Enough of the distractions, folks; we've got basketball to talk about. Purdue came to town last night and stole a 67-62 victory from the boys last night.
We still don't know what the hell is on his arm.
After the monumental shitkicking Ohio State game Iowa just a week ago, most of us Iowa fans (we three court jesters included) were ready to dig in for a long, hard, cold winter. How many wins could we expect? One, two?
Well, once good triumphed over evil last weekend, we were able to raise expectations a bit, and last night's game was more a critical test instead of an impending beatdown. Could Iowa establish a winning streak in the conference? Would there be an emotional letdown? Would Jarryd Cole come back from injury 10 months too early, only to see his lower leg fly off?
As it turns out, the answer to all of those questions was "no." Iowa played less like a whipping post and more like a normal team, but still came up short last night. It was their first loss since UL-Monroe that felt more like "(constant string of expletives)" than "oh well, what can you do, wait till next year).
Sure, Purdue is young, and they probably won't win many road games this season. But they're also awfully talented--see the improbably-named E'Twaun Moore--and the Hawkeyes aren't much more experienced themselves.
Either way, the Hawkeyes had their chances. They even used a 12-0 run to take a 45-40 lead before all hell broke loose; Purdue had tied the game at 45, and a Jake Kelly layup was wiped out by a (ahem) questionable charging call. Lickliter was warned for leaving the coaching box, something all coaches do roughly 75,000 times a game. Keaton Grant hit another 3 for Purdue, then Lickliter was hit with a technical (for which he apologized) after another questionable call near the sidelines. Purdue made the two free throws, then converted a layup on the ensuing possession. Seven points in 40 seconds, and Iowa wouldn't recover.
It didn't help, of course, that the Virus blew 3 of 4 free throws down the stretch; while his 9 first half points were instrumental in keeping the game close, he's still a total liability at the line (54%). Iowa will need more efficiency from him down the road, as he's the third and last big man on the team.
Either way, I suppose it's good to be pissed about this loss (and pissed I am, and pissed you should be). This is the type of improvement we'd decided to expect from this year's team. It won't be in the W-L column as much as we'd like, but we weren't going to the NIT either way. We're seeing improvement, and that's all we asked for.