In its 95-71 trouncing of Illinois in Iowa City this weekend, Iowa shot 34-of-50 from the floor and 15-of-21 from beyond the arc.
That nets out to an 83.0 effective FG percentage, which ranks No. 2 for accuracy from the field out of over 8,400 major-conference games played since 2006.
Effective FG percentages: 80 and above
Major-conference games only, 2006-19
opponent H/A eFG% Clemson 12-Jan-11 Georgia Tech H 83.3 Iowa 20-Jan-19 Illinois H 83.0 Ohio State 6-Mar-11 Wisconsin H 83.0 Oregon 4-Feb-17 Arizona H 82.6 Providence 23-Feb-14 Butler A 82.1 Pitt 9-Mar-13 DePaul A 81.5 Illinois 6-Jan-11 Northwestern H 80.7 Virginia Tech 25-Feb-17 Boston College A 80.4 West Virginia 31-Jan-07 Rutgers A 80.4 Illinois 9-Dec-10 Iowa A 80.2 Arizona 7-Mar-09 Stanford H 80.0
Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Two of the best shooting performances of the entire decade have occurred when Iowa has played the Illini at Carver Hawkeye Arena. Go figure.
Let’s agree to call any eFG percentage equal to or higher than 75 an extreme shooting event. There are two important things to keep in mind about such events. First, they are, as the name would suggest, exceptionally rare. To see an eFG north of 75.0 is a one-in-161-chance kind of occurrence.
Which brings us to the second thing to remember about an extreme shooting event. The presence of something this extraordinarily rare doesn’t always indicate that the team doing the extreme shooting is actually all that good at putting the ball in the basket the rest of the time.
Sure, the 82.7 eFG that Villanova dropped on Buddy Hield and Oklahoma rather famously at the 2016 Final Four didn’t come out of thin air. The Wildcats really were insanely good at making their shots that year.
Still, the 2011 Clemson team that had the greatest major-conference shooting game “ever” (i.e., since 2006) actually finished that ACC season a hair below the league average for accuracy from the field. The same can be said for Providence in 2014, which also clocked in below its conference mean for effective FG percentage that year.
Even the accomplished shooting teams on our “one amazing game” roll of honor were good more often than outstanding. The only teams on the list that ranked as the most accurate offenses in their leagues were Ohio State in 2011 and Oregon and Virginia Tech in 2017.
As for this year’s Hawkeyes, they entered Sunday’s game against Illinois hitting 33 percent of their threes in Big Ten play. However, by the time Joe Wieskamp (6-of-6 from beyond the arc), Isaiah Moss (5-of-6), and their friends (4-of-9) were done with the Illini, that number had, rather incredibly, been raised to 38 percent for the season within the span of 40 incredible minutes.
The result was a blowout, and, in the blinding flash of the obvious file, it turns out that hitting your shots to an extreme is a really effective way of scoring points and winning games. The 53 teams that have recorded effective FG percentages of 75 or better since 2006 averaged 1.33 points per possession (Iowa scored 1.38) and posted a 52-1 record in those games.
For the record, the best shooting game I’ve ever come across, period, is the 92.5 eFG that Doug McDermott and Creighton hung on Southern Illinois, in Carbondale, on Valentine’s Day 2012. Now there was a box score: 31-of-40 from the field, 12-of-14 on threes.
Maybe some team at some point has surpassed what the Bluejays did to the Salukis that day. I’m all ears. In the meantime, aptly monikered Hawkeyes of Iowa, I salute you.