Key stat in Iowa-ISU

December 13, 2008

The one stat that surprised me the most in Friday’s Iowa-Iowa State game wasn’t the final score. It was the rebounding margin.

Sure, I didn’t think Iowa would win by 16 at 73-57. I wasn’t sure  Iowa could win by one point. But for Iowa to roll past Iowa State 38-23 on the boards was nearly unimaginable.

Iowa had out-rebounded all but three of its opponents, but none by as many as 15. The biggest margin Iowa provided before Friday was a 14-rebound advantage against Bryant. The three schools that had out-rebounded Iowa earlier — West Virginia, Kansas State and Boston College — all came from major Division I conferences.

Iowa whipped Iowa State in every area. Iowa led in points off turnovers (25-12), second-chance points (13-2) and fast-break points (11-2). The teams were even in turnovers (12) and assists (11). Iowa State had one more 3-pointer (8 to 7).

When the season is complete and the Iowa-Iowa State statistics are compiled into next year’s media guide, everyone will notice that Iowa won decisively. But you can’t put on paper the edge Iowa carried in effort. Iowa State played a sloppy, almost lazy game, especially in the second half. Iowa played inspired and with intensity. Both teams have an eight-day layoff before playing on Dec. 20. We’ll see if either team continues that trend.