Saturday, December 13, 2014

Morning News: Iowa St Upsets Iowa, Aaron Thomas Ineligible, Dominic Woodson Leaves, and Southern Miss Transfers

Naz Long led all scorers with 21 points, including 5-for-9 behind the arc.
Iowa State Upsets Iowa Iowa State would have been an underdog in this game even with a full roster, but with Bryce Dejean-Jones out of the lineup due to suspension this was really a great opportunity for Iowa to build on their North Carolina win. Instead, Iowa State blitzed the Hawkeyes with an 18-0 run early in the second half that blew this game open.

How much of this was Iowa State playing better and how much was the shooting disparity? It's a bit of both. Iowa State opened the second half shooting 10-for-11 with four three-pointers (a 109.1% effective field goal percentage), and obviously that's fairly fluky, but even if you control for season expectations on three-point shooting Iowa State still deserved to win by nearly ten points. The difference primarily was that Iowa State had an easier time getting to the rim while Iowa rushed too many long two-point jumpers (a constant problem under Fran McCaffery).

As I say all the time, there's no reason to overreact to fluky shooting percentages. Iowa wasn't outplayed by as much as the final score. But shooting has definitely been a problem for them this season. For example, Josh Oglesby shot 40% (31-for-77) on threes last season but is only shooting 23% (11-for-48) this season. Jarrod Uthoff and Aaron White have also seen their shooting drop off. Iowa's not at real risk of missing the NCAA Tournament, but their shooting is going to have to turn around to finish higher than around fifth in the Big Ten.

Is Iowa State a contender to win the Big 12? Certainly they played like it here. Even if you take out the fluky shooting, their offense moved the ball incredibly well, and they are so dangerous in transition. We saw this same type of efficient, deadly offense when they eviscerated the Arkansas press last week.

Florida State's Aaron Thomas Ineligible I'm not sure how much hope Florida State fans had for their team to earn an at-large bid after opening the season 4-4 with losses against all four Pomeroy Top 100 opponents faced, but even reaching .500 is going to be an uphill battle after losing leading scorer Aaron Thomas (14.8 points per game). He will be done for the rest of the season. At this point, the rest of this season has to be about developing young guys with promise like Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Phil Cofer and Robbie Berwick. Even the NIT is unlikely.

Dominic Woodson Leaves Tennessee Dominic Woodson has struggled to find his place in college basketball. He has plenty of talent, but after barely getting on the court at Memphis as a freshman he didn't do much this season as a sophomore at Tennessee and missed time with academic concerns. Now he's leaving the Tennessee program altogether. Obviously we all hope he figures things out eventually. But considering how little he was contributing, this shouldn't have a significant impact on Tennessee going forward. The only real problem will be big man depth against taller opponents.

Dallas Anglin And Shadell Millinghaus Leave Southern Miss Millinghaus was a starter while Anglin was a significant contributor off the bench. The two combined for more than 14 points per game and were the only two regulars shooting better than 40% behind the arc. This hurts the team this season, of course, but this was a total rebuilding season anyway. They lost their head coach and their entire starting lineup from last year's squad. Doc Sadler, the new head coach, deserves a few years to put together the type of team he wants, and it's not unusual to see a few transfers during the first season of a new coach.

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