The Sioux City Journal Remains Absolutely Retarded. And Smug. Not that that's breaking news or anything, but if you thought the paper of repute in western Iowa (again, why can't we sell it to South Dakota or Nebraska?) was going to take the high road after The Dessert Fox's solid efforts of late, well, you've underestimated the level of hubris on display over there. Nothing like being the biggest fish in a puddle, after all.
Without serving up a full-blown commercial on the benefits of DVR, I'll simply go so far as to say I'm glad to have added the "Digital Video Recorder'' function to my cable TV package.
Again, I SWEAR that western Iowa is not a technological backwater, no matter what this columnist (again anonymous, since listing bylines on websites is SO. FUCKING. HARD.) says.
Soon after New Orleans pulled off its dramatic overtime victory, I was able to punch up the Hawkeyes, who still hadn't called upon Bishop Heelan grad Brennan Cougill when I switched to football with the basketball game tied at 16-16.
As I was saying just last week, playing time has become perplexingly scarce in recent games for Cougill, Sioux City prep basketball's all-time leader in scoring and rebounding -- leading both categories by fairly substantial margins.
Yes, if only Cougill had started, Iowa no doubt would have raced out to a 34-2 lead. Damn you and your perplexing ways, Lickliter. It's like you don't even want to win. Don't you realize you have the reigning Mr. Basketball sitting right there?
I didn't have long to wait before Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter grabbed Cougill with just under six minutes left in the half. And, in the 26 minutes that remained, Brennan was on the floor for 13 of them, mainly because he turned in almost as flawless a performance as one might expect from a true freshman whose confidence had to be suffering just a bit.
Tsk-tsk, Anonymous Internet Columnist Man. It's impolite to use information that Mrs. Cougill told you in confidence.
In those 13 minutes, Cougill totaled 10 points, five rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot. And, frankly, if he'd been playing a home game, the stat crew probably would have conceded at least one more assist and possibly one or two more blocks. Happens all the time, believe me.
No matter the numbers, they all added up to a difference-making effort that helped Iowa pick up a 58-43 victory for its first Big Ten road win in nearly two full seasons (since winning at Northwestern in March of 2008).
Hopefully, things are looking up for Cougill.
Despite what you may be thinking after reading this, Iowa's 15-point win over Indiana was not a one-man effort where the indomitable Brennan Cougill strapped the team on his back and carried Iowa to the promised land of a conference road victory. Cougill did indeed play well in the minutes he saw and his no-lift three-pointers were one of the highlights of the game. But there is a reason he does not play more minutes and that reason was on display in this very game -- Cole and Fuller are simply better right now. Cole, despite his proclivity to get in foul trouble, boulder-like hands, and general awkwardness, did put up a double-double against Indiana (11-10, on 5-6 shooting), while Fuller led the team in scoring (13 points) and chipped in four rebounds as well. None of which you would have known from reading this column from Cougill's biggest cheerleader, of course.
Caring remains creepy, but feel free to talk about it. Friend of the blog Marc Morehouse thinks the football recruiting class is going to top off at 20, with an additional five walk-ons and one or two grayshirt offers. If you like lists, he's got you covered, too. And if you want to chat about the life choices and measurements of 18-year olds, Senor Mas Casa will be chatting about such things at 11am CST today or, um, right about now. GO GO GO GO CHAT CHAT CHAT.
He really does understand that he doesn't get a pass for making things harder on himself, right? Whither everyone's
favorite second-favorite drunken gunner, Anthony Tucker? (He's got a ways to go to supplant the immortal Chris Kingsbury for the top spot on that list.) As far as the university goes, he's in the clear. In terms of Taskmaster Lickliter, though... not so much.
"I determine who plays," Lickliter said. "I think as far as university goes, he’d be eligible to play. I’m not comfortable with it."
Tucker started Iowa’s first 11 games and averaged 11.9 points a game. Last year he was academically ineligible to compete in the second semester."Anthony is going to have pull himself out of this basically," Lickliter said. "It’s totally up to him. I’ve got a lot of things going on."
Granted, in Tucker's absence, the offense has seemed considerably better and there's actual ball movement on display at times, which has been a pleasant surprise. Tucker's return could lead to considerably more chucking and ducking from the offense, which would be a serious detriment to the strides that have been made so far. On the other hand, with Tucker out we have Lil John doing his best Tucker impression by chucking up all kinds of ill-advised threes anyway. Might as well get someone in there who stands to actually make a few of those wild shots. And, as Bohnenkamp points out, there's an unpleasant subtext to consider in giving Lil John more minutes while Tucker wastes away on the bench:
Lickliter’s son, John, has also been pressed into significantly more playing time than what he was getting, which puts the coach into a sticky spot if Tucker doesn’t get back on the court. It could lead to criticism that he favors his son over a scholarship player who, when he’s been on the court, has been a strong offensive player.
That's a pretty minor concern, obviously, but the last thing Lickliter needs is to give Iowa fans yet another reason to criticize him. If you just can't get enough basketball chatter, head on over to Steve Batterson's chat at 2pm CST today. OPS and HS may or may not be posing as Ace to ask him questions. And if you don't think Iowa's newfound status as BIG IN KOREA! is going to come up, you're a fool. A foolish fool.
Who knew actual victories could be so painful? The best subplot from Iowa's ongoing Moral Victory Tour (now supplemented with occasional Actual Victories!) is the horrified reaction from the opponents. The headline for Eleven Warriors' recap gives you a flavor (Lighty Rescues Buckeyes in Ugliest. Win. Ever.) but the prose in the article itself really hammers the point home:
In one of the most painful wins I’ve ever witnessed, Ohio State overcame a seven point deficit thanks largely to 18 second half points from David Lighty combined with Iowa realizing they were Iowa in a 65-57 win tonight in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. ...
While it’s easy to say a road win is a road win, this one shouldn’t have been the nailbiter the score fails to indicate as the Buckeyes came out lifeless against an Iowa team content to walk it up.
Of course, it gets even worse when Iow actually wins:
Still, I didn't think IU was bad enough to be dominated by a 7-12 Iowa team that didn't even play that well. I don't mean to poor-mouth the Hawkeyes: they did some things very well. Most conspicuously, the Hawkeyes rebounded 18 of their 31 misses. IU had only 13 defensive rebounds. I can accept that something like this could happen this season against Michigan State or Purdue. I can't accept it against Iowa. Still, Iowa shot only 47 percent from the field and had 21 turnovers to IU's 16.I'm not going to mention any individual performances because nothing from that game deserves any sort of acclaim. Unfortunately, the schedule toughens up quite a bit now, so this may have been IU's last legitimate chance for a win in quite a while.
- Iowa picked up a walk-on commitment from Dubuque Wahler kicker Mike Meyer; BHGP hopes he wins the job to give us an excuse for four years of HALLOWEEN, SNL, and AUSTIN POWERS jokes.
- In under-the-radar OMG AWESOME!!!1! news (if you're an Iowa fan), Tim Brewster is getting a contract extension. God bless you, Joel Maturi.
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