What is Dispatches from Blogfrica? Pretty simple: I ask questions of a blogger for an opposing team; he answers. A truly revolutionary idea, no? Next up: Rodger from Sippin' on Purple, SB Nation's outstanding Northwestern blog.
1) I'm not gonna lie: I kind of miss watching John Shurna. His pervasive acne. His "I had that same 'do in third grade" haircut. His "like a bird with a broken wing trying to fly through a concrete rainstorm" shooting stroke. Full disclosure: I also like abstract expressionism, slow down to watch car crashes, and watch terrible reality TV. Who's the most Shurna-like player on the current Northwestern squad?
Definitely rookie Kale Abrahamson. He's not half the player Shurna was. Actually, he's not a quarter of the player Shurna was. He's a freshman, he possibly has yet to shoot a shot from inside the three-point arc this year, and yes, his jumper lasts .35 seconds and resembles a shotputter experimenting with angel dust for the first time. There's no limit on his range, but he still hasn't figured out how to connect consistently.
2) Speaking of... you guys always have someone who just drives me up the goddamn wall when Iowa plays Northwestern. Partly because they're good, and partly because they're just... infuriating. Shurna, Kevin Coble, Luka Mirkovic, Vedran Vukusic... gah. Just typing out their names brings back horrifying memories. Who's "that guy" on this year's team?
Probably Dave Sobolewski. He's of exactly the height and athletic build of the best player on your intramural team, but drills threes and somehow manages to spin finishes in from weird angles when you'd assume somebody would swat him. Oh, and he loves flopping more than I love anything on this planet, on both ends of the floor.
3) What happened to all those Eurotra, er, delightfully cosmopolitan and worldly players like Mirkovic and Vukusic anyway? Did Northwestern slash Carmody's travel budget so he can't go bopping through the Balkans to find new Euro bodies?
PRESENTING THE UNITED COLORS OF BENORTHWESTERN BASKETBALL
IN THE EUROTRASH DEPARTMENT: Freshman Alex Olah, Northwestern's starting center, and TCU transfer Nikola Cerina
IN THE HALF-INDIAN, WE THINK, AND HALF-SOMETHING ELSE DEPARTMENT: Sanjay Lumpkin, a freshman who had mono and now has an undisclosed injury and might be related to a fictional country singer on the Simpsons and/or the midgets that run Willie Wonka's factory
FROM THE CHOSEN PEOPLE: walk-on Aaron Liberman, for whom Under Armour made one road yarmulke and one away yarmulke, which is kind of unnecessary since he hasn't played yet
IN THE REFUGEE DEPARTMENT: 7-foot-2 center Chier Ajou, the South Sudanese freshman who literally escaped from armed guards after being kidnapped, and is 1-for-1 from three on the year
AND A HISPANIC DUDE: deep bench player Omar Jimenez. We also have the typical contingent of regular Northwestern white dudes, so the rainbow is complete.
4) If BHGP and SoP teamed up to finance a frame-job on Tim Doyle that revealed a completely fabricated addiction to aphrodisiacs made out of ground up rhinoceros horns and 5-Hour Energy, would any jury in the Big Ten convict us of a crime? Also, would you be interested, Y/N.
It ain't fabricated, bruh.
5) What is Northwestern's strategic approach to this game going to be? I watched part of their game against Minnesota last weekend; that first half should be taken before the Hague and tried as a war crime. You're not going to do that again, are you?
Look, y'all: this was a team that had a slim chance of making the NCAA tournament. Then Drew Crawford got hurt. Is there any reason Northwestern shouldn't try to play as few possessions as possible? Expect 20 seconds of nothing before NU does anything on offense, and considering Iowa can't really shoot, expect some 1-3-1.
6) OK, prediction time -- who ya got?
I think it's gonna be close. I know better than to say who I think will win.
Thanks for being a good sport, Rodger. You can check out Rodger and the rest of the SoP crew at Sippin' on Purple. You can also follow him on Twitter at @sippinonpurple. The Iowa-Northwestern game is in Evanston on Sunday, January 13 at 4:30pm CT, with television coverage from ESPNU.