Guilty Feet Got No Rhythm. On a day where Iowa is once left at home for the postseason, a reminder of a man who will never dance again. We'll hope we don't have the same fate as George Michael or his Big Ten equivalent, Northwestern.
Your Selection Sunday Postgame Wrap-Up. Seven Big Ten teams made the field of 68, as expected, but the bigger questions were with the NIT. Obviously, the Hawkeyes didn't make it, but Iowa's not the only team left without a dance partner. Minnesota, thought by some to be a shoo-in for the NIT despite losing nine of its final ten games (and despite the well-reasoned cautionary tweets of some), was left out of the postseason altogether. According to Teddy Greenstein, both Minnesota and Iowa, turned down CBI/CIT invites; a Big Ten team has never accepted an invite to a sub-NIT tournament, and it's doubtful either of those programs wanted to be the first. Northwestern, who entered Big Ten play a legitimate NCAA hopeful, grabbed a #4 seed in the NIT.
Twenty Minutes with Ferentz > Seven Minutes in Heaven. Our friends over at Kegs n' Eggs, as part of their other gig on Kansas City sport talk radio, landed twenty minutes with Kirk Ferentz. He answered questions on oversigning ("I don't really understand it"), Jake Rudock's recruitment ("I don't know if the Orange Bowl victory helped, but it certainly didn't hurt"), Ricky Stanzi's pro prospects ("I think he's just got a tremendous attitude, work ethic, that it's realistic to think he can last in the league for a long time"), and why he never went to the pros ("I think you probably see a bit more growth and development in the players, probably have a better chance to impact their lives a little deeper"), among other topics. There's even a barely-audible Ferentz snort in minute fourteen.
We spend an inordinate amount of time on Iowa football kremlinology and Ferentz's unique brand of coachspeak, but this in particular is odd. Not only is it rare for Ferentz to do an extended radio interview (he's famously resistant to sports talk radio in general and one show in particular), but it's almost unheard of for him to address this many topics from one questioner. He's surprisingly forthcoming, following the pattern from his last press conference, and appears to be in full-on PR mode in the wake of Rhibdogate. Sure, he still plays the old "aw shucks, I'm just Kirk Ferentz" card a bit too much (c'mon, Kirk: You don't understand oversigning?) but it's a far cry from the stonewall performances of this season. A very interesting listen, and well worth the time.
Caring Is Creepy. It's not often that we get into 2012 recruiting this early. It's even rarer that the 2012 class we're talking is the basketball team. Yet it looks like Fran McCaffery has landed his first player of his next class, as an announcement is expected today from Kyle Meyer, a 6'10" center from Alpharetta, GA. As in Georgia. As in Iowa is recruiting basketball players from everywhere. Francis' connections in New York and Dillard's AAU/Nike ties are starting to pay dividends already.
Meyer (3* Rivals, 3* Scout) listed his other two finalists as Clemson and East Carolina, with additional offers from smaller Georgia schools. He weighs just 215 pounds, but gets praise for his ability to run the floor and knock down the mid-range jump shot. Given how Melsahn Basabe has played, I will not question either McCaffery's ability to find big men or his ability to develop them.
THREE POINT SHOTZ
Iowa radio broadcaster Ed Podolak, still recovering from two broken legs, multiple broken ribs, and a bruised lung after being struck by a car while crossing a street three weeks ago, tells Randy Peterson he will return to the broadcast booth this season. In classic Podolak style, he says, "The first day was tough, but today I don't feel any worse than I felt after we played the Oakland Raiders."
Jewel Hampton, dismissed from the team in December, has landed at Southern Illinois. As a transfer from FBS to FCS, he will be available to play this season.
Fran McCaffery tells Rick Brown he expects further improvement next season, especially on offense: "I think we'll have fewer dry spells than we've had this season. At times we overcame it, at times it was more difficult to overcome. But I think that's a function of a couple of things: experience, depth, and then also the pieces you need in terms of shooting." As John Bohnenkamp points out, Iowa's potential improvement will come against a Big Ten devoid of many of its best players from 2010-11.
A Corn Nation writer (Big Ten blog since three months from now!) examines where the best college football players come from, looking at state-by-state numbers of NFL players versus population. The state of Iowa stacks up favorably, with a total number of NFL players 20% higher than their population would suggest. Oddly enough, few of those are former Hawkeyes; none of the two quarterbacks (Kyle Orton and Sage Rosenfels) or the single wideout (Adrian Arrington) attended Iowa, and only five of the offensive players were Hawkeyes.
Ken Pomeroy, writing for Basketball Prospectus, releases his annual log5 analysis of the tournament field. Ohio State comes in first, with a one-in-five chance of winning it all. OMHR Purdue is sixth, with a one-in-twenty chance.
And we haven't really commented on the situation in Japan -- there's not much for us to say that hasn't already been said -- but for those who were wondering, former Iowa basketball players Justin Johnson and Cyrus Tate, both playing professionally in Japan, were unharmed.