We don't normally assign homework 'round these parts--there'd be more than a sliver of hypocrisy in it all--but we do want our readers to take notes on what's going on with the basketball team. Just know that when this season's said and done and we've all wept, gnashed our teeth, and slammed our heads against whatever hard surface is nearby until the sweet release of unconsciousness... Iowa had a winning streak this season.
Maybe even more amazingly, they actually scored over 80 points. Granted, the games in this streak were against
North Carolina South Carolina State and Duke Drake. Neither team is, how you say... good. But hey, beggars, choosers, etc. etc.
Jokes aside, this game seemed to demonstrate what we'd heard from Lickliter and others well-versed in his offense: that players are going to take good shots when they get them. Last night, there were plenty of shots with ample time left on the shot clock, which isn't something we're used to seeing. At all. But it's plainly obvious that it's easier for a major college team to guard the Hawkeyes' half-court set for 30 seconds than it was for SC State to do so for, say, 15 seconds. It's good that the team had the wherewithal to take advantage of that and not fall back into their rut of passing the ball around for 30 seconds. That, like it or not, reflects well on the coaching.
Also, even though the Bulldogs hung around for a good portion of the first half, Iowa seemed to avoid the typical cold snap in play until the game was well in hand. This is likely more a function of their competition than any coaching adjustment.
Speaking of high performance being a function of weak competition, we offer this stat line:
Jarryd Cole does this about 5 times a season, and uniformly against bad competition. Read nothing into this game. We implore you.
Otherwise, the men of the match were Matt Gatens, finally scoring 20 points (and on 13 shots from the field!) like we wish he'd do every game, and Eric May with 18 points (on 11 shots!) and a team-leading 8 rebounds. Nobody has any clue what position May plays or will eventually play, but hey, that's what they said about Larry Bird (no it is not).
So, anyhoo. The Hawkeyes get more than a week off to spend Christmas with their families and get NCAA-compliant gifts, which will be limited to used sweatpants from Goodwill, generic brand cottage cheese, and smiles (but no smiles with teeth; that's generally considered too much of a "perk"). After that, let's see what scrub's next on the schedule... Purdue? Oh, hell. Yeah, this win streak's stopping at two.