In search of Franuary

Luftgekuehlt67

Well-Known Member
Apologies if something similar has already done because, frankly, someone else could probably do it better. But, I was curious, so I did some digging.

First, I want to say I think Fran is a good coach. Maybe not a *great* coach but, as I have shown before, he outperforms Iowa's historical performance as a program by a solid margin and, as such, I advocate for keeping him.

But, it does seem that Iowa has been somewhat...peaky under Fran. As in, play really well mid season but end up going out with a whimper. Does the data support this impression?

I looked all all of Fran's seasons from 2010-11 through present (which happens to be the OSU game). I focused on the KenPom top 150 just to get a nice even dataset. I split the 150 into three tiers:

1-50
51-100
101-150

Then, I looked at what Iowa's overall winning percentage is against each of the 3 tiers under Fran. Then, within each tier, I broke it down by month (February through March - only 2 April games under Fran).

Here is what I found. Yes, I think there is a trend. The KenPom ratings are based on how that team finished the year in the rankings (or, in the case of the current season, their current KenPom ranking)

tier1.png

tier2.png

tier3.png
 

Northside Hawk

Well-Known Member
Someone should start a thread titled "In Search Of Negative Nancy Posters".

Maybe they're just waiting for the BTT loss, if there is one, or the NCAA loss whenever it is.

Its coming. Wisconsin made back to back final fours and that didn't stop Ryan from getting barbecued after they finally lost. Forget the fact that Wisconsin will never experience back to back final fours again.
 

NorthKCHawk

Well-Known Member
Fran has won every place he has been. He took over a dumpster fire of a program at Iowa and improved it by win totals every year for the first 5 years. He then took one season to retool a young team, and since Garza's freshmen year he has again improved this team every year. He has had what, 5 first team all conference guys. Meaning roughly every other year he has one of the five best guys in a 14 team conference. Pretty damn good. Several guys drafted into the league.

We would have had a very good seed in last year's tourney if COVID had not hit, and Garza was robbed of the Wooden last year. This year we are fighting for an overall 1 seed and Garza is the heavy favorite to win Wooden.

All that Fran's resume is missing is a deep tourney run. Let's hope he gets the monkey off his back this year. Either way, Fran is a damn good coach.
 

HaydenHawk56

Well-Known Member
Fran has won every place he has been. He took over a dumpster fire of a program at Iowa and improved it by win totals every year for the first 5 years. He then took one season to retool a young team, and since Garza's freshmen year he has again improved this team every year. He has had what, 5 first team all conference guys. Meaning roughly every other year he has one of the five best guys in a 14 team conference. Pretty damn good. Several guys drafted into the league.

We would have had a very good seed in last year's tourney if COVID had not hit, and Garza was robbed of the Wooden last year. This year we are fighting for an overall 1 seed and Garza is the heavy favorite to win Wooden.

All that Fran's resume is missing is a deep tourney run. Let's hope he gets the monkey off his back this year. Either way, Fran is a damn good coach.
Agree that his resume lacks any tangible post season accomplishments. Disagree on him being a good coach....at least a good game day coach. He is probably better at the overall operations of the basketball program than coaching on game day.
 

Ree4

Well-Known Member
Cmon folks! Against Tier 3 teams in the latter half of the year, our win % is much lower than earlier. Pretty big improvement against Tier 2. Tier 1, not a big difference.

Red line is overall win % against that tier overall, blue is how we perform against that tier during the particular month.

Just compare blue vs red and you can see how we're performing for any given month.
 
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Luftgekuehlt67

Well-Known Member
Well, communication fail on part on a couple levels.

First off, let me say that, if anything, I'm a Fran apologist - certainly no hater. As a program, Iowa has had only a few - very brief - flashes of truly "elite". Probably our most consistent run of good basketball was Lute through Dr Tom. Outside of that, the picture is very clear: this is a program, much like our football program, that, in the wrong hands, can easily find itself in the basement of the Big Ten (and quickly, too).

I did the analysis in a prior post, so I can say this definitively: over his tenure, Fran has outperformed our historical program trajectory by a solid margin. Iowa is a challenging place to win, but Fran has done it...and done it exceptionally cleanly AND in an entertaining fashion. I'm very proud of the program and gotten many hours of enjoyment watching Fran's teams.

Hopefully that more clearly sets where I'm coming from going into this because, the fact is, even as a self-professed Fran apologist, there is a nagging sense that there may be some kind of pattern to Iowa's seasons under Fran where hot starts tend to falter a bit as the season wears on.

As fans, I think we're all very emotionally invested in our teams. As such, I think it's very natural to see things that are either not there at all or to exaggerate a bit. I simply wanted to find out, over Fran's tenure, statistically, is Iowa performing better mid season than they are late season.

What the graphs show is Iowa's winning percentage over the Fran era broken out a couple different ways. First, it's broken into three charts based on opponent quality (which I based on KenPom final rankings). The tiers are 1-50, 51-100, and 101-150. As a high-major team, these ranges represent the bulk of Iowa's opponents.

Secondly, within each tier, I broke out Iowa's winning percentage by month (blue line) and laid it over Iowa's overall winning percentage against that tier to find out when (or if) Iowa plays better or worse than average against that tier.

With 20/20 hindsight, I think I would have just forgone the tiers, because I think the overall trends would be the same. At least to my eyes, there is some kind of trend going on - all three charts seem to indicate some sort of mid-season peak. "Franuary" might be both a hot-button message board topic AND rooted in reality.

I'm open to criticism if you think we are seeing something else (or nothing at all) in the charts. I would be curious to do the same for a few other long-ish tenured coaches to see what - if any - month by month variation in winning percentage we might find.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
I've got 2 degrees and hell I can't figure this out.
That associates degree in bakery science and welding certification aren't gonna cut it, friend.

I found a couple free online pre-algebra classes, if you want the links lemme know.
 

Fryowa

Administrator
I'm open to criticism if you think we are seeing something else (or nothing at all) in the charts. I would be curious to do the same for a few other long-ish tenured coaches to see what - if any - month by month variation in winning percentage we might find.
I'm not an anti-Fran person at all, but to me there's not really a debate to be had that Fran slides at the end of the year way more often than not. Splitting the conference schedule right down the middle his teams are .607 first half, and .413 second half since 2016. The tier doesn't really matter because everyone in our conference is playing the same pool of teams.

Where I find the rub is when people use the excuse that he slides because the season gets more difficult with wear and tear, injuries, etc, and that it's expected to lose ballgames for that reason. Well, for every team that goes .400 on the back half there's a team that goes .600. I get that stats is difficult for people to grasp and I am by no means anything resembling Albert Einstein, but unless everyone is at .500 there are an equal number of teams that underperform in the 2nd half & and equal number that overperform. Iowa is clearly in the former. It's math and I don't know how the hell people can't figure it out.

At the end of the day should Fran get fired? Jesus Christ no...

This is the most highly rated team we've had at this point in the season since the Korean War, but a bunch of folks here want to be Nebraska 2.0 and fire Fran if he doesn't make the S16. Do you idiots even know how to tie your shoes or use a fork?
 

Hawkfnntn

Well-Known Member
Someone should start a thread titled "In Search Of Negative Nancy Posters".

Maybe they're just waiting for the BTT loss, if there is one, or the NCAA loss whenever it is.

Its coming. Wisconsin made back to back final fours and that didn't stop Ryan from getting barbecued after they finally lost. Forget the fact that Wisconsin will never experience back to back final fours again.
Ole Bo had some off the court things going on that got him in hot water I believe. Something to do with cheating on his wife with an underling I think and it was a long term thing. He was accused of using school $ improperly but was cleared of that. Between all that and his age he decided to retire in the middle of the year and check out before shit got messy publicly. He's a piece of work to be sure...
 
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ChosenChildren

Well-Known Member
Anything can happen in the Big Dance. You don't have to beat a team 4 out of 7 or 2 out of 3; you just have to beat them once, or avoid them entirely if they get upset.

Michigan in 1989 lost TWICE to Illinois in the regular season, but then beat the Illini by one in the tournament and went on to win the National Championship.

Can Iowa make the Final Four with a 2 or 3 seed? I say yes. They are going to have to stay away from injury; play their best basketball; and get a little lucky. But it is possible. We can beat a Michigan, Gonzaga or Baylor if everything comes together, or we may avoid them altogether in the event of an upset.

We need two wins this week to secure that 2 or 3 seed.
 

PCHawk

Well-Known Member
I think the whole Fran fade thing comes from two years. There were two years where we started really good and ended really bad. Last year was a slight fade, but nothing to even make you notice if it wasn't for the two big fades. Before the first fade, people talked about how his teams got better every year. Also the two fades sandwiched a really strong finish.
 

Dadman

Well-Known Member
Problem with a tough conference is that you are going to get some tough losses, and a few stinkers on a bad night when stars do not align. It's basketball. We do not enjoy the luxury of playing all our tough games coming out of the gate and coasting through the conference................but then again, we wouldn't have anything to bitch about if we won every freaking game
 
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Dadman

Well-Known Member
Ole Bo had some off the court things going on that got him in hot water I believe. Something to do with cheating on his wife with an underling I think and it was a long term thing. He was accused of using school $ improperly but was cleared of that. Between all that and his age he decided to retire in the middle of the year and check out before shit got messy publicly. He's a piece of work to be sure...
Wasnt that at Platteville with the affair scandal, or is my memory getting fuzzy??
 

Bigtenchamp

Well-Known Member
when you play ranked conference teams at the end of the year... yeah your record is going to be worse than when you play central arkansas tech at the beginning of the year.
 

Hawkfnntn

Well-Known Member
Wasnt that at Platteville with the affair scandal, or is my memory getting fuzzy??
Maybe it started there but much of or all of it went on while at Wisconsin. Like he was having her travel with him and stay in hotels on the road and all kinds of cringeworthy shit. Sounded like it was a poorly kept secret that somehow wasn't getting leaked out. Went on for like 5 years. He had to prove he wasn't using school travel $ on her or else he coulda been in some really hot water.
 

NorthKCHawk

Well-Known Member
I agree the Fran fade is both real and overblown. You can't question his record tends to be worse as the season progresses (usually), and you can't explain away his pathetic record in the conference tournament. But, he has been here 9 years. He has clearly upgraded the talent level of this team above what Alford had or Dr. Tom (after Dr. Tom lost all the Raveling recruits). Most importantly, he does not appear to be fading this year! If we win these last two games this will be a very strong finish. A broken pattern is not a pattern anymore.

Bottom line is that Fran will and should be judged by this year. Its our best team in a generation on paper. We look to finish the season hopefully in the Top 5 nationally and second or third in the conference. Less than sweet 16 will be hugely disappointing and probably tell us Fran's ceiling is not even as good as Dr. Tom. Sweet 16, eh, pretty good year, but still a let down. Anything beyond that will be vindicate the hiring and retention of a very good coach.
 
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