This Pretty Much Sums Up My Mood This Week. Via Vulture:
The Other Sport. There's one thing clear after Iowa's performance in the Paradise Jam over the weekend: Improvement is going to be in fits and starts. After an expected loss to Xavier in the opening round, Iowa surprised some outside observers by beating Alabama and making yesterday's consolation bracket championship game against Long Beach State, a team coached by former Minnesota head man Dan Monson (ARGGGHHH HATE WEEK). After a solid start that included a 14-0 run and 12-point lead, the Hawkeyes gave it all back and then some, losing 78-72 to take sixth place in the eight-team tournament. The story of Monday's game: Offensive rebounds. LBSU got 21 of them, Iowa just 8. While Long Beach was only able to convert those rebounds into six second-chance points, that's the difference.
As for this team's long-term prospects, Friend of the Pants John Bohnenkamp gives his assessment:
Iowa lacks a consistent on-court presence right now. Eric May has been up-and-down. Matt Gatens is struggling as he recovers from surgery on his non-shooting hand in late October. Cully Payne hasn’t been the scorer McCaffery wanted, and it might be affecting his play. Jarryd Cole hasn’t been productive. Freshman Melsahn Basabe has been frustrated as he learns to play.
Even the reserves have been inconsistent. Andrew Brommer has shown flashes of success when he’s not getting into foul trouble. Zach McCabe has shown confidence in the early days of his freshman season, but still is streaky as a shooter. Devyn Marble looks like he’s getting it, but he is streaky as well. Devon Archie has been productive, but it’s still unclear how much of a factor he can be.
You really can't discount the effect of Gatens's struggles to reacclimate himself to the game after missing a large chunk of the preseason and the team's first two games. By all accounts, Gatens struggled mightily with his jump shot all weekend, and as any longtime Gatens observer knows, as goes Gatens's jumper, so go Gatens's everything else.
Fun With Depth Charts. the two-deeps for Minnesota week were released yesterday with little fanfare. As expected, Marcus Coker is listed as your starter at halfback following Adam Robinson's second concussion of the season. Troy Johnson gets the start at strong-side linebacker. Adam Gettis returns to the depth chart as Vandervelde's backup at left guard. Morehouse takes this opportunity to play a little Assume the Position 2011; I agree with everything he says other than Mossbrucker's chances of reclaiming the kicker position. That ship has sailed.
In other football news, Ricky Stanzi has been named a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award -- interesting, given that he's been completely outperformed by his counterpart in three straight games, and none of those three are included in the list of five finalists, though Dan Persa and Terrelle Pryor aren't eligible -- and Ryan Donahue is a Ray Guy Award finalist.
Miscellaneous, et cetera:
Kirk Ferentz discussed the Iowa-Minnesota rivalry at this morning's Big Ten teleconference and is the first public figure I've seen acknowledge something we noticed two weeks ago: Iowa might be the first team in Big Ten history to play in four senior days in the same season.
Doc Saturday puts the entire season under the microscope of Life on the Margins. It's worth reading, but bring tissues for the open weeping it will produce. And, by the way, we didn't say mGoBrian was an idiot for thinking Iowa could go fifth in the conference. We said he was an idiot for buying into the ongoing meme that Iowa was lucky because Tyler Sash caught a pinball interception, especially when his own commenters said Iowa wasn't nearly as lucky as that anecdotal evidence suggested. On the same token, we haven't run the numbers, but we doubt sincerely this season can be chalked up to "bad luck" nearly as much as it can be attributed to piss-poor fourth quarter defense and hyperconservative playcalling and execution on offense. Anyone who says this season was just bad luck is just as idiotic.
Adrian Clayborn is still attractive to NFL scouts, according to Matt Millen, which is the equivalent of being called a darned good British Prime Minister by Neville Chamberlain.
Off Tackle Empire's Ted Glover, an Ohio State fan who committed one of the great acts of hypocrisy last week by calling Iowa fans arrogant, came to Iowa City and lived to tell the tale.