The Hyball is a weekly Iowa men's basketball column
After 24 straight weeks of writing, there were only two unused ideas still sitting in my drafts.
The first, dreamed up in the December/January zone, was a column titled "The Gonzaga Cloud”. This was post-December 19, when the Bulldogs took out Iowa, 99-88, at the Pentagon. Seems closer than you remember, right?
The whole thing was going to hinge on this highlight from a different game:
Suggs did that a few more times before the end of the year -- and there's a reason that clip has 1.7 million views. Even our man Ricky tried to get out in front of this:
Gonzaga is 2018 Villanova level to me— Ricky O'Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) December 19, 2020
Despite the Hawkeyes' L against Gonzaga -- and some of this big, bold writing on the wall -- I decided to sit on it. After all, Iowa was still in the Top 10, and it didn't seem like the most fun idea to do a whole "Yeah, this season is over even though it's only January" angle.
A few months later, the Elite 8 pushed a tournament of surprising outcomes into semi-chalky territory. Sure, 11-seeded UCLA was still in the bracket, but could they really compete with magic?
Jalen Suggs' all-time game-winner against UCLA called by Gonzaga's IMG radio team of Tom Hudson and Adam Morrison (yes, that Adam Morrison): pic.twitter.com/DBtqdFjenL— Brian Fonseca (@briannnnf) April 4, 2021
Quick break to make fun of LBJ:
Me too, LeBron. https://t.co/qgWetNFNqR— AF (@ArkansasFred) April 4, 2021
Even though this entire season had a 2005 Illinois-UNC "it's gonna happen"/collision course feel, our dream final of Baylor-Gonzaga still had a false aura of inevitability with its outcome. Thus, the second draft of, well, "Gonzaga Was Inevitable."
Anyone else loading up on Gonzaga?— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) April 6, 2021
But we actually have to play the games, I'm told. And what we saw on that court was an instant disintegrator of any pre-writing bullshit.
Gonzaga: we have a high scoring offense— Mike Golic Jr (@mikegolicjr) April 6, 2021
Baylor: we lift with the football team
Gonzaga went 30-0 with 28 double-digit wins and Baylor kicked their asses for 40 straight minutes. Outhustled them, outshot them, bodied them. Had more fight, more skill, and more athleticism. One of the most impressive champions ever.— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) April 6, 2021
Or, in simpler terms:
Anyone else lose quite a bit of money on Gonzaga?— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) April 6, 2021
Ohhhhh, I took a bath. There was, of course, a silver lining.
this one bet was made as a reverse jinx and would be made again; youre all welcome pic.twitter.com/LpDITG3Z1V— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) April 6, 2021
And we all know how that went.
Baylor guards any time they got Timme on them pic.twitter.com/wtLZGrjpwN— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) April 6, 2021
Gonzaga was not inevitable.
As a Patriots fan, that game had a similar feel of the 18-1 Super Bowl loss against the Giants. It was hard not to think of the Giants' defensive line quoting Mike Tyson's legendary “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."
As they said on Titus & Tate, it felt like Baylor was primed to beat Gonzaga in anything. They could have converted the game to a parking lot brawl or a speed reading contest or fucking chess -- it didn't matter; their number was had.
As a Michigan football fan, it reminded me of some of the 2010s-era losses to Mark Dantonio's Spartan squads. The games where Michigan waltzes in as a modest favorite, only to be swarmed by a rival squad who looked like they spent the entire week in rattled cages. You can't win when your opponent is playing a different sport.
Longtime readers may remember our old football slogan "Don't sleep on the Baylor Bears," and I'll be god damned if it doesn't apply directly to their basketball version.
So here's to the champs. Here's to hope. Here's to a college basketball season that nearly got us out on the other side.
“Everyone wants to wear Carhartt till it’s time to do Carhartt shit”
When am I allowed to be apoplectic about us playing hurt guys all year with healthy guys on the bench?
Ep. 31 is LIVE— The Standpoint (@TheStandPoint_) April 5, 2021
In this episode we discuss
-Jordans meeting with Mark Emmert
-Playing all season with a torn Labrum
-Why Jordan likes Bo Boroski
-And morehttps://t.co/asI2Um4AZM pic.twitter.com/TNDwiqNkIP
Also, shouldn't this feel good?
I do not want to be that guy, but I need to again explain why the award stings more than it soothes.
Reminder: if Garza wins the Naismith, he joins Doug McDermott as the only winner in the last decade to not see the second weekend. pic.twitter.com/LqRPq6HXXB— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) March 22, 2021
tl;dr having a Naismith winner should nearly guarantee you an Elite 8 finish at worst... but not when it's us!
Yes, she earned First Team All American status as a freshman, but I made a point to stop posting award tweets so we could celebrate her beautiful game. Let's end the year with this tasty ass dime.
You'll want to watch every angle of this Caitlin Clark behind-the-back pass. Multiple times.pic.twitter.com/BOSUaJ2Gq7— Iowa Hawkeyes | The Gazette (@GazetteOnIowa) March 21, 2021
I swear, it's magnets or something. To quote Jay-Z, "Conspiracy theorist screaming Illuminati / They can't believe this much skill is in the human body."
My only regret is we never did find out her wingspan; Year 2 goals.
"Is Brad Davison A Senior"
Finally got our answer: we still don't know.
Regarding what the future holds for Brad Davison, I've been told the #Badgers senior guard is still thinking things through and that no timetable has been set for that decision.— Jim Polzin (@JimPolzinWSJ) April 2, 2021
The Ballad Of Ricky-Bobby
Each week, we check in with professional basketball writer Ricky O'Donnell for a quick exchange
This game now passes Taurean Prince's sarcastic explanation of how to grab a rebound as the greatest NCAA tournament moment in Baylor history— Ricky O'Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) April 6, 2021
Obligatory Michigan Section
1) /eyes widen
Juwan Howard looks like someone tried to draw will smith from memory pic.twitter.com/FrzhIPDHsb— mary (@watsinner) March 31, 2021
We kid, coach, we kid.
2) This, in tandem, actually did warm my heart.
But not as much as this:
As reporters logged off today's joint AP Coach and Player of the Year Zoom presser, Juwan Howard had a personal message for Luka Garza as he prepares for the NBA: "If you need someone, I'm always here. I mean that. Good luck to you, stay healthy."— Daniel Dash (@DanielDash_) April 1, 2021
3) The dunk at the :32 mark made me believe in feelings again
2021 Michigan @umichbball signee Moussa Diabate had the full arsenal on display at Geico Nationals— Endless Motor Sports (@endless_motor) April 1, 2021
610 big w/elite agility + athleticism, undervalued ballskills and a rapidly developing jumper
Juwan Howard will be happy to see the 1st possession - exact Motion Weak set UM runs pic.twitter.com/i5CiAlNHql
Getting some M and Iowa potshots in before the layoff.
Michigan basketball is the only program in the Big 10 without a player in the transfer portal.— Parker (@Park3rC) April 6, 2021
Michigan football conversely has 18 players in the portal, by far the most in the Big 10.
People cant wait to play for Juwan, people cant wait to get away from Jim.
/double birds at Harbaugh
play in an offense from this century https://t.co/UUlvEpCDBx— adam s (@ADSohn) April 6, 2021
Speckle-sole Cookies & Cream adidas Ultra Boost are dropping in soon. pic.twitter.com/GMYNYm927R— Nice Kicks (@nicekicks) April 7, 2021
Bill Walton's Western Civilization
He... really could've been right.
No Context College Basketball
Wrapping It Up...
We made it.
Or we're about to make it.
I write this morning on the 23rd hour of the J&J vaccine coursing through my body. Though I was KTFO last night -- and still a little this morning -- it's hard not to go into the weekend with this vibe.
Two weeks from now, I want to be this guy:
No idea who this dude is but Ive been vaccinated, so now I go randomly rebound for people in NYC at night. I cant recommend it any more strongly. pic.twitter.com/LhSiMFE2BC— Patch from Days of Our Lives (@fittedsweats) April 7, 2021
Because I love basketball. And I love people.
For the last 14 years, I've written 12 weekly columns about college football. Usually, when those three months end, there's been enough burnout sustained to make me think "I definitively will never do this again"... but then a year goes by, and that itch comes back.
If you would've told me this year would be 24 straight weeks -- double what I ever thought my maximum output could be -- of a Hybrid then Hyball, I wouldn't have believed you. Unless we were blessed by Iowa women's hoops' most exciting freshman ever. Or Iowa men's hoops produced the god damn Naismith winner. Or we got to watch Brad Davison get punked by the champs. I use "we" and "us" so frequently because that is what I believe GIA to be. A community. And sure, we don't always agree, but it's real discourse. And that is never, ever lost on me; especially since the rest of the Internet usually doesn’t work that way.
I may not be back for next football season -- but, again, I always say that. What's different this year is my renewed appreciation for the beautiful sport* of college basketball. So maybe this will be exclusively a hoops column going forward.
(* - when it's not a dumbass rock fight)
As Saint Joe Strummer once said, the future is unwritten. But, for the last 24 weeks here, the past was.
Go Hawks. Go Caitlin Clark. Go Keegan Murray. Go Iowa Awesome. And one love to the Baylor Bears.
Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Go Iowa Awesome. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or email to bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com.