NICHOLAS BAER'S TRACKS VS. RUTGERS:
13 minutes, 0-3 FG, 2 rebounds (2 offensive), 1 assist, 1 steal
AND THE BAER-OMETER SAYS:
THAT BAER THAT WANDERED INTO A SUPERMARKET IN WISCONSIN AND HUNG OUT IN THE BEER DEPARTMENT FOR A COUPLE HOURS
When a bear wanders into a supermarket, as this young black bear did in Hayward, Wisconsin a few years ago, you have certain expectations: bear supermarket rampage. At the very least, you want to see the bear cut a swath of destruction through the produce section and climb inside the butcher case and eat all the salmon. When the bear instead chooses to wander into the beer section, climb up on a cooler, and just hang out for a while, it's funny, but it's not exactly what you were hoping for.
Which is a long way of saying that Baer's performance against Rutgers, like that of pretty much everyone on Iowa, was a little underwhelming. Baer missed all three of his three-point attempts — and they were very open attempts — and he got beat several times on defense. When he came in for Adam Woodbury at the 13:34 mark, Iowa was up nine, and when he went out five minutes later, the lead had shrunk to three. He did a couple of nice Baer things, like tracking down offensive rebounds and grabbing a steal, but the overall effort was kind of sleepy.
BAER ESSENTIAL PLAY OF THE NIGHT
After getting beat for a layup (possibly as a result of a miscommunication on a switch with Ahmad Wagner), Iowa was only up 17-16 midway through the first half. Baer got the ball at the top of the key, saw Anthony Clemmons cutting to the basket, and put a quick pass on the money, leading to an easy Iowa layup.
THE DOM UNG-UHL-ATE OF THE WEEK
After another tremendous game against Michigan, Uhl was very quiet against Rutgers. He was 1-5 from the field and turned the ball over on two consecutive possessions at one point. He only played 14 minutes — his first time under 15 minutes in a game since November — as Iowa relied to a remarkable degree on their starters in this game against the Rutgers of the Big Ten ... i.e. Rutgers.
The alpaca is a beautiful animal that is highly valued for its wool, but it is also known for bringing up acidic stomach contents and spitting them at its enemies; when Uhl's shot goes in, it's beautiful, but when it misses, as it did most of the time against Rutgers, it looks like the foulest mixture of bile and chewed grass that ever spewed from the mouth of Peruvian Huacaya.
THE MISUNDERSTOOD HERO OF THE WEEK
There is a widespread myth that lemmings thoughtlessly plunge one after another to their deaths, but the truth is more complicated: because of strong biological urges, lemmings are driven to migrate en masse, often across large spans of water. Sometimes the distances are just too far for the little guys, and they can't make it. But their reputation should be one of great heroism, of pushing themselves to their limits and enduring to the last, not of thoughtless self-destruction.
Like the heroic lemming, Anthony Clemmons has endured at Iowa, and in his senior year he seems to have metaphorically made it to the other shore. He got a bad rap his first few years, but right now he's playing some of the best basketball of his life, and certainly had one of his best games against Rutgers: 34 minutes, 8-12 shooting, five assists, no turnovers, 20 points. Whenever he had the ball, he was in control and confident. He ran the team, played defense, got to the rim, and made shots.
THE BAER FACTS
All the experts agree: when you encounter a bear, it's probably just as scared of you as you are of it. If you stay calm, make yourself look as large as possible, and clearly identify yourself as a human, the bear will probably flee. Here is a helpful list of bear encounter guidelines from the National Park Service. One interesting note from these guidelines: while playing dead is an advisable first step if you are attacked by a grizzly or brown bear, you should actually fight back against a black bear.