Iowa has a 29 game regular season schedule this season, so with seven games already in the books, the 2004-2005 regular season is pretty much one-quarter of the way completed.
25 percent of a season is a good time to take a look at how a team is doing compared to the year before, so that is what we will do.
The 2003-2004 team was 6-1 through seven games, the same as the 2004-2005 team. Last year's seventh game was a loss at Northern Iowa, while this year's seventh game was Iowa's third win in a row.
Iowa has beaten two top 15 teams this season and their lone loss came against North Carolina, one of the best teams in the nation.
Coming into this season, there were concerns with Iowa's three-point shooting, free-throw shooting and their turnover margin.
Here is a look at where things stand, this year versus last. Keep in mind that Iowa has played a much more difficult schedule through seven games this season versus last season.
POINTS PER GAME
POINTS ALLOWED PERGAME
FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE
FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE DEFENSE
THREE POINT FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE
THREE POINT FIELD GOAL PERCENTATE DEFENSE
FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
FORCED TURNOVERS PER GAME
BLOCKS PER GAME
Now, let's focus on some key areas.
I want to repeat that Iowa has played a much more difficult schedule this year. Iowa has played three ranked teams this year through seven games, while last year, they played just one.
FREE THROWS ARE BETTER: Though you might not think it, but .711 is not all that bad…especially compared to last year's atrocious numbers through seven games. .711 would have been good for 5th best in the league last year, and in the ballpark of third best.
THREE POINT SHOOTING IS NOT AN ACHILLES HEEL: This was one area that people worried about this off-season. Brody Boyd was a great three-point shooter, and people wondered if anyone could take his place. Adam Haluska is coming on this year, but the biggest difference is that Jeff Horner is starting out this year where he left off last year: RED HOT.
Through seven games last year, Horner was just 7 of 30 from trey land (.233). This year, he is 24-44 (.545). Haluska has made 12 of 32 (.375) and Pierre Pierce 11/34 (.324). Carlton Reed looks the part as well, hitting 6 of 11 off of the bench.
TURNOVERS ARE BETTER, ON THE WHOLE: Iowa is averaging just 0.8 fewer turnovers per game this year and they are forcing 1.0 more turnovers per game. That is a difference of +1.8 turnovers per game.
This team will not make you think of Wisconsin when it comes to turnover margin; the Hawks have the horses and those equines are going to run, run and run.
I really don't mind 14-16 turnovers per game, as long as you are on the plus side in that category. So far, so good.
S.W.A.T: Erek Hansen is blocking shots at quite a clip this year, and the team has twice tied the school's single game record for 12 swats in a contest.
Iowa's school record for blocked shots in a season is 165, set in 1993. Right now, they are on pace for 207 in the regular season, alone.
Last year, they were on pace for 154 for the regular season through seven games.
When you add those numbers to their +1.8 turnovers per game, you are starting to see that this team is going to have more shots on goal this year than last year.
While this year's teams has 404 shot attempts compared to 410 for last year's team through seven games, I once again come back to the level of competition.
In the key statistical components that I have highlighted, Iowa is improved over last year, and nearly half of their games have come against teams that were ranked in the top 15 when they played them.
There is one obvious area that has gotten worse, and that is rebounding margin. Again, when you play very good teams, you are not going to dominate the glass.
Against Lousiville, Texas and North Carolina, Iowa was +1.66 on the glass, and they were never outrebounded by any of those three teams. However, Iowa is just +1.5 boards per game in their other four games.
I really do believe it's a function of this team and it's vastly different style and approach versus what we saw out of last year's team.