The Hyball: Defaulting To Hope Because Life Is Hard

By Bobby Loesch on February 11, 2021 at 12:00 pm
Go, Keegan, Go
© Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Hyball is a weekly Iowa men's basketball column

I realized the season hit a low point when I started dreading upcoming games.

I figured Rutgers-Iowa could decide the tone of this column based purely on recency.

I fully threw in the towel.

I decided to let Joe Wieskamp and Keegan Murray be the harbinger of... something.

There it is.

Listen, it's been tough sledding for Iowa men's basketball lately. What's worse is you really can counter a lot of the arguments pretty easily... but then there are counters to those too, of course.

"The Big Ten is hard!"

We were supposed to be elite.

"We have the (likely) National Player of the Year."

Would you take Ayo over him in crunch time? (Hint: I would.)

"We were missing CJ Fredrick!"

Aright, this is the one I might give you. Yet...

Godddddddddddddddd damn it.

"Fran might stop auto-benching Luka."

Yeah, miss me with that.

What a week for our guy, for real.

There is a lot to believe and a lot to not believe. Though I mostly have lost all faith, I launch my burdens on the shoulders of these two:


Things I Have Less Faith In:

- Jordan Bohannon ever getting significant enough penetration to help the offense in a multi-dimensional way

- Luka's defense on literally any player on the court

- Fran getting better at the things he's been bad at

- Connor McCaffery getting less minutes

This is going to be the most Iowa ending to an intro in a long time, but... what other choice do we have? It's still a pandemic. In Chicago, it's 6 degrees right now and snowing all over our snow. I do nothing. Hopefully, we do nothing. What other path is there besides investing all the way in this damn team?

So, begrudgingly, that is my choice.

/waves tiny toothpick with Hawkeyes pennant attached 

The only silver lining: if we flame out now, absolutely no one can be blindsided.

The Hyball

"There are no atheists in foxholes."

Last Week

2/4 - No. 7 Ohio State 89, No. 8 Iowa 85: Yo, this game sucked. Actually, that's not true -- it was kind of good. Kind of. We were in control, like, the entire time. I wish I could remember now what the hell happened.

/tries to remember

Ah, this was the one with the hockey style line changes + Luka playing a little off. Maybe this game didn't suck. Ohio State is very good (and hella likable); so smooth on offense. I will try to calm down now.

2/7 - Indiana 67, No. 8 Iowa 65: Oh, I shall miss having a single digit ranking. And there's no way to forget how this one ended.

Iowa basketball: officially swept by Indiana. The Hoosiers just got back to .500 in conference last night (6-6). Of course, two of those wins came against Iowa, so who is to say they shouldn't really be 4-8?

/minion whispers something in my ear

Ah, us -- we are to very much say Iowa is not making Indiana 4-8 anytime soon.

2/10 - No. 15 Iowa 79, No. 25 Rutgers 66: This game is kind of funny, in retrospect, because we shot like shit in the first five minutes or so -- pissing everyone off all over again -- but it really stabilized after that and got relatively comfortable. Joe Wieskamp once again balled out, and Keegan Murray, for the millionth fucking time, proved he needs all of your minutes. CJ coming back felt bigger than it needed to be, but he really got Luka going a few times, and -- /battles off cliches with a baseball bat -- a win's a win.

This Week

2/13 - Iowa (15) at Michigan State: Tom Izzo tweeted at Barstool this week. So, uh, cool.

Caitlin Corner

Indiana very much did not "learn today." The Hoosiers won by double digits.

Still: splash.

"Is Brad Davison A Senior"

You're never gonna believe who Brad tries to emulate on the court:

Two players that really influenced the way I play would be Jon Scheyer and Aaron Craft because I grew up watching both of them play!

The man delivers like a midwife.

The Ballad Of Ricky-Bobby

Each week, we check in with professional basketball writer Ricky O'Donnell for a quick exchange

Asked Ricky if anything excites him about Michigan State hoops:

Love Aaron Henry. His shot has fallen off this year, but his defense is so much better. Also noticed they're No. 1 in percentage of assisted field goals (68.4%). Interesting they've had ball movement like that without Cassius.

Obligatory Michigan Section

This shot chart was cool + even has an Iowa angle for y'all.

But yes, still on COVID pause. Might be back on this weekend against Sconnie though. Brad Craft! Aaron Davison!

The Mini-Hybrid

1) Drew Magary's take ($$$) on college football reducing scholarships to even out the playing field was about as close to optimism as one can get when discussing the World's Worst Sport.

It wouldn’t make a difference. The NCAA introduced scholarship limits in 1973, then lowered them in 1978 and in 1992. Since 1992, eight teams still won multiple national titles anyway (Alabama, Nebraska, FSU, LSU, Florida, LSU, Ohio State, USC, and Clemson). And only six schools—SIX!—have made the College Football Playoff in its entire seven-year history. That’s with scholarship restrictions already in place. If you lower them even further, Bama is still gobbling up every future first-rounder Nick Saban has ever sent a form letter to. If he loses 10 scrubs a year to the likes of Tennessee, it won’t matter. He’ll still obliterate them. The new limits wouldn’t magically make UConn football a powerhouse.

This is because college football exists in a perpetual state of oligarchy, and the oligarchs only change when the TV money and the conferences do. These are teams well-versed in the art of rule-skirting, so they’d adjust to whatever extra restrictor plates the NCAA dared to put on them (and they won’t ever dare). You can’t stop college football from being what it is.

Really, the only solution is … [screeching liberal voice] … to let schools pay the players outright. Make them employees. Let kids sign endorsement deals with whoever. Let boosters openly hand them rolls of hundreds. Shit’ll still be top heavy, but not when Defector donates a cool $500 million to Cal to help them build a sparkling new practice facility. Open the market up and see what kind of NEW chaos results from it. College football is always more fun when it’s a shitshow anyway.

2) Still not over this:

I am a Michigan/Pats fan who has followed Brady for 20+ years and just watched him beat Mahomes in the twilight of his career... yet still think Mahomes can be the GOAT one day. That said, losing to Brady at this stage would be like if 2010 Miami Heat LeBron lost to MJ's Wizards in the finals. It's a big ass ding... but people could forget, in time. 

Kick Me

Me: I guess we're not gonna have any good shoe content this we--HOLY MOSES.

Nike forever, obviously... but should we be a UA school for these alone?

(Narrator: No, they shouldn't.

Me: But they're still cool!

Narrator: Sure.)

Bill Walton's Western Civilization 

Haha, not sure I knew he was on Twitter.


No Context College Basketball
Wrapping It Up...

"Haters" has to be referring to us, right?

Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Go Iowa Awesome. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or email to bobbyloesch [at]

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