Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Iowa Basketball Resurgence- Or Not

My family used to have season tickets to Iowa Men's basketball games, but for a few years now we've passed. Partially at fault is just growing up, having activities of our own (or living in California), but partially it's because the Hawkeyes weren't that good anymore. A couple weeks ago though we went to the Illinois Iowa game at Carver-Hawkeye. The Hawks put up a decent fight, my former North Dodge Stars teammate Jordan Stoermer got some playing time and Fran McCaffery heads floated over the student section. For the first time in while there was some optimism surrounding the program, but is it justified? Should the Hawks really expect to improve upon last year's 4-14 Big Ten campaign?

Using the most recent rankings (before the Ohio State game, which would slightly increase the Hawk's win total) here's what Iowa's chances look like the rest of the way adjusted for home court advantage:

Opponent Win%
@ Purdue 0.153
Northwestern 0.48
@ Minnesota 0.326
@ Ohio St 0.087
Indiana 0.528
@ Penn St 0.429
@ Michigan 0.309
Michigan St 0.374
@ Indiana 0.332
Wisconsin 0.34
Minnesota 0.521
@ Northwestern 0.291
Michigan 0.501
@ Illinois 0.198
@ Michigan St 0.21
Purdue 0.289

Expected wins for the Hawks: 5.37. With a standard deviation of 1.8 there's still significant room for variations (they could reasonably still win either 2 or 9 games).
5 wins sounds like a surprisingly small improvement over last year, so what gives? There are two main things. First, the Big Ten has improved this year with even the worst team (Penn State) being ranked higher than last year's bottom three. Second, the Hawks are missing a game at home against Penn State, which they would have a 63% chance of winning. 6 wins may not sound like much, but it might've be enough for the Iowa to jump out of the bottom tier. As it is, barring the continued improvement of old Stars foe Matt Gatens, this season still won't be a return to .500 ball. I wouldn't rule out next year though.

1 comment:

  1. we're the only team so far to lose to Ohio State by single digits