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68-40: Iowa Crushes Louisiana-Monroe, Who Totally Deserves It

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EVERY FRANTASTIC VOYAGE BEGINS WITH A SINGLE STEP: Fran McCaffrey's Hawkeyes rebounded from an embarrassing loss to South Dakota State last night with a frankly impressive 68-40 win over the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks on Tuesday. The victory is McCaffrey's first as the Iowa Hawkeyes' head coach, and we really, really hope it's not his last; that would probably mean that Skynet's coup is but days away, and we're really not ready for that.

SO JORDAN STOERMER IS GOOD THEN WHO IS HE I MEAN OKAY: The man of the match, according to Mac and Dolph, was Jordan Stoermer. The juco transfer GUESS IF HE'S A WALKON HAHA YOU DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW only scored seven points, but they all came on well-timed jumpers while Iowa was struggling and the Hawkeyes eventually pulled away, so there you go.

In fact, the thing of Stoermer's contributions was the fact that he's a walk-on OH YOU GUESSED SCHOLLIE YEP SO DID I, and yet, he's already a more well-rounded player than Devan Bawinkel was--and is comparable at Bawinkel's only quality, which was long-range shooting. That may not sound like a huge deal, but may we remind you that Ol' One-Note was not only a scholarship player over the last two seasons, but actually named a team captain over Matt Gatens last year. There are baby steps, and there are elephant steps. This is an elephant step.

DO NOT READ MUCH INTO ZACH MCCABE: Iowa's leading scorer was Zach McCabe was 12 points, and while that sounds pretty Lickliterish, the fact that the rest of the team contributed 56 points makes McCabe's contributions not all that important. Still, for all the talent he's got, McCabe is the type of player that whenever he's taking the most shots on a major-conference level, the team is in major trouble. That's not a condemnation of his college future, but he's a true freshman who'll be over his head in the Big Ten. Most true freshmen are.

The good news is, however, that McCabe's role is the most easily replaced by Matt Gatens when Gatens returns in a week or two from his hand tendon problem. Gatens is arguably the best player on the team for two years running, and this is clearly a squad that needs some real experience and leadership over yet another freshman in a starring role that he's not really ready for. Gatens may yet need another week or two--although he'd never admit it--but as soon as he can get on the court, the Iowa basketball team gets measurably better.

MELSAHN BASABE YOU GUYS: Look, true freshman and Siena-quasi-transfer Melsahn Basabe is not perfect, and he might get redshirted by half the teams in the Big Ten. But he's clearly gifted in the paint, and he clearly had a more transformative effect on the game than Jordan Stoermer's jump shots did. Basabe is active, aggressive, and much more of a positive impact on Iowa's possessions and keeping them alive on missed shots than anybody in the gold and black since Reggie Evans. The fact that he's a true freshman underscores the fact that Basabe has a long way to go on offense, but has a remarkable talent base to build off of. The only thing keeping Basabe from being a four-year starter at Iowa is... well, we'd have to guess about that, and there's no such thing as a positive guess under those guidelines.

BUT YEAH AWESOME: That all said, Iowa at least demonstrated that it could put a hurting on a Sun Belt contender, and while the Sun Belt doesn't have a ton of NCAAB clout, the fact remains: Iowa actively maintained that gap between Big Ten and Sun Belt in terms of credibility and legitimacy. That hasn't happened all the time over the last few years. We'll see how the Hawkeyes go from this, but this is a hell of a small start so far.