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.
Ed Podolak Update. There isn't a whole lot of new information to report, but in this case no news is (mostly) good news. Podolak suffered serious injuries ("broken legs and broken ribs," according to Gary Dolphin), but is in stable condition. He's requesting privacy, but you can send well wishes via a Facebook page. As we said yesterday, get better, Eddie. Iowa broadcasts wouldn't be the same without you.
I'll show you where to "go to." One of the ongoing subplots to Iowa hoopyball this season has been the question of who Iowa's "go-to scorer" is -- i.e., who gets the ball when Iowa absolutely, positively needs a bucket at the end of a game? The fact that Iowa's played (and lost) so many close games has made this a more pressing issue (and figuring out how to get over that hump is a far better problem to have than figuring out how to avoid ugly blowouts). Early on, it seemed like Matt Gatens was the man; lately it's been Bryce Cartwright, although there's been some suggestion that Melsahn Basabe should get the ball more at the end of games. What sayeth the horse's mouth?
When asked who is McCaffery’s go-to guy, McCaffery said, "I don’t think we have a go-to guy. I think we have go-to guys."
McCaffery said Bryce Cartwright, Matt Gatens and Melsahn Basabe are his "go-to guys" and McCaffery also threw Zach McCabe into the mix.
Okay then. From a pragmatic standpoint, this is probably the right answer -- unless you have a Michael Jordan-type (and, um, we don't), it makes more sense to have multiple options and to simply pick the best one in a given situation. That's less appealing if you like your basketball to conform to traditional narratives where one player is "the guy," but oh well -- traditional narrative's for suckers anyway. Incidentally, in that same piece Fran lavishes praise on the two incoming recruits who have already signed (Aaron White and Josh Oglesby), which is to be expected, but damned if it doesn't get us a little excited, too. After hitting a home run (Basabe) and (at least) a solid double (Cartwright) with the first two of "his guys," Fran certainly gets the benefit of the doubt on the recruiting front.
We're talkin'... spring game economics? Sort of. Wisconsin is joining the growing list of schools that charge admission to their spring game, and according to Barry Alvarez, it's inspired in part by some advice from (who else?) Hayden Fry:
Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told the Wisconsin State Journal that when he served as an Iowa assistant, coach Hayden Fry saw incentive in charging for admission to the spring game.
"I can remember Hayden saying, 'If it's free, people think there's no value in it,'" Alvarez said. "'If you just charge $2, we'll increase the crowd.' Sure enough, that's what happened."
Hayden Fry, football coach and economic whiz.
Of course, as Rittenberg points out later, Iowa no longer charges for its "spring game." Even in the best circumstances, spring games are nothing but glorified scrimmages and under Ferentz, Iowa's spring games have barely even risen to that level for the past several years -- which is probably why they've taken to referring to them as "open practices" rather than "spring games." They tend to spend as much time (or more) stretching or doing drills as they do running actual plays in a scrimmage environment. The scrimmage itself is far more focused on practicing certain situations than mimicking an actual game. Would that still fly if Iowa charged a nominal admission fee? Or would there be an expectation of something more game-like (i.e., quarters, keeping score, etc.)? Personally, I doubt it would have much impact on attendance; the sort of fan who shows up to attend a practice and tailgate before a spring game (like, uh, me when I lived in Iowa City) is probably still going to do so even if you charge $5-10.
Fill the stands! Do it now! It turns out attendance isn't just up at men's hoopyball games this year -- the women are packing in fans, too. In fact, they have a chance to set a new single-season attendance record -- they just need 7464 fans to turn up on Thursday to see them take on Illinois (7-20, 2-12). So how have they been drawing such good crowds? Having a good team that entered the season with a fair amount of hype off a strong finish and an NCAA Tournament win helped a lot, but it turns the sports marketing department has actually (gasp!) done good work this time around:
"Our marketing department has done a much better job this year at really trying to get the word out about our games and doing some more creative promotions," Bluder said.
Iowa is doing a pile of promotions to get fans out to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Free season tickets for the 2011-12 season, $5 tickets via social media and bobbleheads and other prizes given out during the night.
Amazing what happens when you put a little effort into things rather than simply relying on a product to sell itself (something UI sports marketing team has been far too guilty of in the past when it comes to men's basketball and football). In other women's hoops news, ESPN's Bracketology has them projected to be a 6-seed in the Dayton region (where Tenneesee is the projected 1-seed); curiously enough, they also have Iowa State and UNI going to the same region, although none of the Iowa teams would play one another unless they managed to pull off a string of upsets.
FULL COURT LOBZ
* Iowa's final game of the regular season (against Purdue) is finally set on the schedule: 3pm CST, March 5 on ESPN. Another Saturday home game? Another game on ESPN? Truly our cup overfloweth.
* Brian Ferentz has himself a new job: New England Patriots tight ends coach. It's effectively his fourth promotion in four years, so he seems to be doing something right under The Hoody's supervision.
* Doc wants to know who you think Iowa will face in the (hoops) Big Ten Tournament -- go and vote. Please let it not be Michigan for the goddamn fourth straight year.
* Iowa athletes in football, basketball, and wrestling have gotten into all sorts of alcohol-related tomfoolery in recent years, but I don't recall ever reading a story about one of them cracking another guy over the head with a champagne bottle. So bravo for originality, Iowa track and field athlete Graham Valdes. (But, uh, boo for assault.)
* Marcus Dupree, star of "The Best That Never Was," one of the most enthralling documentaries from ESPN's recent 30 for 30 series, has gone from football savant to... pro wrestler? Hey, it worked for Lawrence Taylor (video).