There will be Bluder
What will you be doing in 2018? Fleeing alien slavers on some sort of hover bike? Enduring the second year of the Trump/Situation presidency? Enjoying the abundant post-Rapture parking/in Heaven? At least Lisa Bluder knows her plans: coaching Iowa basketball. The veteran coach just signed a seven-year extension, according to Gary Barta. And it's hard to argue with Bluder's success: eight NCAA tournaments in the last eleven seasons, a Big Ten regular season championship in 2008, a talented team that was one Vandersloot away from making a deep run in the tourney this year, and the eleventh-ranked recruiting class in the country. If Fran McCaffery enjoyed that kind of success, grateful Iowa fans might spontaneously erect a triumphal arch in his honor. Details of the contract were released Monday: Bluder will make a base salary of $443,000 with base increases of $16,000-$18,000 a year, plus various incentives.
Ricky Stanzi's Captain America replacement might be here
Speaking of basketball and Iowa and outstanding achievement in the field of excellence, rising sophomore forward Melsahn Basabe has earned an invitation to try out for the USA Basketball under-19 national team. Considering some of the other names on the invite list -- Jeremy Lamb, Tim Hardaway Jr., Keith Appling -- it's a nice honor for Basabe and an opportunity to hone his game against top-flight competition. Also on the list is Ames product, Creighton player and coach-spawn Doug McDermott. If Mel makes the team, he would compete at the U19 World Championships in Latvia this summer (June 30-July 10). As it is, he has earned a trip to the slightly less exotic locale of Colorado Springs for training camp with George Mason coach Paul Hewitt.
Furious, curious George(s)
Less good news for Iowa basketball was the fact that Iowa State snared a recruit away from us, and he sounds kind of good: Georges Niang, a 6'7", 230 lb. forward out of Tilton (N.H.) Prep. Niang was reported sought after by Iowa, Seton Hall, Providence, Miami (FL), Alabama, Siena, and Northeastern. One potential flaw with Niang: he might be delusional. On the subject of Fred Hoiberg, he said: ""He’s the whole package, and I really believe that very quickly, Iowa State is going to be a national power." Hmm... I don't want to say you're crazy, Georges, but ... I don't know how to finish that sentence.
Golds Pantz Newz
This really has nothing to do with Iowa, but we perk up any time the words "gold pants" are used in sentence: Ohio State's Gold Pants Club has not distributed their annual token of auriferous habiliment, due to concern that the Buckeyes' season and victory over Michigan (for which the pants are normally awarded) will have to be vacated. Said club president Jim Lachey: "If they vacate the win, it makes no sense to award the gold pants, at least in our minds... And if you hand them out and say, 'Oh yeah, we'll need to get them back if the win is vacated' - I'm pretty sure that wouldn't be a smart way to go." Here's a picture of what all the fuss is about:
Black Heart Gold Pants, on the other hand, is still on schedule to hand out our annual award, the Gold Pantz (specifically a pair of gold extra-long Zubaz that we found at a Coralville Goodwill and believe logically must have been worn by Acie Earl at some point in the early '90s), for excellence in the field of photoshop-based demi-libel:
- Big Ten officials will meet this week to discuss, among other things, whether the league should move to a nine-game football schedule sometime in the future. As Dochterman explains, this could mean each school adding a second "rivalry" game. It's hard to imagine any other school matching the competitiveness, history, and genuine existence of a rivalry that marks the Iowa-Purdue series, but it would be nice to play Wisconsin every year.
Drake's football team will play a game in Tanzania May 21st, a game which will have the historical virtue of being the first college football game played on the African continent. The game will match the Bulldogs against a team of Mexican all-stars and will be played in a converted soccer stadium near Mount Kilimanjaro. Drake's players will also spend time building an orphanage, coaching youth clinics, and hiking the famous mountain. Sounds like a cool trip, and, with the addition of a doomed love sub-plot, the plot of a Hemingway short story.
- An interesting report on the big-money finances of bowl games, based on expense reports from 56 of the 70 teams that played in bowls last year. Iowa comes in for some criticism: "Iowa reported data one way to the NCAA and told the public another story. Its report to the NCAA listed $442,525 in costs for absorbed tickets, including $361,171 that was picked up by the Big Ten. But when the school released a final report on May 5, it failed to include the $361,171. So the school, which fell 6,745 short of selling its allotment of tickets to the Insight Bowl, magically reported a surplus of $382,500. The creative accounting seemingly made Iowa the most profitable team of the postseason, besting Ohio State’s $288,876 return on the Sugar Bowl."
- The University of Iowa recently underwent an audit by the Department of Homeland Security to improve security at Kinnick Stadium. It's unclear what specific reforms will be undertaken as a result of the audit, but Chuck Green, director of the UI Department of Public Safety, did have this to say: "We’re looking at a total review of the type of cameras, where they’re located, and how that can be improved." I assume he's talking about something like this:
- Apropos of nothing, but Taj Gibson, people. Taj Gibson!