Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Iowa played just well enough to lose to a really awful Penn State team. Here's just about all you need to know:

2FG: 18-27
3FG: 9-31

The rest of the stats can be found here.

Penn State fought harder for the win, and Iowa just shot 3's all game long. I understand that they're often the most open shot against a zone like the Nits play, but look at what's working, here.

Haluska dropped 30 and looked good. Tyler Smith scored most of his 14 in the first half, and shouldn't have shot so many 3's (1-6). He was killer in the middle of the zone.

Looby and Tate combined for 2 points and 3 rebounds in 31 minutes of action. AD Gary Barta, I am more than willing to perform that sort of service for pennies compared to a full ride. End the uneconomical madness of paying them a full ride for such measly results!

I'll have plenty more to say about this tomorrow, as well as my first in a serious of tournament field recaps. Some of the impetus for the tourney recaps is gone, since there's no need to compare Iowa's current place to those fields, but the show must go on, my friends.

God I hate Steve Alford.

Welcome to the show


20:00: Howdy everybody. Good to hear the ESPNU announcer excited because Penn State was going to be playing for "the love of the game." Glad that didn't occur to them until after 13 straight losses.

18:49: Looby gets his shot swatted into next week, then Freeman steps out. The charitable announcer chalks it up to both teams being "jittery." Yeah, that's it.

17:15: Three turnovers, zero points. This is going to be one epic slapfight.

16:10: Make it four.

15:55: Five. 8-0 PSU. For those of you who had "after the first TV timeout" in the When Will Iowa Finally Score pool, please claim your prize.

13:56: Mike Henderson is the only person who has scored for Iowa during the first 6 minutes of the game. Please gouge my eyes out with my house keys.

13:56: Now Iowa's score is going backwards. 15-4, folks.

12:34: Nice offensive board and assist for Tyler Smith. One nice play every 7 1/2 minutes may not be enough.

11:50: My impression after two TV timeouts? Almost completely unwatchable. 15-8, Nits. Iowa is barely outscoring some guy named Moose.

11:50: Hey, highlights of the Drake and UNI losses! Thanks, my mouth wasn't filled with vomit yet.

10:51: Go, Lotus Blossom, go!

8:54: Dear Iowa Hawkeyes-- Tyler Smith knows for a fact that Penn State does not actually play defense. Please adjust accordingly.

7:50: Now it's 22-17, thanks to Iowa finally figuring out that it's okay to score on a team that gives up 1.17 points per possession. Really--PSU has easily the worst defense in the Big 10.

6:46: I just realized how much Tyler Smith looks like Glen Worley. I'm gonna try not to think about that ever again.

5:24: Kurt Looby fouls a guy on a 3-point attempt? What in God's name is he doing that far away from the bucket?

2:55: This is getting brutal. Iowa's going against the lousiest defense in the conference--what are they doing having Freeman hoist jump shots? They got back into the game by getting to the line. That needs to continue. Unless Tyler Smith is heavily sedated and under lock and chain, he should get the ball on every possession.

1:50: LOTUS BLOSSOM!!! Forget what I just said, give it to Gorney every time. The guy is a reverse layup machine.

0:55: I still can't get over the crawl line on ESPN that advertises for Dick's Sporting Goods, except they always capitalize it, so it's DICK'S. Don't they realize there are childish people like me watching?!


It's almost hard to believe Iowa's only down 3 points at this point. It is, of course, worth mentioning that they're playing the worst team in the Big 10; there's the unconscionable fact that they're losing to a team who hasn't won since January 3, and there's also the fact that they played about as well as I do at the Fieldhouse after a late-night bender, but they're only down 3.

The jump shots need to stop--get to the line some more. Iowa is 1-11 from behind the arc, and 13-27 overall. In other words, they're 12-16 from inside the arc. It's not too hard to figure out what needs to happen, and it's not letting Tony god-damned Freeman try to shoot his way out of a cold streak.


18:46: That's messed up. That guy clearly traveled after our boys nailed him in the eye.

17:00: And of course, Iowa has the lead because of Freeman jacking up 3's. I'm smart and you should listen to me.

15:11: Well. Now both teams have given up the pretense of playing defense, and are now finally focused on hitting their jump shots. Maybe the second half will be fun to watch after all.

13:29: The 3-point contest continues. Did these teams make a bet with each other at halftime or something? This is ridiculous.

11:50: This is just getting comical now--Johnson ties the game with (what else?) a 3-pointer. Iowa has attempted 2 2-pointers and 7 from behind the arc. Unbelievably, it's "working." 47-47.

10:37: WOULD YOU FUCKING CUT IT OUT?? Haluska converts a 4-point play. Seriously guys--try a layup. You only hit 75% of your 2's in the first half.

8:18: Iowa hits 3 straight layups, now they're up 57-55. I'm just sayin'.

7:50: Nice phantom call on the Claxton shot. If this pace keeps up, Iowa ought to hit 80 points on the game. Not too shabby, considering I was trying to stick a gun in my mouth while Henderson was the only one scoring for Iowa for the first 8 minutes.

5:10: Unbelievable save by Tyler Smith to give Iowa the ball. Almost as unbelievable as Tony Freeman's refusal to take care of the ball or play defense.

3:13: LOTUS BLOSSOM NOOOO!!! What in God's name is he doing trying to shoot a 3?! How very un, uh... un-yoga of him. 69-67, Lions. Seriously guys--shoot some 2's. They work.

2:09: David: "Freeman's playing like Chauncey Leslie out there." Me: "Don't insult Chauncey!" David: "Like Chauncey Leslie with non-refundable tickets to Cancun." Me: "That's fair." 69-69 now--Vegas looks like a bunch of damned geniuses for putting Iowa at -3.

1:52: Gorney draws an unfair blocking foul, then biffs both free throws. How very karmic of the Lotus Blossom!

1:10: Great moment in announcing while Iowa brings the ball up down 4. "Don't just throw something up there, run your offense." Hey announcer--that IS Iowa's offense!

0:52: Looks like the PSU cheerleaders found Paterno's boys' training table.

0:22: Good travel call. Just get a smart shot--oh fucking hell, Freeman has it.

0:06: AAIEEE!!!


0:00: Mike Henderson, fittingly, throwing up a wild prayer of a 3 that rims out as time expires.

Congratulations to Adam Haluska

Adam Haluska was just named ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-American of the Year. Snark aside, that's a heck of an honor for a guy who has represented the UI very well in his 3 years of play here.

He's also on the Naismith Award watch list, which puts him in a list of 30 semifinalists. He won't get it, for reasons that barely have to do with his performance. First, the Hawkeyes aren't doing well enough this season for him to be a finalist. Blaming that on Haluska is kind of like blaming Dave Mustain for how much Creed sucked. It's not 100% false, but there are definite larger issues you'd be missing out on.

Second, his stats aren't gaudy enough. It's not as if he's totally selfless--he takes 15 shots a game and records fewer than 3 assists per--but when the guys responsible for getting you the ball are Tony Freeman and the inimitable Mike Henderson, then, well... yeesh.

Once again, though, congratulations to Adam Haluska and his smoking hot fiancee. You're crazy if you don't think I'm looking for a picture of her right now. Check back in an hour or two. It shouldn't take me that long to find her picture, but after I do... I might need some alone time.

UPDATE: As far as pictures go, there's only one on the googles, and it's Haluska proposing to her. Not spank-worthy.

She is on facebook, though. I'm not doing the creep thing and posting them here. But she is on facebook.

Big 10 standings, RPI's, and tourney seeds

All data are courtesy of -- Ken Pomeroy's indispensable bastion of basketball knowledge and statistics.

Teams are listed in order of regular season finish, with RPI listed in parentheses after the team record. Invitees are listed in bold. For purposes of simplicity, only teams with a winning record, at least 6 BT wins, and an RPI under 90 are listed. It's safe to say you can't be a serious contender without all 3 conditions.


1. #2 Ohio State (25-5, 12-4) (5)
2. #3 Iowa (25-8, 11-5) (7)
3. #4 Illinois (25-6, 11-5) (14)
4. #9 Wisconsin (19-11, 9-7) (23)
5. #6 Indiana (18-11, 9-7) (34)
6. #6 Michigan State (21-11, 8-8) (18)
7. Michigan (18-10, 8-8) (47)


1. #1 Illinois (32-1, 15-1) (1)
2. #5 Michigan State (22-6, 13-3) (21)
3. #6 Wisconsin (22-8, 11-5) (14)
4. #8 Minnesota (21-10, 10-6) (39)
5. Indiana (15-13, 10-6) (61)
6. Ohio State (20-12, 8-8) (51) (ineligible for postseason play)
7. #10 Iowa (21-11, 7-9) (42)


1. #5 Illinois (24-6, 13-3) (23)
2. #6 Wisconsin (24-6, 12-4) (12)
3. #7 Michigan State (18-11, 12-4) (39)
4. Iowa (16-12, 9-7) (86)
5. Michigan (18-11, 8-8) (55)


1. #5 Wisconsin (22-7, 12-4) (25)
2. #4 Illinois (24-6, 11-5) (18)
3. #9 Purdue (18-10, 10-6) (30)
4. #7 Michigan State (19-12, 10-6) (31)
5. Michigan (17-13, 10-6) (65) (ineligible for postseason play)
6. #7 Indiana (20-12, 8-8) (47)
7. Minnesota (16-12, 8-8) (71)
8. Ohio State (17-14, 7-9) (54)


1. #4 Illinois (24-7, 11-5) (9)
2. #5 Indiana (19-10, 11-5) (13)
3. #4 Ohio State (21-7, 11-5) (23)
4. #8 Wisconsin (17-12, 11-5) (54)
5. #10 Michigan State (18-11, 10-6) (34)
6. Minnesota (17-12, 9-7) (68)


1. #1 Michigan State (24-4, 13-3) (3)
2. #1 Illinois (24-7, 13-3) (6)
3. #5 Ohio State (20-10, 11-5) (34)
4. #4 Indiana (21-12, 10-6) (16)
5. #6 Wisconsin (18-10, 9-7) (19)
6. #7 Penn State (19-11, 7-9) (24)
7. #7 Iowa (22-11, 7-9) (26)


1. #1 Michigan State (26-7, 13-3) (13)
2. #3 Ohio State (22-6, 13-3) (24)
3. #6 Purdue (20-9, 12-4) (31)
4. #4 Illinois (21-9, 11-5) (23)
5. #6 Indiana (20-8, 10-6) (20)
6. #8 Wisconsin (18-13, 8-8) (32)


1. #1 Michigan State (28-4, 15-1) (2)
2. #4 Ohio State (22-8, 12-4) (20)
3. #5 Iowa (18-9, 9-7) (12)
4. #5 Wisconsin (22-9, 9-7) (14)
5. #6 Indiana (22-10, 9-7) (16)
6. #7 Minnesota (17-10, 8-8) (24)
7. #10 Purdue (19-12, 7-9) (25)


3. #6 Average State (20-9, 11-5) (23)

So, well, of course the 3rd place team will be in. They'll be in without breaking a sweat on Selection Sunday. Using that as precedent for Iowa getting in with, optimistically, a (19-13, 10-6) (68) resume is absurd.

I think we were a bit, for lack of a better term, cheated by Michigan's ineligibility in '03. That would be about the best parallel for Iowa's current scenario. For what it's worth, Michigan would have been about the 7th team out based on RPI alone that year--they were #65, and the last team in on RPI was NC State at #53. 5 teams between them received automatic bids.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Steve Alford: Statistical Guru

Today's ICPC had your typical late-season boilerplate stuff about a middling team trying to work their way up the bubble. (article here)

It wouldn't be worth mentioning... until Alford opened his mouth. And what fun that is. Let's take a look:

“Of all the Big Ten teams, nobody’s played more top-50 teams than we have,” Alford said. “Nobody.”

Sure, it's not the most dubious thing he's ever said, not by a long shot, but there are still some underlying implications that simply don't ring true.

Implication #1: Iowa has played the hardest schedule in the Big 10. Well, no. Their strength of schedule is currently rated at #56. That doesn't sound too shabby, until you look at the conference RPI standings and see how many other teams are in that neighborhood. When the dust settles, there's Iowa, sitting pretty at 9th in the Big Ten at strength of schedule.

Implication #2: The selection committee ought to look at how Iowa's done against those top 50 teams. Only if you don't want Iowa in the tournament, friend.

Here's Iowa's results against top-50 RPI teams, with the home team (if any) in bold:
  • (42) Alabama 72, Iowa 60
  • (22) Villanova 89, Iowa 60
  • Iowa 62, (20) Michigan State 60
  • (31) Illinois 74, Iowa 70
  • (24) Indiana 71, Iowa 64
  • (2) Ohio State 82, Iowa 63
  • (5) Wisconsin 57, Iowa 46
  • Iowa 81, (24) Indiana 75
  • (5) Wisconsin 74, Iowa 62
  • (20) Michigan State 81, Iowa 49
  • Iowa 78, (40) Purdue 59
That's 3-9 against tournament-level competition, and exactly zero wins away from Carver.

Implication #3: You should believe the words coming out of Steve Alford's mouth. Well, that's just silly. Iowa is not, in fact, the team that has played the most games against top-50 opponents. That would be Michigan State, having won 6 of 13 games.

The bottom line is that Iowa played two non-conference games against top-50 opponents and got killed in both of them. As for Iowa playing more top-50 games in the Big Ten, well... yeah. That's because Iowa isn't in the upper 50 themselves. There are 6 teams in the Big Ten in the top 50. For them, 5 of the remaining 10 potential conference opponents are in the top 50. For Iowa and the rest of the 51+, 6 of the remaining 10 opponents are in the top 50. It only makes sense, then, that Iowa would have more "tough games" on their docket; they can't play themselves, after all.

Coach of the Year, folks.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Great news from the Google front

[GOOGLE USERS: Click HERE to access the main page.]

My website is already the #6 Google response for a search of: fire steve alford.

Now, mind you--I don't think I've ever advocated his firing on this page, per se; he's screwed the program up pretty badly, but I don't know who we'd bring in to replace him, or what that new coach would even be able to do with a team built around, uh, Tyler Smith and Seth Gorney.

I do, however, recognize an opportunity for increased traffic when I see it. So on that note, I'm going to get in some more mentions of "fire steve alford" without actually requesting his termination. Observe:

I don't know if we should Fire Steve Alford.
A lot of people want to Fire Steve Alford.
In 1981, as the world enjoyed the movie Chariots of Fire, Steve Alford tirelessly practiced his jump shot.
If he were a caveman who discovered Fire, Steve Alford would be very popular among his peers, but probably long dead by now.
Whenever I listen to that one Man in Motion song by John Parr that mention's St. Elmo's Fire, Steve Alford comes to mind. I don't know why.

That ought to do the trick.

Pat Harty makes me feel good about myself

Here's his latest column, which essentially says that everybody's amazed that Iowa's over .500, but most people still hate Alford. Well, yeah.

So why does he make me feel good about myself? It's not as if Harty's any good--he's pretty mediocre, as sports opinion guys go. No, it's that whenever I read an article of his, his mugshot's right there grinning at me:

I can't get enough of that. Honest to god.

Don't you ever change, Harty. Ever.

Seth Gorney: Our little Lotus Blossom

This from the Des Moines Register...

Apparently Seth Gorney practices yoga. A lot.

Here's what I want to know: Does this help him play basketball in any significant way? I mean, it's fascinating that a 7-footer can put his feet behind his head, but I suppose that's only helpful if he's actually looking forward to getting boned by Old Man Oden.

To be really honest, I haven't been as down on Gorney as most folks have been this season. He deserves more comparisons to Jared Reiner than to Greg Helmers. The kid can shoot--he's Iowa's most efficient shooter. By a pretty good amount. 1.20 PPWS (points per weighted shot) is pretty darned good.

But that's just about all he does. Here's a quick rundown of what needs to improve:

4.1 boards on 20 minutes per game.
2 (two) assists in Big Ten play this year. If you need to go back and read that again, I understand and I'll wait.
16-20 from the free throw line... for the entire season. 20 free throws is a typical week for Haluska.
As many blocks as Haluska has on the year (7).

The bottom line is that he's a 5 that plays like he's scared of contact and passing. So while it's cute and quirky that Lotus Blossom can contort himself, it would be a lot better if he could spend a bit more time learning skills that give Iowa a mentionable post presence.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Thursday, February 22, 2007


"OH MY GOD IOWA WON THEIR BIGGEST GAME OF THE YEAR" - Actual sentiment from some Hawkeye fans.

Good lord. They won at home against a middling Purdue team that can barely stay in the Top 50 of the RPI. It's not like the Boilers are, let's say, ranked. The reasoning, though, was that Iowa needs to win out in order to have a shot to make the NCAA's, so every game is very important.

Yeesh. You'd think a game against a ranked opponent was bigger, but apparently games are only big if Iowa has a shot of winning them.

Let's make something perfectly clear: Iowa's road/neutral record is 3-10. That's arguably the worst road/neutral record in the top 100 of the RPI (you could, I suppose, make an argument for Washington at 1-8, but realize what sort of company Iowa's keeping here). At the very least, no team has as many losses with as few wins.

All that aside... darn good game by the Hawkeyes. The sad thing is this: If Iowa had played up to their potential and not lost at Arizona State (unforgivable) and Drake (were they all drunk?), then they're 18-10, 8-6 in the Big Ten, and probably around a 60 in the RPI. Considering there's a road game at PSU and the BTT coming up, it would be highly conceivable in that scenario that Iowa would have 20 wins on the year... even though there's about a baker's dozen cupcakes in that record. That's probably a 9 seed.

But, I suppose, that is the Alford Era in a nutshell: Worthless speculation in lieu of actual performance. Instead of deep NCAA tourney runs and kids who are proud to wear Iowa jerseys, we get The Hair Gel, talk of "March situations," reminders of his streak of winning records, and any other cheap, self-serving rhetorical trick usually reserved for losing Senate campaigns.

Oh, lastly, I cannot let slide the horror of Purdue's coach's hair last night. Imagine Jimmy Kimmel trying to wear an Alford. I'm trying furiously to find a picture of it right now. Absolutely unfathomably bad.

EDIT: Here is Matt Painter in all his glory. My God.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


You don't often see a basketball game where one team wins as big as MSU just did, and it was never even that close. Here's how bad it got: from the 16:31 mark of the first half to the 5:56 mark of the second half, Sparty was doubling up on Iowa. It was 73-33 when State started playing the cheerleaders and all the players' moms who were wearing their son's jersey.

The worst part is that it's not surprising at all. Iowa ALWAYS gets killed by Izzo up in East Lansing. ALWAYS. It doesn't matter how good either team is, you just know State's going to crush Iowa up there. The closest Alford's ever come to winning in East Lansing? 14 points. Two touchdowns. Yeah.

This, effectively, buries all tourney hopes for the Hawkeyes. It's a little irritating that people were talking about it at all over the past few weeks, but that talk has to be over now, right? Their RPI is in the 80's, they have 12 losses, and their best non-conference win was over... buckle your seatbelt... Toledo. Do you really think the selection committee gives a shit if the Hawks go 9-7 in the Big Ten???

Here's what we know: Henderson and Freeman can't take care of the ball. Their turnover numbers make Pierre Pierce look responsible. So the Hawks need a point guard badly. Alford's bringing in this kid named Dairese Gary, and we all know how well you can trust someone with two first names. So after Gary, then what? You need more than one guy to run the point, and it looks like the only thing Iowa can do to help Freeman is, well, hope and pray. The kid's a maniac. Also, the Hawks brought in some kid from Indiana who's 6'6", runs the 2, and... well, he looks like this:


Purdue's coming here Wednesday. Here's how it'll go down: Iowa's going to drop about 75 or 80 on them, win by 10, maybe climb a spot in the two in the RPI, and it won't make a lick of difference. This is Iowa basketball.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Poon Pun Overload

During a game of NCAA '07 last night, I played against a team who started a receiver named Maxey, which was pronounced every bit as unfortunately as you could imagine. Needless to say, Dave and I had some fun with it.

"Big touchdown for Maxey, padding his stats."
"Maxey is the best receiver in the NCAA. Period."
"That guy can fly! It's almost like Maxey's got wings!"
"Maxey's best going against the flow of the defense."
"Maxey's probably in there just for protection at this point."
"You can count on Maxey being on at least once a month."

And then he got hurt, and ohhh boy...

"Maxey's bleeding awfully bad there."
"There must be something wrong with Maxey's pads."
"Maxey's definitely got to be replaced at this point."
"Maxey's day-to-day now... 3-5 days, probably."

Sunday, February 11, 2007

OPS's Big 2007 Season Recap

11/13/2006: vs. The Citadel. W 75-53 Iowa defeats the Citadel, who are about as good at basketball as the cast of The View is. I didn't even know this game was going on until I read about it in the paper the next day.
11/17/2006: vs. Toledo, Paradise Jam. W 78-65 Well, Haluska couldn't do anything, but Ty Smith tossed in 28 to help the Hawks get past the Holy Toledos. That, of course, is not their team name, but it really ought to be.
11/19/2006: vs. Alabama, Paradise Jam. L 72-60 Note to the Hawkeyes-- 30 3-point tries in one game? Last I checked, Chris Kingsbury hung up the cleats about a decade ago. Holy shit that makes me feel old. Haluska jacked up 9 tries and hit none of them, which is something I could probably do. Hey Steve, I'm not eligible or anything, but let's be honest, it's not like you'd be missing out on many wins by putting me in the lineup. Shit, I'd play for $15 a game. $20 if it's on TV.
11/20/2006: vs. Villanova, Paradise Jam. L 89-60 I remember the day of this game, that some of the more intrepid message boarders issuing warnings that Villanova could be in trouble in this game. The only thing the 'Cats were in danger of doing is losing their Nikes up Iowa's asses. What an epic beatdown this game was. Iowa can't get back to the mainland fast enough.
11/25/2006: at Arizona State. L 67-64 Arizona State has yet to win a game in the Pac-10 this year. As a matter of fact, here is a list of all the teams the Sun Devils have bested this season, up to 2/12/2007: San Bernadino (?!), San Jose State (who, at press time, is 4-20), Iowa, Northern Colorado (4-21), Colgate (seriously, it was 5 guys against a tube of tartar control toothpaste), and North Carolina A&T (a school that I did not know existed 45 seconds ago). We've got the rest of the Big 10 right where we want 'em!
11/29/2006: at Virginia Tech. L 69-65 The Virginia Polytechnical Institute was up by 16 with about 6 and a half minutes to go, and Iowa looked awful. Then the Hawkeyes banded together and announced as one, "We will not go quietly into the night! We will fight! As we represent the great state of Iowa, we will rise up and lose by a deceptively small margin!" And lo, they did. Ty Smith picked one hell of a night to miss 11 of his 13 shots, and Adam Haluska continued to enjoy his heave-ho carte blanche, increasing his 3-point FGA to over 9 a game.
12/01/2006: vs. Texas Pan-Am, Hawkeye Challenge. W 62-46 I'm calling shenanigans. You cannot tell me that facing Texas Pan-Am fits any legal definition of the word "challenge." Unless it's the athletic department challenging us not to change the channel at the half. In that case, I lost the challenge, which I suppose makes me less of a man.
12/02/2006: vs. Coppin State, Hawkeye Challenge. W 83-67 In a slightly less unwatchable showdown, Iowa claims its own trophy. Haluska dropped a 31-9-9, and since we fans knew there wasn't much point in rooting for big things from the team, we just hoped for individual awards instead.
12/05/2006: vs. UNI. L 57-55 An epic meltdown lets UNI back in the game, and surprises just about nobody. Seriously, Iowa had a double-digit lead for about 25 of the game minutes, and then took the last 5 minutes off. It's fine that a lot of people in Carver were waiting for the comeback, but it's not so good when 12 of then are wearing black and gold jerseys that say "IOWA" on them.
12/08/2006: vs. ISU. W 77-59 I don't think I've ever seen a worse ISU team than the one that showed up at Carver that night. Iowa State grabbed 17 offensive boards out of 32 opportunities (!!!), and still got murdered. That's because once they had the offensive rebound, they had absolutely no idea what to do with it--they committed 26 turnovers. I mean, sure, you could rightly credit the Iowa defense, but they only registered 12 steals; 14 times, then, ISU committed an offensive foul or sent the ball sailing out of bounds.
12/16/2006: at Drake. L 75-59 I have a hunch that Dr. Tom slept awfully well that night. Drake absolutely murdered the Hawkeyes for 40 minutes, and nobody that I talked to thought it was even an upset. Drake has pretty much taken the conference season off, which makes me wonder if Dan McCarney's been helping out this season--what with the extra free time he's found on his hands lately and all.
12/20/2006: vs. Georgia State. W 101-59 Well. I think they were mad. In a gloriously entertaining display of unsportsmanlike score padding, Iowa dropped a C-note on the hapless Panthers. For the majority of the game, Iowa was actually on pace to double them up; the score was 101-51 late before GSU scored 8 unanswered points while the Hawks let the walk-ons and cheerleaders throw the ball at the bucket. Haluska led the way with 36 points on an utterly ridiculous 13-19 performance from the field.
12/23/2006: vs. Texas Southern. W 90-63 The "Destroy the Cupcakes" tour continued against a Tiger team that, frankly, played like they couldn't wait to give Iowa a double-digit lead. Ty Smith worked his ass off in the first half with 17 points. The Hawks then spent the 2nd half dribbling and shooting only with their left hands (NOTE: totally untrue, but they probably could have), and they still led by 30 late.
12/30/2006: vs. Cornell. W 65-50 If I were in charge of scheduling teams for the Hawkeyes (or any school, really), I would absolutely never choose an Ivy League school. Here's why: I freaking hate watching those games. If I wanted to watch slow and unathletic basketball, I'd tape myself dunking on a children's nerf hoop. Congrats, Ivy Leaguers: by slowing the game down to an almost criminally slothlike level, you're only losing these games by 15 instead of 30. Have a cupcake.
1/04/2007: vs. Michigan State. W 62-60 Iowa absolutely worked Sparty for most of the night--they led for about 39 1/2 minutes straight, and the other 30 seconds were at the right part of the game (the beginning). Trouble was, Iowa had 13-point leads near the end of each half, and both times MSU made it awfully close before the clocks hit 0. Somehow, that Neitzel guy got 20, even though I remember him scoring, like, twice. Excellent way to start the Big 10 for the Hawks.
1/10/2007: at Illinois. L 74-70 I'd like to issue a statement that you can't win in the Big 10 by falling asleep during the 2nd half, but both teams did that in this one, so whatever guys. The Whining Illini led 65-52 late in the game while Iowa was grabbing a nice doze, but the Hawkeyes made a cute little comeback to cut it to one point with under a minute to go, but they couldn't get over the top. It sucks to watch your team scratch and claw on the road, hit over half their 3's, and get to the line 27 times... then still lose a close one. I suppose that's what happens when you hold the Illini guards to 6-28 shooting, but the Illini still hit over 50% of their shots. Yeah. Little help here, post defense.
1/13/2007: vs. Minnesota. W 60-49 The last 7 minutes of the first half were, in my humble estimation, the most brutal display of offensive futility in shot-clock-era college basketball. The score over those 7 minutes was 4-2, Iowa. The shots were clanging so wildly that Tony Freeman, who is literally shorter than I am, led the Hawkeyes with 9 boards. Sure, a win's a win, but fucking come ON.
1/16/2007: at Indiana. L 71-64 Hey, remember that story I told about Iowa forging a furious rally at Virginia Tech with the intent of just losing respectably? Same thing here. IU was up 20 awfully late, so let's not start attaching labels to this game like "competitive" or "ever in doubt." I wouldn't have been too upset if the Hawks decided to go with using a baseball bat to defend against DJ White.
1/20/2007: at Ohio State. L 82-63 I'm not going to sit here and pretend that Ohio State killed Iowa for 40 minutes, because it was close until Iowa ran out of gas or something with 11 minutes to go. But it's not like there's ever a "good" time for a team to have a 10-minute span where they're down 17 points, is there? The issue isn't timing; it's the fact that Iowa ended up losing by about 20 points, and that they still haven't played a game against a decent team where they played 40 solid minutes. Oh, and nice beard, Oden. You know who else had a beard? Jesus, and I don't think Jesus could hit left-handed hook shots by the time he was 19.
1/24/2007: vs. Penn State. W 79-63 Iowa controlled this entire game, which was nice to see. And if you're all right with a 16-point margin of victory, imagine how lopsided it would have been if the Nits didn't grab 27 offensive boards. Holy hell. Was it just Geary Claxton standing under a bucket and bouncing the ball to himself off the underside of the rim for a couple minutes straight? (ANSWER: No.) It's not like the ISU game, where the Cyclones were bewildered by things like entry passes; PSU only turned the ball over 13 times. They just can't fucking shoot.
1/28/2007 vs. Wisconsin. L 57-46 I don't know why I turned this game on. Honestly. Wisconsin games are about as ugly as Wisconsin girls (extremely). What I really don't get is how one team can be THAT much better at defense than anyone else in the conference. Anyhoo, Haluska and Smith combined to go 6-35 from the field, which once again is something that I can and will do for a fraction of the price of a full athletic scholarship. University of Iowa athletic department, make the economical choice!
1/31/2007: at Michigan. W 69-62 Congratulations to everybody who had January 31 in their "when will the Hawkeyes win a road game" office pool! It's not like they had many opportunities, this being their seventh true road game, but come on. Michigan owned the first half of this game, leading by 11 at the break (and still 48-37 with about 13 to go), but Iowa caught fire at the right time (see: before being down 25 with 5 minutes left). Smith scored 18 in the second half, so thank God for that. Dion Harris of the 'Rines went 0-11 for the game, so I'm more than willing to offer my services to Michigan if Iowa doesn't take me up. Ball's in your court, Barta.
2/03/2007: vs. Indiana. W 81-75 Holy crap, a winning streak against teams that I've heard of! I don't know if Sam Alford threatened DJ White at gunpoint before the game, but 4 attempts from the field is unacceptable. Once again, Iowa nearly lost the lead late, but their free throw shooting has been impressive all year.
2/07/2007: at Minnesota. W 91-78 I don't know what was more entertaining to watch: Iowa kicking Minnesota's ass up and down the court, or that huge Big Show-looking dude for Minnesota acting like a contestant on Deal Or No Deal every time he hit a bucket. Iowa scored about 1.30+ PPP, which I need not tell you is ass-bananas ridiculous. The Goofers actually hit a higher percentage from the field, but they rebounded like they were scared of the ball. Haluska went absolutely insane with 34 points on 14 shots. What made this game even better is that as soon as it was over, I got to watch UNC win at Duke, which is about the most satisfying experience in all of televised sports. Seriously, I wasn't even at the game, and I could smell Coach K's cock on Dick Vitale's breath.
2/10/2007: at Wisconsin. L 74-62 Well, of course. It's freaking Wisconsin and it freaking happens every single time Iowa plays up there. Tell me if this sounds familiar: (Iowa's top scorer) has a lousy first half, but the game's close. (Iowa fan named me) gets the notion that if (Iowa's top scorer) can have a decent second half, Iowa is in good position. (Iowa's top scorer) continues to have a similarly dismal second half, and Wisconsin dismantles Iowa. (Iowa fan named me) thinks about injecting alcohol directly into bloodstream.
2/14/2007 2/15/2007: vs. Northwestern. W 60-52 On the ugly scale, this game was somewhere between "Jerry Springer guest" and "David Wells taking a dump onto a glass table," but a win's a win. Now Iowa's 7-5 in the Big Ten, and people are talking about the bubble. Jesus Christ. Iowa has one win against a Top 25 RPI team, and 3 against the Top 50. I'm pretty sure the selection committee's panties aren't soaking wet right now.
2/17/2007: at Michigan State. L 81-49 When do you suppose this game was over? At 81-49? 71-31? 53-18? 36-12? How about 21-4? Sparty whooped some ass today. The Hawks didn't even do one damned thing well. They grabbed 10 defensive rebounds on 23 chances. They hit barely a third of their shots. One guy actually made a 3, and it wasn't Haluska (0-6). They managed 7 assists altogether, which is 3 fewer than they allowed to that Walton kid. There's nothing positive to take away from today's game, except "Iowa is positively not going to make the NCAA tournament this year."
2/21/2007: vs. Purdue. W 78-59 Purdue certainly earned the "PURDUE SUCKS" chant last night, didn't they? 10 assists on 20 buckets, free throw shooting under 50%, and a generally ugly offense. That Kramer kid can shoot, but so could Iowa. Haluska's not getting his flop job calls anymore, and if he can't hit those shots, Iowa's in trouble. 16-12, and 8-6 in the Big Ten. I gotta be honest, I didn't see .500+ in conference play happening this year.
2/28/2007: at Penn State. L 74-72 Iowa's tournament prognosis has been downgraded to Barbaro. The Hawks shot far better from inside the arc (1.33 PP2, 0.87 PP3), but still hoisted 31 3's anyway. Meanwhile, Penn State just won for the first time since January 3. These are times that drive Iowa fans to drinking.
3/03/2007: vs. Illinois. W 60-53 Iowa's officially 17-13, 9-7 on the season. I would have expected 13 losses, but 4th place in the Big 10 was a shock. Then again, so was losing at PSU and ASU, so whatever. Illinois had about 40 guys out with injury (I saw Weber warming up at one point--no such thing as shorts too long for that guy), but the bottom line is that Iowa now has another win against a Top 50 RPI team. Actually, the bottom line is that Iowa is still 100% screwed for the tournament unless they beat Purdue, OSU, and Wisconsin in consecutive days, but whatever, it'll be nice to have the NIT in town.


3/09/2007: vs. Purdue (United Center). L 74-55 Iowa saved their most disinterested performance of the year for the Big Ten Tournament, which makes perfect sense. Nobody did anything well for Iowa, and it's hard to imagine worse performances from the Lotus Blossom or Haluska. Purdue isn't even very good. Whatever.


Ohhhh, whoops.