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Hawkeye Basketball at the Barn

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A fun day for father / son taking in a Hawkeye road win!

Old-school arena and a Hawkeye victory!

Although I am a Hawkeye basketball fan going back to the late 1970’s, I’ve not been to many games in person. I never attended a game at the Fieldhouse. I’ve attended two games at Carver, and I’ve been to two games at Williams Arena in the Twin Cities. My last in-person game was Wed, Jan 24, 2001 at the Barn. Reggie Evans led the Hawkeyes to a 87-74 victory over the Gophers. My son Hayden and I were able to attend Sunday’s game against the Gophers. A few musings/observations:

  • We purchased the second-cheapest tickets available and of course we moved to more expensive seats partway through the game. The crowd was not overly big. Maybe part Covid, part NFL playoff games, and part Gophers not being that good. The arena is pretty cool. It’s crappy, but the court is beautiful and the nostalgia is pretty phenomenal.
  • The Hawks do an excellent job of fast breaking. This sounds like it would be easy, but this is something the team works on a great deal. We transition from defense to offense with the best teams in the country.
  • Fran runs excellent, excellent baseline out of bounds plays. (BOB’s)
  • I am a big fan of our 34 court pressure, especially with Tony Perkins, Ahron Ulis, and Kris Murray on the court.
  • There was only one “Who hates Iowa?!” cheer and it was rather lame. The author yelled back, “You must hate Floyd as well.” I’m not above being a jerk, but I didn’t initiate it, so there’s that.
  • As stated I have attended only a handful of in-person Hawk games. I don’t see how/why a coach would need to have more than a 7-8 man rotation with the long TV timeouts. Players sit for a long, long time. I get it if players have different skill sets, but I find it doubtful that players would get very tired with such long breaks.
  • Connor McCaffery did not play. The Hawks were rolling the Gophs until Minny went into a zone. CMac is definitely not a shooter, but the Hawks missed him against this. A zone is easy to break if you have knowledge and the ability to pass move the basketball against it. The Hawks became stagnant against it and Minnesota darn near won the game because of it. To reiterate, Connor is not a shooter, but he’s masterful at getting people in the proper places against the zone. Basically, a zone should be attacked at the high post and the short corner (baseline). Also, players should flash to gaps or drive gaps. The biggest misconception is that you should just shoot over the top of a zone. That’s what the other team wants you to do. The Hawks weren’t doing a very good job of finding Keegan Murray in this. In the future watch how Connor moves the basketball and his teammates against a zone.
  • Speaking of Keegan Murray. Holy crap he is the real deal. He bodies people up in the paint. It’s surprising as he’s not a huge dude but he has great length and he uses his body so well. The three he hit won the game.
  • Filip Rebraca had his best game as a Hawkeye. He had 12 points and 12 boards. That was much needed.
  • For the second consecutive game the Hawks won the rebounding battle (40-31). Rebounding is about positioning, knowledge, and determination. 70% of rebounds go to the weak side / opposite the shooter. Dennis Rodman, and for the Hawks Greg Brunner were unparalleled at this.
  • A Gopher fan was yelling “Daddy’s Boy!” at Patrick McCaffery much of the day. After Pat hit his second three I yelled back, “Daddy’s Boy All Day!” Silly Gopher didn’t say it again.
  • I’m a huge Tony Perkins fan. Perk needs to get his shot more fluid and confident, but he does so many winning things. The same is true for Ahron Ulis. Those dudes compete and make everyone around them better.
  • Jordan Bohannon wasn’t feeling it from outside, but he was 4-4 from the free throw line. Those iced the game.
  • Joe Toussaint had another solid game. He looks like a football player. Plays like one too, which I love.
  • The Gophers were short-handed due to injury and Covid. I’d expect a better game (or at least first half) from them Feb 6th in Iowa City. Seldom-used Treyton Thompson (a 7-footer) played in the second half and recorded 8 points. I would look for the Gophers to try to utilize his size the second time we play.
  • There were a lot of Hawk fans at the game. The Gopher fans were civil for the most part. The Barn was rocking when the Gophs almost tied it up. The Hawks (Keegan) did a nice job of staying composed and hitting that dagger. I think we lose that game if that shot didn’t go in.
  • A shout out to the Hawk fan who wore the Hayden Fry hat and shades.
  • My son and I stuck around after the game as he wanted to see some of the players. He got pictures with most of the players (they were incredibly accommodating) and it was pretty special seeing the guys taking pictures with life-long Hawk fans. My son was most excited about his picture with Fran. I felt like a jerk as I’m not always a fan of how Fran coaches defense... My bad, Fran. A highlight for me was that I spoke with Kenyon Murray for a minute. I told him that his kids are studs, but it was a thrill for me to meet him as I’m a Dr. Tom fan and Chris Street is my forever-favorite-Hawkeye. By the way, Kenyon looks like he could either start or be our 6th man even now.
  • As always, Go Hawks!