The Hyball is a weekly Iowa men's basketball column.
This doesn't need to be long.
Replacing Luka Garza was never going to happen, but then Keegan Murray kinda did. But Keegan Murray doesn't play the 5.
Nah, that's our North Dakota transfer. The 24-year-old. Yes, he wears a t-shirt, and I know he's not a Do Everything Guy like Murray or a Gritty Grit Grit Man like Garza or a distance shooter like J-Bo, but he's just been solid. There's a reason nearly every photo of him is playing defense, bodying someone up.
It's been fun watching him, and I have no idea what this team would have to do if he wasn't available. He's our 'size' when we still don't even have all that much size. He gets pain in the ass assignments every game (hi, Kofi/Hunter,TJD), fights, plays hard, and, sometimes underrated in college basketball, knows his role.
When the worst thing you could say about a guy is "ugh, could you be a little better at the free throw line?" -- especially when it's a big -- you're probably doing OK.
Jack Nunge leaving was a massive blow. We all supported him, but it's hard not to miss the guy. He put up 13.4 points with 7.4 rebounds for Xavier this year on 53.7% shooting. Rebrača's season was more modest; 5.8 points and 5.5 boards, but he did it playing five minutes less a game, against better competition, and while shooting a hilariously slightly better 53.8%.
This isn't a Rebrača < Nunge column. This is a "we coulda been colossally screwed, but it turned out solidly" column. That's it.
Been wanting to really shout this dude out all year, and I'm realizing now we are running out of time. Plenty of time to talk about the stars below and beyond.
So let's raise our Rakija to the man in the middle. Thank you for your sturdy service.
"I will not get you wrong."
3/10 - Iowa 112, Northwestern 76: Before looking up the score to this game, my thought was "Which one was that? Oh, the one where we fire bombed them."
/looks up score
"Wow, we fire. bombed. them!"
3/11 - Iowa 84, Rutgers 74: This shall forever be remembered as the time Keegan Murray gave me my most viral tweet ever.
Well, Keegan Murray just gave us one of thee coolest Iowa plays ever. pic.twitter.com/QXf44SIUfc— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) March 11, 2022
Ohhh, we know.
Sandfort running down the court with his hands up after the dunk pic.twitter.com/chONco2Rzd— Gunny (@JaunSmells) March 12, 2022
The day wasn't without some indignity.
@bobbystompy this guy kinda looks like you— Blue Strip (@BluePotts56) March 12, 2022
3/12 - Iowa 80, Indiana 77: lol we so did not deserve this game more than IU
That was the most clutch shot of Bohannon's 12-year college career.— Bob Kravitz (@bkravitz) March 12, 2022
Incredible shot by 47-year-old Jordan Bohannon.— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) March 12, 2022
Jokes aside, I was pretty devastated Murray didn't touch the ball on that last possession. What we doing?
"As long as [Bohannon] is shooting it, it's probably better than anything I could've drawn up anyway."— Robert Read (@Robert_Read34) March 12, 2022
- Fran McCaffery on not taking a timeout before Bohannon's game-winner.
So... so that's what we're doing. Speaking of questionable choices, I'm all in on an eyebrow cut if Indiana makes the Final Four.
If you make it, Im celebrating by shaving my eyebrow like TJD.— Bobby L. (@bobbystompy) March 11, 2022
About... 97% sure I could not pull this off.
3/13 - Iowa 75, Purdue 66: This tournament run was sweet, and this was the sweetest. Everything came together. I had to pay the tax of the J-Bo buzzer beater in the previous round to get my boy Josh some legit run.
Validation is spelled O-G-U-N-D-E-L-E.
JOSH OGUNDELE GOT A RING— Ivan Bologna Is All Elite (@PV_GIA) March 13, 2022
YESAHHHHHHH— Josh Ogundele (@damijosh2047) March 13, 2022
Gotta say, this title felt sweet, y'all. First BTT championship for the Iowa men since I was in college. Been to a lot of these games over the years...
Looked up 5/13/15... Iowa didn't even play that day. No no, not because we had a bye. Because we lost 5/12/15, to Penn State... as a 5-seed.
#13 Penn State 67, #5 Iowa 58
I'm telling you, dues have been paid.
All love, Joe.
3/17 - Iowa (5-seed) vs. Richmond (12-seed): We are favored by 10.5, and I expect to win comfortably. Richmond has some decent size for a mid-major, and I'm interested to see if we stick Keegan on 6'7'', 215 pound leading scorer Taylor Burton. The forward averages 16.3 points per game. He gets that done on 46.7% FG shooting. For context, I looked at Iowa's lineup. Only Keegan (55.4), Ogundele (54.2), Rebraca (53.8) average better for rotation players who see 5+ minutes a game.
The bottom of the list? Ulis (34.0), Connor (35.7), J-Bo (38.9), and P-Mac (42.2).
While we're on the subject of shooting, did you know both Keegan and Kris finished above 40% from three this season?
Related/unrelated: Moar Kris Murray minutes forever and always
3/19 - Iowa (5-seed) vs. Providence (4-seed), projected: I like this game, and I like Iowa in this game. Leading scorer Nate Watson is a more traditional center (read: does not shoot threes), and although Iowa's lack of size could at some point factor in, they've played around that weakness generally pretty well this season. Bet we're favored, too.
My mom works as a cashier at the Waterfront Hy-Vee and has characterized the Murray twins and several other Iowa mens and womans basketball players as good kids and I think we should respect her judgement.— Tommy Lang (@tommylang1630) March 14, 2022
Plus there's that.
Caitlin Clark on Iowa hosting in the NCAA Tournament: I expect Carver-Hawkeye to be sold out again.— David Eickholt (@DavidEickholt) March 14, 2022
That's an order, not a request.
Caitlin Clark has been named a first team unanimous all-American by the AP.— David Eickholt (@DavidEickholt) March 16, 2022
Brad Davison Is Definitively A Senior.
We said goodbye to Brad Davison last year. We even made a playlist. I'm not linking it again because I deleted it after seeing it too many times/getting mad when he came back. But we have a... decently solid chance this is the last time this section can cause us pain. Next week... next week can be a celebration!
If not then, then next next week.
Obligatory Michigan Section
Michigan is playing the first game on Thursday. (cc: @bobbystompy)— Brendan Stiles (@thebstiles) March 14, 2022
woooo; that's kinda fun
Predicting a crisp 1-1 showing in this tournament for the Wolverines. Also predicting me sniping at this discourse:
Indiana beats Michigan (and then Illinois) and Indiana gets a play-in while Michigan gets an 11 seed.— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) March 13, 2022
IU beat Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament but Michigan is a higher seed. Go figure.— Bob Kravitz (@bkravitz) March 13, 2022
explain michigan over a team it lost to 3 days ago— kyle robbins (@kylerrobbins) March 13, 2022
We... all understand the Big Ten Tournament does not represent the entire season, correct?
extremely unfair for a 0-1 michigan team to get a better seed than a 2-0 indiana team https://t.co/MKPH5jhdhj— ace (wrong) (@AceAnbender) March 14, 2022
Ha, there it is.
By the time this posts, M will be nearing halftime of the tournament's first game. Starting PG DeVante Jones sustained a concussion in practice and is out, which swung the line down and made this more of a toss up. Bummer for the Wolverines to have a starter out for a second straight year in the NCAA tournament. Rumor is he could be back by the weekend if they are able to get through the Colorado State opener; no longer a guarantee.
Ashlyn: Coach, what is one difference between you and Urban Meyer?— DELFONIK (@djDELFONIK) March 16, 2022
Dougie P: pic.twitter.com/niTjVWsd47
Bill Walton's Western Civilization
Someone will pay.
The Selection Committee doesnt agree with Bill Waltons eight PAC12 teams. Disrespecting the Conference of Champions! pic.twitter.com/w6GRCxbCSz— kyle trask qb1 (@thecouchnap) March 13, 2022
/picks Arizona to win the natty
No Context College Basketball
These refs are getting sloppy steaks at Truffonis after the game pic.twitter.com/569b8Pg5yE— HB (@Heather__Beck) March 11, 2022
First time Ive noticed Iowa transfer CJ Fredrick out warming up since his hamstring surgery preseason. pic.twitter.com/4mhWDplTyo— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) February 24, 2022
Haven't thought about CJF in a while.
Somehow this got reported? But my wife is just like KD when I say Im getting one more drink. pic.twitter.com/qcNZygISMm— DeLo (@DeLo_77) March 17, 2022
Have thought about KD, though.
Kentucky, Carolina, Duke, Kansas, and UCLA are the top five in all-time tournament wins, aka the Blue Bloods pic.twitter.com/lIWpaSTU9W— Tate Frazier (@tatefrazier) March 16, 2022
Wrapping It Up...
When my dad was Scott Halls Uber driver he left a message for me pic.twitter.com/AxWoXdtAn3— (@naoxlegendz) March 14, 2022
RIP to the Lone Wolf.
Bobby Loesch is a weekly contributor to Go Iowa Awesome. Follow him on Twitter @bobbystompy or email to bobbyloesch [at] gmail.com.