Sure, laugh at the title all you want. Northwestern, cakewalk, yeah yeah. Consider this: only once since 1998-1999 has Iowa beaten the Wildcats in football, then twice during the regular season in basketball. Those fuckers are scrappy.
Indeed, Iowa had lost their last three trips to Evanston, all at the last second. And after racing out to 18-4 and 28-11, a fourth close contest seemed unlikely. But woe upon those expecting a laugher; this is still Iowa basketball. You see, the 28-11 lead was before Iowa's trademark first half cold snap, and before long, Northwestern had climbed back to within 4.
The second half was more of the same. Iowa kept shooting well, but they couldn't shake the Cats. Even when they had extended the lead back to 56-43 with 5:47 to go, even the NU crowd of dozens knew the game wasn't over, because well, it's just Iowa.
And sure enough, just two minutes later, Northwestern had climbed back to within one point with a 12-0 run. In that span, Iowa took just one shot: a missed three-pointer by JJ. The Hawkeyes at least had the decency to misfire on five different shots during Northwestern's 13-0 first half run.
All in all, it closely resembled the Northwestern State game (link goes to youtube, if you've got a strong stomach and/or are heavily masochistic) for about 39 minutes: Iowa clearly outplays those fuckers in purple for the majority of each half, only to see them claw back into it. But while Iowa faltered from the line in 2006, Big Boy FLIPPED THE FUCKING SCRIPT on 'em like it was nothing. The Gornstar, who hadn't scored all game long (hard to do so on 0-1 shooting, after all), collected rebounds on all three missed shots of the last minute, and hit all four free throws to seal a 67-62 Iowa win.
Something else to note: before last night, Iowa had not beaten an opponent all season who scored more than 60 points. Go on, check. Iowa's total now stands at one, leaving Oregon State as the only major conference team not to achieve such a pedestrian accomplishment.
So with that, the regular season is over. Iowa went 12-18 (6-12). Bad, right? Bad like a fox! This is Marchifuckingfornication, and this season's just fucking beginning. All that stands in the way of the NCAA championship is 10 wins (11 if the tournament committee forces Iowa into the play-in game, which seems kinda fair). Step one is either Michigan or Illinois, next Thursday. Let's go, Hawks. The world's ready for an 18-loss champion.
UNRELATED NOTE: Wallace Franklin, Iowa State receiver, arrested for violence-based idiocy. Oh, Cyclones, you are such adorable little brothers. Please repeat this 10 times then come check back with us. By then, one of our guys (early favorite: Rafael Eubanks) will have been arrested for making terroristic threats against the sun. Scuffling with a cop? Child's play, Cy. We go big.