Assistant Head Coach, Tits McGee, in happier times.
This is the most important week of the season for the Iowa basketball team. Finals Week brings us no action on the floor but it's the busiest week of the season for the coaches and players.
During the season, teams are allowed 20 hours for practice, weight training, film, instruction, and games. Take away the six hours for games and you're left with two hours per day for everything else. You may think that's plenty of time - but you would be wrong. Once the first game tips, teaching practices are few and far between. There just isn't time for the coaches to work on systemic teaching and drills with the team.
Couple that with the inherent problems with a first year coach bringing in an entirely new system*. You may have noticed if you've been fortunate to see the games, that our boys appear to be thinking rather than reacting much of the time. They're trying to remember where to go and constantly living in fear of another turnover. I would like to remove the word "turnover" from our collective vernacular for the remainder of the season. Coach Lick came in on the magic carpet of his teams having the fewest turnovers in the world for 31 straight years. It's the only thing many Hawkeye fans knew about him and they latched onto it. It was like the most beautiful song in the world to us. After years of senseless turnovers leading to countless (seriously, I tried to count them all, it was unpossible) crippling losses we were moist with anticipation. No turnovers, you say?!? Yes, please!
And now we're a third of the way into the season and we've been saddled with countless turnovers leading to crippling losses. It's frustrating but it's not for lack of effort. This brings me to the part where I'm going to say something uplifting that will have you ironing your Settles jersey.
After this week, we will be better. Coach Lick has seen what these guys can (and cannot) do and I promise you he'll coach 'em up and put them in a position to succeed. If you think this guy became coach of the year through anything other than dogged determination and hard work, think again. He's been in the lab watching film day and night putting together a formula to work his system with these kids. This is the week when he gets to make the changes and adjustments. This is the week when he gets to change the formula. This is the week when he gets to teach, again. In college football, you'll hear that well coached teams make their biggest improvement between the first and second games. In college basketball, that time is now. When these guys hit the floor tomorrow night against Drake, they will thank the gods this week is over, not because of finals, but because Coach Lick has been working them relentlessly.
Are we going to run off 10 wins in a row? No. Coach Lick is working with a rotation that prominently features JR Angle, who makes JR Koch look like Tyler Hansbrough. We're not going to be a good team this year. We just aren't. We are going to get better, and that's all you can ask for.
We'll be here tomorrow night for a liveblog of the Drake game. We might not win but we won't lose by 35. Also, when the founding fathers of BHGP have liveblogged games this season, the Hawkeyes are undefeated. Is it because of us? Probably.
[here's the requisite teaser followed by a YouTube video]
JHC! Drake! OPS! OPS offering to send you photos of his junk on his camera phone! Hawkeye State (probably)! Gorney's Tattoo!
* Perhaps "new system" is a misnomer here. That presupposes there was a previous system and through diligent research we were unable to find any system at all under [name redacted].