I Get No Respect At All. Iowa basketball has won two Big Ten games in a row, with a twenty-point blowout of Michigan State and a one-point nailbiter at Indiana over the weekend. The two victories were Iowa's first back-to-back conference wins since the same week in 2007 (yes, that's right: Todd Lickliter never won consecutive conference games) and could be the first real results for a team that is very young and gradually improving. After all, three months ago, this team was losing to South Dakota State and Wake Forest. It's now climbing out of the cellar of a conference in which nobody sucks.
"That was the worst performance of a team that I've coached since I've been at Michigan State," Izzo told reporters after the game. "As you can imagine, we are reeling."
Tom Crean, coach of a team that has lost to Iowa twice, and did so Saturday despite having a rabid home crowd and prancing around like peacocks for 35 minutes before collapsing, what do you have to say about Fran McCaffery?
"I always read about Iowa but I never see Todd Lickliter's name anywhere," Crean said. "Fran's (McCaffery) an excellent coach - they've taken on his personality. Todd Lickliter brought players there. He really did."
As Dochterman points out, no he didn't: Of Iowa's five starters, two (Gatens and Cole) were recruited by Steve Alford, two (Basabe and Cartwright) were recruited by McCaffery, and the rest of the bench is Lickliter's guys. Still, the greater point remains: I'm sure these quotes are truncated, and that these two guys probably gave credit to this team and the coach who might be getting the most he possibly can out of them, and at least Izzo wasn't entirely wrong. Nevertheless, a little credit where credit is due would go a long way for a program trying to get up off the mat.
Caring is Hoopy. Freshman forward Melsahn Basabe is averaging 13 points and 8 rebounds per game in Big Ten play, including five conference games with 20 or more points. With numbers like those, it's a little scary to imagine what would have happened had McCaffery stayed at Siena and Basabe was turned loose on the Mid-Atlantic Conference.
I only bring this up because McCaffery was in the running with another under-the-radar recruit while at Siena: BYU guard and internet phenom Jimmer Fredette:
McCaffery, now at Iowa, thought he had a great shot at getting Fredette. But Fredette's Mormon faith was one challenge McCaffery couldn't overcome....
"We figured, we're closer, we'll try to outwork him (BYU coach Dave Rose)," McCaffery said. "So we were at every game he played. And to Dave's credit he was there."
Fredette was lightly recruited nationally, and BYU and Siena were his only significant suitors.
"A lot of people liked him, but nobody really got involved for whatever reason," McCaffery said. "He's going to be a pro, no question about it."
It's not impossible to rebuild a program with top-notch talent, but you need to have the pedigree, experience, and, um, "resources" of John Calipari or Roy Williams to make it happen. The more likely route for Iowa is through guys like Basabe and Fridette, under-the-radar talents ignored by power programs. Our new guy has a track record of finding those guys, which is obviously a good sign.
Ladies... HawkPocket is right: The women don't get enough publicity. So here we go...
The Hawkeye women's basketball team lost 82-75 to Penn State this weekend, dropping the Hawks to 5-6 in the conference and likely out of the top 25. Nittany Lion guard Alex Bentley scored 25 to key the PSU victory. The loss effectively kills what small chance the Hawkeyes had of winning the Big Ten regular season championship. This is no big knock on the team; it's an insanely stacked Big Ten. The newly-released AP poll dropped 17-7 Iowa to the highest-ranked among the unranked, effectively #26 and still clearly in the field for the NCAA tournament in March.
According to Adam Rittenberg at ESPN, Iowa's spring practice has been scheduled to start March 21, with the spring game set for April 16. As always with Iowa, the mere existence of a spring game is up in the air.
Mas Casa relives the Iowa career of Super Bowl champion offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga. Morehouse laments his lack of Bulaga-related content, but it's not exactly surprising. After all, Bulaga only played two seasons in which he was allowed to talk to the press. In fact, the only time I remember hearing him talk was after he was drafted.
A University Hospitals employee fired for allegedly accessing the electronic medical records of the thirteen Iowa football players hospitalized in late January is denying she accessed the records improperly and challenging her termination.
Did you know Iowa is ranked 11th in the nation in men's golf? Did you know Vince India is the 8th-ranked individual player? Did you know the Big Four Iowa schools' golf programs go to Arizona every February to play? Did you know we lost to Iowa State? Yeah, we didn't either.
There might not yet be any word on when it's returning, but this Mad Men ad campaign is excellent, as an ad campaign for a show about ad guys should be.