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. If you're a Nigerian prince, please direct all inquiries to HFMR, the official BHGP comptroller.
* Every day is a Pro Day where I come from. Iowa held their annual Pro Day on Monday, giving their draft prospects a chance to strut their stuff in front of a host of NFL scouts. There was much running and jumping and lifting and measuring. For the most part, it sounds like everyone did well and improved their draft stock, although Clayborn and Stanzi evidently did the most to help their cases. Meanwhile, though DJK was barred from participating in Iowa's Pro Day, he held a Pro Day workout of his own for interested scouts at a nearby gym. HawkeyeDrive has the rundown on his performance and how it stacked up with the receivers at the NFL Scouting Combine last month, while Scott Dochterman caught up with him for an interview afterwards.
* March (too much) Madness. FOTP Mike Hlas harps on the same issue I've had for years: the NCAA's scheduling practices when it comes to spring sports (and particularly the championship tournaments) are idiotic.
Everyone else in sports and show business understands you don’t head-to-head with blockbuster events. Other networks don’t waste popular programming against the Super Bowl. You don’t put one of your big shows opposite the Academy Awards. You don’t take a new series you feel good about and air it at the same time as "American Idol."
But the NCAA says this: Let’s jam other championships into the third weekend of March, even though that’s when we have our ultra-beloved, highly watched men’s basketball tournament.
Last weekend was the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament for men's basketball. It's great. Pretty much everyone who has at least a shred of interest in basketball enjoys it -- the upsets, the drama, the buzzer-beaters, the non-stop games. It's a fantastic event, even if the NCAA keeps trying shoe-horn in more teams and dilute it. So why does the NCAA insist on holding championship events for two of its other winter sports (wrestling and women's basketball) at the exact same time? It's asinine. Sure, those events are always going to have more limited audiences because of the niche appeal of their respective sports -- but there's no need to further limit their audiences by scheduling them opposite the 800-lb. gorilla of the spring sports season. Yes, having them all at the same time makes for a wonderfully gluttonous experience as a sports fan -- but moving them to, say, April might give us something to chew on when the sports calendar is a bit more lean.
* One and done. It was (slightly) lost in the shuffle with the NCAA wrestling tournament, a zillion open threads for the men's tournament, MARCHIFORNICATION, the conclusion of Rhabdogate, and the beginning of spring football, but the Iowa women's basketballers were in the women's NCAA Tournament this past weekend. They had a brief stay thanks to a 92-86 loss in the first round to Gonzaga, the 11-seed. Much of the post-game reaction has focused on the fact that it was a home game for a badly underseeded Gonzaga team and that's certainly true. It's also obscured the fact that maybe the biggest problem Iowa faced wasn't the Zags' home court advantage but their own shitty defense. If you give up 55 points in the second half, allow the opposing team to shoot 48% from the field, get killed on the boards (41-32, including a 13-8 edge on the offensive glass), and give up 30+ to not one, but two players... well, it seems kind of obvious what your biggest problem is.
The good news is there's a highly-touted recruiting class coming in and if the lady hoopyballers didn't really progress from a year ago (they went one and done in the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments this year after advancing further in both last year), the "rut" they're stuck in (regular season of 20+ wins and NCAA Tournament appearances) isn't all that bad. It could be much worse -- just look at the men's program over most of the past decade. Still: maybe work on the defense (and inside presence) a little more, yeah?
* Give 'em the heater. Apparently Iowa can't beat the Zags at anything -- in addition to the women's hoops loss on Saturday, the Gonzaga baseballers crushed Iowa 9-1 last Friday (and beat them again, 7-2, on Saturday). On the bright side, the Hawkeyes (7-10) did also beat the shit out of Notre Dame earlier on Friday. So that's nice. As is the fact that pitcher Nick Brown was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week after throwing seven scoreless innings against Notre Dame in that aforementioned beatdown. And after opening the season with their customary weeks-long road trip, the Iowa baseball team is finally kicking off the home portion of their schedule with a pair of games against Western Illinois (3-15) this weekend.
* Can Herky even skate? The Big Ten is planning to make hockey an official conference sport, so whither Iowa? Per Bloodpunch, don't hold your breath on Iowa making the leap up to Division-I status in hockey. The hang-ups are money, money, money, and facilities (which is also really money-related). Unless some well-heeled booster steps up with a gigantic sum of money and a burning desire to radically improve the state of Iowa hockey, nothing's changing. And when I win Mega Millions, I... probably don't spend a good chunk of it on the Iowa hockey program. Sorry. In the meantime, there's a really good discussion about this topic going on in the FanPosts, so feel free to check that out.
* More foreplay? In other news involving sports with sticks, the Iowa golf team concluded a (mostly) successful weekend by winning the consolation bracket championship at the Callway Collegiate Match Play event. They beat Georgia, 3-1-1, in the finals, but the highlight of the tournament was probably their 4-1 win over 2-seed Alabama, ranked #3 in the nation. Nick Saban immediately revoked the scholarships of the losing golfers. The man of the weekend was Vince India, who won three of his four matches (including a 6 & 5 mashing on Sunday) and who continues to have a sweet name.
* When nerdery gets cool. If you're a stat geek and you like football and you're not already reading Football Study Hall, a new SBN blog from the good folks at Football Outsiders... what is wrong with you? Get over there. The last few days they've been looking at PPP (points per play) in order to measure explosiveness (2008 offenses: really good; 2008 Washington State: really, really bad). There's even some Iowa mentions in there: the 2005 Iowa-Minnesota game had one of the ten largest single-game PPP ratings of the last six years (that would be the game where Drew Tate was throwing bombs to Ed Hinkel and Albert Young and Damian Sims were busting off big runs at will) and the 2009 Iowa defense ranks very highly in terms of defensive PPP (which should be no surprise to anyone that watched that bear-trap of a defense).
* Need a Dallas Clark fix? The good news is he's going to be on TV. The bad news is he's going to be on "Criminal Minds."
* Hail to the Chief... to the Death pits George Washington against... Mike Brady? I cannot tell a lie -- Mike Brady is gonna get fucking wrecked.
* And finally, Legos make everything better, even March Madness: