Let no readers of this site say we do not respond to your requests: you asked for a post that compares Iowa's surprising walk-on to bears in the framework of a meteorological instrument, and we have provided. We all know how a Baer-ometer works, right? So without further ado let's get to Nicholas's performance last night against Nebraska.
NICHOLAS BAER'S TRACKS VS. NEBRASKA:
16 min., 0-0 FG, 2-4 FT, 3 Rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 points
AND THE BAER-OMETER SAYS:
This wasn't the most ferocious we have seen Baer in an Iowa uniform — that would be his Kodiak performance against Drake — but he still did some useful things out there. It was no surprise that with Iowa down 8-0 early, Fran McCaffery went to Baer and Dom Uhl to provide a spark of energy. Within five minutes, the Hawks had drawn back to even with Cornhuskers, and they never looked back from there.
Baer didn't get any good looks from three, as opposing teams may be catching on to the fact that the skinny kid can shoot, but he did add some nice variety to his game by driving to the hoop and drawing fouls. Throw in a steal, three rebounds, an assist and his customary block, and it was a well-rounded if low-key 16 minutes from Baer. He chewed a bit more pine than he had in the non-conference, as Coach McCaffery seems to be tightening up his rotation slightly in Big Ten play, but still found himself on the court in the important minutes when Iowa found its lead in jeopardy.
BAER ESSENTIAL PLAY OF THE NIGHT
Baer's best plays are often small, clever gambits whose true value doesn't show up on the score sheet. Against Purdue, for instance, a crucial play in Iowa's comeback was Baer having the presence of mind to sprint to the sideline to grab a defensive rebound that everyone else seemed to think was going out of bounds. Baer tip-toed the line and saved the ball, and you could hear the Purdue crowd groan as their team lost a badly-needed possession.
Against Nebraska, Baer made a similar contribution. With 10 minutes to go, the Cornhuskers found themselves only down 8 after scoring 9 points in just under a minute. When Peter Jok missed a jumper that caromed into the corner, it looked like Nebraska might score again and make a serious game of it, but Baer read the ball and sprinted to get his paws on the crucial offensive board. The ball quickly found its way to Dom Uhl*, who nailed a three and pushed the lead back to double digits. Nebraska never got closer than 11 points for the rest of the game.
* Uhl had a great game with two threes and eight rebounds and would be worthy of comparison to a large ferocious animal if only there was a pun to be made involving his name and said animal.
THE BAER FACTS
The Giant Panda's paw has five fingers plus an additional "thumb" for grasping bamboo. The thumb is actually a modified sesamoid bone. Although there has been much dispute about whether the panda should belong to the raccoon or bear family, molecular studies show that it is a true bear. Although the panda is known to be docile, it has been known to attack humans out of irritation.