It's Not Plagiarism If You Link To It is BHGP's regular news roundup. Send all tips to any of the email addresses at the bottom of the page. But preferably not all of them at once. We usually end up laughing at people who do that.
NOTE: Don't forget to make your picks in the BHGP College Pick 'Em game this week.
As the Gatens turns... Big Ten Basketball Media Day was yesterday and while there wasn't a whole lot of news about Iowa (SPOILER ALERT: Iowa wasn't picked to finish in the top three of the league and no Iowa player made the preseason All-Big Ten team), we did get some good news re: Gatens' hand injury from Fran. In short, it's probably not so bad after all:
COACH MCCAFFERY: You know, Matt’s having surgery today. You’re probably looking at three weeks before he can play. He’s obviously going to want to play before that. I think that the iffy thing right now is will he play in our first game, will he play in our first two games. That I can’t answer. It’s a possibility, but it may not happen.
In his absence, Roy Devyn Marble should get a lot more action, although McCaffery also said he'd use Zach McCabe and Eric May at the two-guard spot as well. Beyond that, there wasn't a ton of news, aside from Fran all-but-confirming that Melsahn Basabe will be a starter, which means that we're probably looking at a starting five of Payne, May, Marble, Basabe, and Cole, with Gatens replacing Marble when he gets healthy.
That said, the McCaffery Q&A is worth reading if for no other reason than the sheer sense of hope and optimism he's bringing to the program -- he talks about turning Andrew Brommer into a legitimate Big Ten post player and, by god, I believe him. Again, we'll see in the coming weeks and months how well Iowa can live up to the talk, but at this point just having someone there who can whisper sweet nothings in my ear -- and do so convincingly -- is kind of intoxicating.
And in other hoopyball news, little may be expected of the men's team, but the same cannot be said for the ladies. They were tabbed second in the preseason poll (behind Ohio State) and senior guard Kachine Alexander was named to the preseason All-Big Ten team. High expectations are a new thing for the women's team; hopefully they handle them well. It would be nice to see one of the Iowa hoopyball teams involved in "a March situation" this year.
Normal programming to return Saturday. Remember that cat named Normal in Garfield? Man, I hated that annoying little fuzzbag and couldn't understand why Garfield didn't just engineer an "accident" involving the garbage disposal with that little douche. Then again, I was nine and also didn't understand why my real cat couldn't eat lasagna just like Garfield. And apparently that cat's name was actually "Nermal," so what the fuck. Anyway, that was a thing named "Norm" (or not, but whatever) that sucked. Luckily, there are a lot of things named "Norm" that are awesome, like Norm from Cheers, or Norm MacDonald, or Norm Parker. Speaking of... per Ferentz's reply at an I-Club breakfast this morning, Norm's going to be back in the pressbox for the Michigan State game tomorrow. Based on what Ferentz said earlier in the week, it's unclear how much he'll be able to do tomorrow, but hell, just having him back up there is good news.
Michigan State: where "zero tolerance" means "well, maybe a little tolerance after all." Senior cornerback Chris L. Rucker, a starter for the Michigan State defense until he spent the last few weeks in jail for violating his parole after being charged with reckless driving (which he pled down from a DUI), was immediately reinstated to the team yesterday by Mark Dantonio, although he oddly left it up to Rucker as to whether or not he travels with the team to Iowa City. The story might not have garnered much news if Michigan State hadn't been the latest Big Ten program tabbed with the "out of control" label last fall and if Dantonio hadn't announced a "no tolerance" policy last December, but them's the breaks. ESPN's Adam Rittenberg excoriated Dantonio for his decision and Pants-in-Chief Jacobi took a critical view of the matter at his CBS gig. Look, we understand that Iowa doesn't have a ton of moral high ground when it comes to football players getting in trouble with the law, but c'mon: this is bullshit. Whether or not he should be allowed to remain on the team, letting him go from the slammer to the football field in 48 hours is utter horseshit and Dantonio's mealy-mouthed, half-assed justifications don't make it any easier to swallow.
Record-breakin'. After yet another scintillating performance last week and with the career reception record poised to tumble as soon as he records a catch against Michigan State, Friends of the Pants Andy Hamilton and Marc Morehouse both profiled the elusive, record-breaking Derrell Johnson-Koulianos this week. They're both good reads, and the Hamilton one has this amusing anecdote about DJK's love of push-up:
The Hawkeyes have learned to count on the unexpected from DJK — from his flair for the big play to his habit of randomly dropping down and doing push-ups.
"I’ve been over to his house a few times. All of a sudden you see him drop and start doing push-ups while you’re in the middle of a conversation and he still keeps the conversation going without missing a breath."
Speaking of records, blog buddy Fight for Iowa has a breakdown of some single season and career records that various Iowa offensive players have legitimate shots to reach this year. Before the year started, it seemed wildly improbable that DJK could get the career records hat trick (yards, receptions, touchdowns), but with the touchdown-catching tear that he's been on (eight touchdowns in the last five games), it's become a possibility. He already has the yardage mark, he's one reception away from that record, and he needs just seven more scoring grabs to get that one. Needless to say, if he does that, he'll shatter the single-season record (11 by Mo Brown in 2002) and almost certainly go down with the greatest season an Iowa receiver has ever had.
BASELINE JUMP SHOTZ:
* Don't hold your breath for the announcement of Big Ten division names and don't expect divisions or protected rivals in basketball, either.
* Big Ten Network to more than double Gus Johnson's workload on BTN this year. Our response: NICE. Now if you'll excuse us, we need to go play with the Gus Johnson Soundboard for the rest of the day...
* On a non-sports related note, if'n you like zombie movies, I highly recommend watching The Walking Dead on AMC on Sunday. It's good stuff. (And in other zombie-related news, last night's Community was fucking awesome and if you disagree you are wrong and stupid.)