The Hyball is a weekly Iowa men's basketball column
What is the acceptable ending?
This is the best... or one of the best... or probably the best Iowa men's basketball team in 15+ years. So what do they need to do? For you.
I asked my way-smarter-than-me-about-anything-Iowa-athletics friend Brendan Stiles to weigh in:
Top 4 in the B1G, make it to Saturday at the B1G Tournament, make the Sweet 16. I won't complain about how the season ends if Iowa does these 3 things.
Would agree with all of that except... I got to see us hit the Elite 8. If you're a high seed in the tournament, the second round should be preordained, no?
Well, it should be. And from there, it is really 'only' one win to hit that Sweet 16. So what's one win more? I mean, hell -- some of us had to have bigger expectations when Iowa was preseason Top 5, right?
More B-Stiles perspective:
Iowa hasn't won the B1G regular season since 1979 [ed- FOR REAL?], hasn't been to a Final Four since 1980, hasn't been to an Elite 8 since 1987 [ed- GODDDDD], hasn't been to a Sweet 16 since 1999 [ed- /embarrassed], and hasn't played on the Saturday of the B1G Tournament since 2006 when it won it and then... well, yeah. We both know what happened after that.
He went on to call this Fran's best team ever and gave even bigger picture perspective about how fortunate we are to even have some semblance of any of this during a pandemic. And yes -- all of that is true. But... we're sports fans. We're selfish and we always want more.
So, I ask y'all, following a 1-1 week where, hopefully, our emotions are not overly swinging wildly in one way or the other: what is your realistic ceiling for this? What would have to happen to make you (kinda) happy?
"You clean your room and suddenly anything is possible."
1/29 - No. 18 Illinois 80, No. 7 Iowa 75: Can a painful loss actually be my favorite game of the year? For context: there was no bigger hater of 2004-05 Illinois basketball than yours truly. When UNC popped them in the title, I legit celebrated like my own team won.
We've come along way since then. Ayo... so sick; so slippery. Kofi... cool as shit. And god damn, Ricky was right about Curbelo (...even if he maybe traveled [Ed. Note: he definitely fucking traveled. -- Ross); a genius passer. What a noble squad. If they outlast Iowa or Michigan in March, I'm hopping way the fuck on.
/side glances the elephant in the room
Illinois wasnt whistled for a foul in the final 10:02 of that game. I find it hard to believe that a college basketball team goes 10 minutes without fouling once.— Aaron Blau (@AaronBlau) January 30, 2021
I'm not a big "complain about the refs guy", but that tweet above is a binary fact. Ten full minutes of tightly contested basketball without that whistle blowing once. That is something that happened. Rough go on the road -- but it actually took my negativity...
Believing this Iowa team has a real ceiling is getting tougher and tougher since they clearly struggle at checking the big game boxes.— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) January 30, 2021
...and made it considerably more glass half full.
2/2 - No. 8 Iowa 84, Very Much Not Ranked Michigan State 78: This game started as the comedown from Illinois, yet turned flat out dire once the Hawkeyes went down early. As it tightened up again at the end, I seriously wanted the win more than the previous game (which feels false but was nothing but true). Iowa-Illinois was a 50-50 battle; either winner was deserving. But losing to this Sparty team? Naw.
Joe Toussaint said a Spartan was telling defenders to "back up" on him. So, Joe T hit 'em with this stepback and let them know about.— Jarek Andrzejewski (@Local4Jarek) February 3, 2021
Bronx Bred. pic.twitter.com/QPQD9ysL1n
I'm relatively in favor of sportsmanship, but sometimes, you really need to say "Fuck you" and grab victory.
Take this with you too, Sparty.
But keep this.
Lmao I was not aware of Steven Izzos high school stats until today. Extremely funny for him to be on Michigan States roster pic.twitter.com/KHiXkVozkl— Dan (@ThiccStauskas) February 1, 2021
Before you throw out Little Lick, please know that he had double digits in the state title game, aight?
2/4 - Ohio State (7) at Iowa (8): Longtime readers of my bullshit know how truly much it means to me when the rankings touch.
/smiles wide and stares straight up
Right. tOSU. Listen, I really have no quarrels with Ohio State hoops. That Oden-Conley outfit was one of my fav college basketball teams ever. I'm a Mark Titus guy, through and through. We'll just have to see how this goes.
2/7 - Iowa (8) at Indiana: We need pure, visceral revenge here. I'm talking, like, Don't Go 1/4th Of The Game Without Scoring-type revenge.
2/10 - Rutgers at Iowa (8): Rutgers, I do not have the energy to preview you. But, in honor of Candace Parker signing with the Chicago Sky, my favorite Candace quote ever: "I would walk past Michael Jordan to get Ron Harper's autograph."
Somewhere, in a different timezone, my wife is beaming.
One other note on Candace -- her Portillo's order:
- Fish sandwich with cheese
- Jumbo chili cheese dog, no onions
- Large fries
- Chocolate cake shake
Midway Minute offered me space to partake and write about the experience. I do believe I'll be accepting.
Caitlin Corner Monika Mountain
Sadly did not hear back from Ms. Clark on the wingspan inquiry, so we're suspending this section for a week to give Monika Czinano some shine.
Yes, it was in a loss, but she shot 17 for 19 -- god damn.
But wait, what's that?
/cups hand to ear
Is that... is that Caitlin Clark's music?!?!
/more glass shatters
Oh what the fu--
"Is Brad Davison A Senior"
Wait, Brad Davison played high school QB?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!!?
Article, tell me something that upsets me:
A strong Crimson running game meant Davison primarily threw the ball on play-action for two seasons.
lol, fucking of course
His stats -- in the air and on the ground -- were actually kind of impressive, but you don't want to know about that.
The Ballad Of Ricky-Bobby
Each week, we check in with professional basketball writer Ricky O'Donnell for a quick exchange
Asked Ricky for his thoughts on Ohio State...
Haven’t seen them a ton, but they are interesting. No. 5 in offense per KenPom, which shocked me. They get nearly a quarter of their points off free throws, so avoiding fouling and keeping Garza out of foul trouble will be key for Iowa. I thought they would miss Carton more, but Walker has filled in as a transfer from FSU. They also have Justice Sueing from Cal and Seth Towns from Harvard, so much of the team building was done with transfers. I’ve always liked Liddell since his HS days in Illinois, and he wrecked the Illini a couple weeks ago. Washington is a good college guard. He’s at 90% FT, and Walker is at 98% FT, so, again, key is to avoid fouls. They are hitting 40% of their threes as a team but don’t take a ton.
Obligatory Michigan Section
Michigan hoops is still on COVID pause, so let's take a few seconds to laugh at horrible Jim Harbaugh for hiring former Michigan RB Mike Hart, who once called him "not a Michigan man" in 2007. Though I would take those words as a compliment, it also works great as a scorching burn for those (read: The Worst) who think they are.
I quit gaming a few years ago because this game stopped. Though NBA 2K20 and the pandy brought me back, this is the medicine ball sized cherry on top of that sundae.
Let us meme.
You just kept a coach on staff who called your RB the N word, congratulations. Youve unlocked the Dabo Sweeney Achievement. https://t.co/h77nCAAI5z— Black History Month Ben (@Ben_Doin_That) February 2, 2021
Eat shit, Dabo.
Me to my Xbox 360 with NCAA 14: pic.twitter.com/VyhTaJTvN3— Steven Walker (@swalker_7) February 2, 2021
Raise your hand if you were more likely to be on the defensive side of this play.
NCAA 21:— Dan (@ThiccStauskas) February 2, 2021
Ronald Davis (4* WR Recruit) tweeted Lot to think about after your loss to Indiana on Saturday.
Press A: Call him to reassure him of your vision (- 1 hr recruiting + 100 to 300 commitment points)
Press B: Do nothing (- 0 to 500 commitment points)
Michigan football is very ready for their digital return.
Sacrificing Kick Me to highlight this sublime De'Aaron Fox take.
So perfect and great. When he fucks up Lonzo at the end, I just disappear.
* * *
Actually, no, we can't abandon this section.
Disability design for the win!— Jaipreet Virdi (@jaivirdi) February 1, 2021
In 2012, Matthew Walzer, a teen with cerebral palsy, wrote to Nike asking for athletic shoes for disabled people. Nike invited him to collaborate in the design of the original adaptive Nike FlyEase shoe. https://t.co/0S3cAUhCCY
NYC Taxi inspired Air Max 95 are on the way. pic.twitter.com/Jxqx1hT3qq— Nice Kicks (@nicekicks) February 2, 2021
Those shoes can also rest now.
Bill Walton's Western Civilization
Another iconic Bill Walton moment pic.twitter.com/S3DkSN2qOH— SportsNation (@SportsNation) January 31, 2021
No Context College Basketball
Yeah, they got us.
But I got him.
telling my kids this was donte divincenzo pic.twitter.com/a4lWJPD4YB— obj (@objsucks) February 2, 2021
Wrapping It Up...
when Urban Meyer dies in the EA College Football game pic.twitter.com/IzSVNthkJu— King Hippo, First of His Name (@loljocks_grimey) February 2, 2021
Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Go Iowa Awesome. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or email to bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com.