Because Every Week is Rivalry Week. Largely unmentioned during last night's curbstomping at the hands of Bo Ryan's Badgers was the fact that it took 4 months and 30 games before Iowa faced Wisconsin in basketball this season. The Big Ten switched from a 16-game to an 18-game conference slate this year, meaning each team plays two schools only once (instead of the customary 4). It just so happened that not only were the Badgers one of those teams for Iowa this year (the other was Penn State), but that the sole contest between the two was the next-to-last game of the season for both. Our pal Steve Batterson -- who we notice has stopped doing live chats, or at least stopped advertising them, after we engaged in a discussion of how long a leash Anthony Tucker should be given by questioning where on the court it would be tethered -- detailed the issue:
Unlike football where schools are allowed to designate two rivals and guarantee annual games — Iowa protects Minnesota and Wisconsin for example — no such thing exists in basketball.
Two at a time as part of an 18-game schedule, all 10 opponents rotate off of a school’s home-and-home schedule and the teams will meet just twice over a two-year period....
Some Big Ten coaches want the concept of protected rivalries, but others concede that other factors might be more important as the schedule is put together.
Batterson goes on to quote Tom Crean and Todd Lickliter as proponents of protected rivalry games in basketball; as it is, twice every ten years Indiana-Purdue plays out like Iowa-Iowa State, which is fundamentally flawed and must be remedied, because Purdue-Indiana is usually pretty awesome. But it's also a reminder for the anti-expansion folks that these problems clear up with an extra team and an east-west split. Two games against each divisional opponent preserves rivalries (providing the rivalries aren't split in the divisional alignment) without ignoring the other factors considered in scheduling.
You Can't Afford the Truth. Penn State's associate athletic director of finance went on the record with a Pittsburgh newspaper (you're the only Gazette for us, Gazoo!) this week to discuss the potential financial impact on PSU athletics when their grossly underpaid octogenarian head coach finally retires:
Paterno earned more than $1.03 million in 2008 in salary and bonuses, according to records released by the university, but that did not include outside compensation.
"If we go outside to hire a coach, we know what Mack Brown of Texas makes [$5.1 million] and we know what Nick Saban [$4.7 million] of Alabama makes," Kaluza said. "So, is that where we'll need to be? Probably. And that figure doesn't even include the assistant coaches.
"If we stay inside and [defensive coordinator] Tom Bradley is the new coach, then we can probably keep things a little closer to where we are now."
In other words: The football program is a cash cow (the column notes the program turned a $50M profit last season), but don't even think we're shelling out $5 million for a coach (or, apparently, hiring Jay Paterno). For the ramifications on Penn State football, read Mike's post at Black Shoe Diaries. As for Iowa, this should pour an above-ground pool's worth of cold water on the longstanding rumor of Kirk Ferentz's inevitable move to Penn State. Yes, he is from western Pennsylvania, and yes, he's always put special emphasis on games against the Nittany Lions, but he'd almost certainly be taking a pay cut to go to Happy Valley (not to mention PSU's position on private jet time). KF is rightfully one of the highest-paid coaches in the country here and has complete job security for himself and his staff; it will take more than a white helmet and a million dollars to change that.
Where Are They Now? Former Hawkeye basketball headcase Ricky Davis (who once did this, if you recall) was waived by the Clippers last month, leaving his sixth team in 12 pro seasons. Earlier this week, he signed a contract with Turk Telekom Ankara (Not Constantinople) of the Turkish league. Turkey has been home to many former Hawkeyes, including Andre Woolridge and, more recently, Tyler Smith.
Hlas takes the opportunity to catch up with other Iowa basketball players abroad. Pierre Pierce has found his inevitable place in France, where his name isn't a source of shame. It's not included in Hlas' post, but Jacob Jaacks has made a nice career bouncing around Spain, France, and Italy. And Greg Brunner is in Italy, doing Greg Brunner things:
Brunner (SportMagazine photo) had 12 points and 15 rebounds for his Sigma Coatings Montenegro team in Italy on Sunday.
This is a recent post on Brunner’s Facebook page: Greg Brunner Is at the dentist getting his 6th tooth that has either been knocked out or broken in half from an elbow. Great feelings. Add that to around 8 broken noses and 50+ stitches in my face makes me real attractive.
Good to see Brunner has really developed his offensive arsenal beyond his usual "put your head down, run into the defensive player, and travel" years at Iowa. Now, apparently, he also travels with his head up.
- TRE gets in its time machine, going back to the halcyon days of early January to revisit the 2010 Orange Bowl. Remember the Taco Bell diet OMG that was ridiculous LOL! Actually, it's a pretty good post, made even better by a dipshit Ohio State fan hamfistedly shilling for his website and unironically complaining how boring the game was.
- I'll take a lot of shit from some people (OK, that's not really true), but a Wisconsin fan making a wisecrack about Iowa's "annual loss to Northwestern" fresh off a decade where the Badgers went 2-4 against the Mildcats (and 4-6 against Iowa) needs to shut the hell up.
- Smart Football details exactly what's wrong with the NFL, all the while dredging up painful memories of Robert Smith's unexpected decision to retire from the Vikings, fresh off a NFC rushing title, so that he could attend medical school and/or work for ESPN. Nope, not bitter at all about that one.
- Wilco: The Sandwich Shop.