Tennessee-Iowa four-factors preview: Play inside-out and defend from another zip code

Tennessee-Iowa four-factors preview: Play inside-out and defend from another zip code

Full disclosure: I grew up 60 miles from Iowa City, so I have a fondness for these people. Admiral Schofield may not like them, but I do. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t desperately want to beat the shorts off ’em tomorrow. Go get ’em, Admiral.

Here’s a look at the teams’ respective four factors numbers and what they have to say about what the Vols need to do to advance. Because this post is long and full of numbers, I’m posting the conclusions up front, details to follow:

Summary and Score Prediction

The goals for the Vols:

  1. Shoot well. Play inside-out. Only take threes if they are wide open or if your name is Admiral Schofield and there’s less than three minutes on the clock in a close game. Or if it’s the last possession and your name is Lamonte Turner.
  2. Defend.
  3. Don’t foul. Kyle Alexander, you’re going to have to block those shots from a different zip code, son. We believe in you.

Four Factors: Straight-Up

Effective FG%

  • Tennessee 55.2 (No. 21)
  • Iowa 52.9 (No. 77)

Prior opponents:

  • Colgate 55.9 (No. 14)
  • Auburn 53.9 (No. 51)
  • Mississippi State 54.6 (No. 36)
  • Kentucky 53.6 (No. 59)
  • Ole Miss 53.5 (No. 64)
  • LSU: 52.7 (No. 93)
  • Vanderbilt: 50.3 (No. 198)
  • Kentucky: 52.8 (No. 93)

Conclusions: So, a little better than LSU and a little worse than Kentucky and Ole Miss shooting the ball. Good to know.

Turnover %

  • Tennessee 15.8 (No. 25)
  • Iowa 17.2 (No. 83)

Prior opponents:

  • Colgate 19.3 (No. 232)
  • Auburn 18.3 (No. 151)
  • Mississippi State 19.1 (No. 220)
  • Kentucky 18.7 (No. 185)
  • Ole Miss 18.7 (No. 172)
  • LSU 19.0 (No. 196)
  • Vanderbilt: 19.9 (No. 255)
  • Kentucky: 18.5 (No. 158)

Conclusions: Wow, we’ve played some teams that are terrible at protecting the ball. That thing’s valuable, y’all. Anyway, the Hawkeyes have figured out that you need the ball in order to score points.

Offensive Rebound %

  • Tennessee 31.7 (No. 74)
  • Iowa 29.8 (No. 114)

Prior opponents:

  • Colgate 30.3 (No. 103)
  • Auburn 33.5 (No. 39)
  • Mississippi State 34.6 (No. 23)
  • Kentucky 37.9 (No. 4)
  • Ole Miss 31.9 (No. 64)
  • LSU 37.4 (No. 6)
  • Vanderbilt: 28.6 (No. 178)
  • Kentucky: 38.3 (No. 3)

Conclusions: Wow, we’ve played some teams that are really good at offensive rebounding. Fortunately for us, Iowa is not one of those teams. Then again, neither was Colgate. Never mind.

Free Throw Rate

  • Tennessee 32.9 (No. 184)
  • Iowa 42.0 (No. 16)

Prior opponents:

  • Colgate 28.9 (No. 285)
  • Auburn 30.9 (No. 245)
  • Mississippi State 33.0 (No. 188)
  • Kentucky 42.2 (No. 14)
  • Ole Miss 32.8 (No. 200)
  • LSU 39.8 (No. 29)
  • Vanderbilt: 44.8 (No. 7)
  • Kentucky: 41 (No. 22)

Conclusions: Uh-oh. Somebody figure out what we did right against Vanderbilt to hold them to only six free throw attempts and push repeat, stat.

Those are the straight-up comparisons of the teams’ respective averages in the four factors, but what about the fact that those numbers are impacted in any given game by the opponent?

Four Factors: Opponent impact

Effective FG%

When Tennessee has the ball

Tennessee’s EFG% is 55.2 (No. 21), while Iowa’s defense against that is 51.4 (No. 204). This appears to be the biggest advantage for the Vols. Good news, although I will point out once again that our good EFG% is due more to two-pointers than threes. Working inside-out is especially important tomorrow, as Will points out that not only is Tennessee’s offense better inside the arc than outside it, Iowa’s defense is better outside it than in it.

When Iowa has the ball

The Hawkeyes’ EFG% is 52.9 (No. 77), which means they generally don’t shoot as well as Colgate. Tennessee’s shooting defense is 47.7 (No. 39), so as long as the guys can do so without getting into foul trouble, they should be able to defend.

Conclusions

Tennessee generally shoots well, and Iowa generally doesn’t defend well. On the other end, Iowa is merely okay at shooting the ball, while Tennessee is mostly good at defense. If language was math, this would be the formula:

uT(gsw) – uI(gddw) >= uI(mOk) – uT(mG)

To me, that looks like a positive result. For any Iowa Hawkeyes fans that have found their way here, this is a joke. But if you want to post it all over the Iowa boards as an example of redneck ignorance, feel free. Just as long as you click on an ad while you’re here. They’re contextual, so I’m sure you can find a tractor you like at a nice discount.

Turnover %

When Tennessee has the ball

Tennessee’s turnover % is 15.8 (No. 25), while Iowa’s defensive counterpart to this category is 18.2 (No. 189).

When Iowa has the ball

Iowa’s turnover % is 17.2 (No. 83), while’s Tennessee’s ability to force turnovers is 18.3 (No. 181).

Conclusions

We should protect the ball fine in this game, but so should they.

Offensive Rebounding %

When Tennessee has the ball

Tennessee’s OR% is 31.7 (No. 74), while Iowa’s defense in that category is 29.1 (No. 222).

When Iowa has the ball

The Hawkeyes’ OR% is 29.8 (No. 114), while the Vols’ defense in that category is 30.2 (No. 259).

Conclusions

It appears from these numbers alone that neither team rebounds the ball particularly well. Expect all missed shots to just go out of bounds. Hawkeyes fans: This is also a joke. Ads are over there.

Free Throw Rate

When Tennessee has the ball

Tennessee’s FT Rate is 32.9 (No. 184), while Iowa’s defense against that is 28.5 (No. 64). Like Colgate, to the extent they defend, they do it without fouling much.

When Iowa has the ball

The Hawkeyes’ FT Rate is 42.0 (No. 16), while Tennessee’s defense against that is 33.8 (No. 209). This appears to be the biggest advantage for Iowa.

Conclusions

It does not appear that turnovers or rebounding will have much impact on the outcome of this game. I’d expect both teams to just sort of do what they do in those categories and end up at something approximating a stalemate.

But each team has an apparent advantage over the other in the other two categories that matter most. The Vols look better-positioned in EFG% on both sides of the ball. Hopefully, that translates into a better shooting percentage than the Hawkeyes and that in turn translates into more points than them from the field.

On the other hand, the Hawkeyes appear to have an advantage at getting to the free throw line. We don’t know how to get there (Grant Williams is really the only exception), and the Hawkeyes are not going to show us even if we stop and ask for directions. They have a renewable FastPass, and they’re keeping it in their own greedy little corn-calloused hands.

The problem with the Hawkeyes possibly getting to the foul line much more often isn’t just the free points for them but the foul trouble for us.

Can Kyle Alexander stay off the bench and on the floor?

Will our shorter-than-most rotation bite us in the behind?

Will John Fulkerson and Derrick Walker save the day?

Intrigue!

Summary and Score Prediction

The goals for the Vols:

  1. Shoot well. Play inside-out. Only take threes if they are wide open or if your name is Admiral Schofield and there’s less than three minutes on the clock in a close game. Or if it’s the last possession and your name is Lamonte Turner.
  2. Defend.
  3. Don’t foul. Kyle Alexander, you’re going to have to block those shots from a different zip code, son. We believe in you.

KenPom gives Tennessee a 74% chance of winning this one and puts the score at Tennessee 83, Iowa 76.

Go Vols.

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