter.

But with their rotation currently being in flux, it’s tough to make any definitive statements on what Wichita State will have to do in order to make another trip to the NCAA tournament. At this point Gregg Marshall and his staff will look for other contributors, one of whom being Markis McDuffie (14 points, seven rebounds vs. Alabama), to emerge and show themselves capable of picking up the slack.