The Iowa Hawkeyes are off to their best start in years, and a big reason why has been the play of guard Devyn Marble. Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said of Marble after Iowa beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 98-93 that “Dev’s run was the difference.” It hasn’t been just the Notre Dame game that Marble has made the difference in.
In 10 games for the Hawkeyes so far this season, Marble is averaging 17.2 points and 3.4 rebounds. Those numbers don’t blow you away, but it has more to do with the timing of Marble’s contributions than the stats on a sheet. Against Notre Dame, Marble scored 10 of his 21 points right after the Fighting Irish had taken their first lead of the game. The Iowa victory wasn’t all Marble, however. It was more white marble.
Four Hawkeyes scored in double figures, including forward Aaron White, who led Iowa with 20. The Hawkeyes were 7-13 from behind the arc and 25-29 from the charity stripe, which was further emphasized by shooting almost 57 percent from the field. Despite all the positives, however, there was also a negative from the game.
The 93 points and 51 percent shooting from the field allowed by Iowa last night were both season-highs for the Hawkeyes. Part of the reason may be in Iowa’s strategy, as McCaffery alluded to in the post-game press conference. He said that his primary concern was the Fighting Irish’s ability to hit the three, and was hesitant to help inside because of that propensity. In short, the Hawkeyes sacrificed field-goal percentage in exchange for perimeter defense.
Questions could be raised off that about what Iowa will do when it meets a team with a dominant force in the paint and is forced to double down, but picking the poison worked well enough to win this time.
If the Hawkeyes can continue to get solid offensive contributions from players like Marble and play defense the way they had done coming into the Notre Dame game, they have a shot at being one of the best teams in the Big Ten.