The Hyball: Was That Your Breaking Point?

By Bobby Loesch on January 20, 2022 at 12:00 pm
Basketball Head
© Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
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The Hyball is a weekly Iowa men's basketball column

I have a friend named Chris.

Chris is a bit of a basketball purist. He loves five on five but generally refuses to play four on four. He's a pretty talented player. He was the one who first made me realize All Upsets Everything was generally not the way to have a good Final Four field in the end; blue bloods get you the best quality, baby. He just wants to watch great players play well in the sport he (usually) loves. Anything else is pesky and unnecessary.

He hates chuckers. Players who come in out of shape. Shitty ball movement. But he respects the DeMar DeRozans of the world. The select few. Players who master the craft. The ones who actually earn those off balance shots.

He's an Iowa City resident, lifelong Hawkeye fan. He loves Iowa men's basketball... until he doesn't. I get the feeling he mentally quits right around Big Ten conference play somewhere in the realm of 5-25 times each season. Whenever there's a game where there's 5-10 minutes left in the first half, and a team is sitting around 10 points, I think of him.

I... feared this week's Iowa-Rutgers game could break him forever.

Opening my phone late in the second half, I came up with something like: I pray you are not watching Iowa-Rutgers set basketball back 50 years.

But before I could, my top message was, of course, from Chris: "This is the most disgusting display of basketball I have ever seen."

It's one thing to lose. Everyone loses. It's another to play in a way that generates feelings like that. And sure, there were positives: we, uh, made them play terrible basketball, too. But... that's about it.

That's why, even though the ending felt shitty, it felt like unearned pain.

I didn't even physically react. Just a half nod while still sort of processing. You can't call that game a scar on the heart. The eyeballs? Sure.

Even opening the site this morning and seeing Ross' "Rutgers 48, Iowa 46" headline with the distance from last night was harrowing.

I don't know the answer. Is it officiating? (Meh.) Physicality? Just flat out poor performance? All I know is showings like that make me question the entire sport/what I'm doing with my time watching it.

...those Ron Harper dunks though.

/sigh

The Hyball

"Love always takes work, but it should never take suffering."

Last Week

1/13 - Iowa 84, Indiana 74: The Kris Murray game.

Imagine being this cool about anything.

How do you even pick?! You can't!

 As beautiful as it is harrowing.

/nods in acceptance

In less Murray-related news, Fran seriously needs to fucking chill:

But:

Hahaha.

And in the more whimsy sphere of news from that game:

Put me down for Jonathan Davis!

Oh, also, Ross (on Keegan sitting with foul trouble for a laaaarge chunk of this one):

On that topic... I think Fran's rigidity when it comes to sitting players so long with two fouls is an overall foolish and outdated idea that hurts Iowa more than it helps. Indiana completely dominated most of the first half when Keegan sat and there were long stretches when Iowa's offense simply couldn't score; it would have been nice to have one of the nation's leading scorers as an option then! Locking a player away with two fouls for fear of him getting more quick fouls and not having him available in the second half does the defense's job for them. Trust your players -- especially your star players -- to play with foul trouble. That said... I will admit that the insistence on two-foul jail tonight may have made slightly more sense than usual, given the officials' quick whistles on Iowa's bigs for so much of the game. But overall two-foul jail still stinks and should be abolished. 

TLDR game recap:

1/16 - Iowa 81, Minnesota 71: OK, this one I can do shorter. It was kind of a boring Sunday game. We were up by like 20... but then Minny made a real run at it (cutting it to three)... before the best player on the floor showed it on both ends to put a lid on the comeback.

Seriously, it's been 24 hours, and that game has been fully distilled to that two play sequence for me.

Also totally forgot this was Xmas revenge from last year:

In fact, we've been in this exact same situation, against this exact same opponent, in this exact same venue before -- just a year ago. A year ago, on Christmas night, Iowa hacked up a big lead against Minnesota late, giving up 7 points in 37 seconds and then losing in OT. This year's debacle was more of a slow-motion collapse, with a 23-point lead slowly, inexorably bleeding out over the course of 11 minutes of game action, until Iowa led by just three points with a minute to go. Fortunately, this year's game had a much happier ending than last year's Christmas Day anti-miracle, thanks to one Keegan Murray. 

1/19 - Rutgers 48, Iowa 46: No.

This Week

1/22 - Iowa vs. Penn State: Pending some negative COVID tests, I will actually be in the state of Iowa for some hoops this Saturday. Oh, no, not for this game... for some Grinnell-Beloit action, baybeeeee (more on this next week, again, only if it happens).

Update: trip cancelled/just tested positive for COVID. Being alive is fun!

1/27 - Iowa vs. Purdue: We either win or play way worse than we did at Mackey.

Caitlin Corner

I know we've semi-turned on triple doubles at the NBA-level, but they are not an easy ask in college. Gorgeous line.

Brad Davison Is Definitively A Senior.

My enemy of my enemy is still very much my enemy.

Obligatory Michigan Section

OK, I think I really hate Illinois again.

But... they're not wrong. If anything, that would be Michigan's best case scenario.

In much funnier news, the Michigan president got canned after emails with his mistress got the ol' FOIA on 'em. "He sent his mistress emails from his university email?" you ask. "Yes, quite the dumbass," I respond. Seriously, look at this shit:

/googles knish

The memes came fast and swift.

Here's a full thread, if interested:

Personal fav was this one, referencing a weird ass email he sent that just said:

Lonely

M

I'm not trying to make sense of a man in power being a horny mess, but I will never, ever understand using your fucking work email on shit like this. It's, like, we can almost accept wrongdoing if you're not such a colossal dumbass about it. Or, shorter:

Yeah, really not M's week at any level.

The Mini-Hybrid

Not that it's going great in my other house.

nooooo

Ah, good person stuff.

Yeah, gonna be thinking long and hard about abstaining from next season. What a crock of shit.

Bill Walton's Western Civilization 

(Thanks to reader Chris for this one.)

No Context College Basketball
Wrapping It Up...

The Internet always finds a way:

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

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