NICHOLAS BAER'S TRACKS VS. MICHIGAN STATE:
17 minutes, 1-3 FG, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 3 points
AND THE BAER-OMETER SAYS:
LITTLE JOHN FROM THE 1973 DISNEY ANIMATED ROBIN HOOD MOVIE
Just like Little John (as voiced by Phil Harris in the film), Baer wasn't the focus of this game, but instead served as a genial supporting character as his buddy looked cool and zinged shots from distance. Baer did have one nice jumper, plus a couple of assists and a steal, and seems to have locked down a 15 minute/game supporting role on the team, but this wasn't his night to star. Also, like Little John, Baer also had his moments where his sheer physical brawn got the better of his fundamentally sweet nature, which is a long way of saying that Baer racked up 3 fouls in his short time on the court. Fran seems to have given Baer the green light to harass ball-handlers and go for steals while he's on the court, and that may explain his high foul count here.
In general, it was a game where Iowa fans could happily sing along with Roger Miller's opening song to the Robin Hood movie:
"Peter Jok and Little Baer walking through East Lansing
Laughing back and forth as they made another trey.
Discombobulating Sparty and making Izzo claw his eyes out.
Oo-de-lally, oo-de-lally, golly, what a day"
BAER ESSENTIAL PLAY OF THE NIGHT
There weren't many dramatic Baer attacks in this game, but one small play in the first half stood out: Ahmad Wagner had just stolen the ball and was trying to throw it ahead for a fast break when Denzel Valentine got his hand in the passing lane and stole the ball back. Valentine looked like he had a clear lane to the basket for a dunk, but Baer poked his hand in and deflected the ball off of Valentine. Dunk averted, possession: Iowa.
BAER-LY PASSABLE BROADCASTING OF THE NIGHT
The one fly in the ointment of a glorious night was the broadcast by ESPN. The camera looked like it was mounted in the parking lot, Jim Calhoun sounded like a poorly mic'ed, low-talking Elmer Fudd, and several live plays were missed while replays were shown.
RESPONSE TO PREVIOUS BAER-OMETER QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS
A number of questions were raised about the Baer-ometer in comments after last game's entry, and I would like to answer them here.
#1: "You forgot [insert name of bear here] on the Baer-ometer/you ordered the bears incorrectly. I hope someone got fired for that blunder."
ANSWER: First, as this game's entry shows, the Baer-ometer has gradations of bears that go beyond the ones pictured on the face of the device, so it's possible that any number of bears not seen on the device could show up. And second, the Baer-ometer was not designed by me or anyone else at BHGP. It was purchased at a shop in Chinatown and its origins are unknown.
#2: "Why isn't there a Dom Uhl animal pun? I hope someone got fired for that blunder."
ANSWER: The excessive German-ness of Uhl's name took us a while, but after a week's worth of research, we believe we have arrived at the best Dom Uhl animal-related pun. So, without further ado, we introduce:
THE DOM UNG-UHL-ATE OF THE WEEK:
The similarities between these two are obvious: they're both European, both have cool names, and both emit piercing whistles when predators are near. Uhl had another fantastic game against Michigan State, nailing two threes and grabbing five rebounds (including 3 offensive) in just 17 minutes of play. His seven straight points early in the first half (punctuated by a stone-cold contested three) first put some distance between Iowa and MSU. When Iowa has a front court of Uhl, Uthoff and Baer in the game, it's a weird, rangy, good-shooting team, and it seems to be killing teams.
Note, the Ung-Uhl-ate of the week should not be confused with this animal:
And lastly ...
THE BAER FACTS
As you may have guessed, today's entry is in honor of Brian Bedford, the voice of Disney's Robin Hood, who died yesterday at the age of 80. Bedford had an impressive resume as a classically trained thespian in addition to his work as the voice of a cartoon fox. One interesting fact about the Disney Robin Hood: when Lady Kluck fights off Prince John's soldiers in the style of a football player, the soundtrack plays an arrangement of "Fight On" and "On, Wisconsin", the fight songs of USC and the University of Wisconsin.