Calming the Masses: A Return to Respectability for Iowa Hoops

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Ricky D's Triple Double's picture

I mentioned this in another thread, but I'll regurgitate it here to explain how I put this season in context:

This Iowa team essentially bookended their season with a win against a Sweet 16 Oregon team and then an OT loss in the NCAAT to a team that spent a month ranked #1. Plus, the Oregon team they beat in MSG was arguably (key word) a better version, as they still had Bol in the lineup.

Fran has the opportunity in the next two years to cement a great legacy at Iowa. If he gets this program to a Sweet 16, he'll bridge the gap of mediocrity that formed between Dr. Tom and himself. I'm of the set who believes the fan base already owes him a debt of gratitude for lifting this program out of the crater, but if he gets a Sweet 16 berth, he's a legend. 

A magical night in Cleveland.

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Herk 182's picture

I agree with this 100%. I understand this debate cannot be won as those that believe differently are probably of the same school where KF needs to re-evaluated after any misstep despite, in my mind, a firmly cemented legacy as a legend on par with HF. I think Fran has done a fantastic job with program and it boggles my mind that people are so unhappy, despite the reality of how mediocre we really had become.

Formerly Herk 182!

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HoustonHawkeye's picture

It's hard to consistently move forward if "the crater" is constantly brought up as "current day" accomplishment.

I strongly prefer winning over losing.

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Ricky D's Triple Double's picture

Then you don’t understand how deep the crater was. Also, I’m talking about Fran moving this program to a Sweet 16 in the next couple years. That would be tangible progress.

A magical night in Cleveland.

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Hawktober's picture

I will say that Fran needs to improve upon this season's results over the next two seasons.  Setting the bar a little bit higher than before is a good first step, but he needs to exceed that next year or the year after.  I don't think he can keep us all happy with a team that makes the tournament every year, but as a mid-level at-large team.  With the roster he should have, it would appear to be realistic to expect more the next few years.  If he can then build some momentum to get a few more high-profile recruits, he could turn this team into a contender.

If he fails to at least make some progress toward this over the next two to three seasons, he may find himself needing to be replaced.

To be clear, I fully expect that Fran will manage to do this.  I think he has some issues to work on, but has things trending positively again.

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The Herky And Mary Chain's picture

While many of the Bohannon boys have been timely 3 point shooters, I personally prefer the cold blooded ones served by Jordan

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Close Shave America's picture

There are a lot of similarities between this year's football and basketball teams. Both started off on impressive runs, raised the hopes of Hawkeye fans that something big was happening (a return to the B1G title game, a solid NCAA seed and potential Sweet Sixteen appearance), and then fell off a cliff with inexplicable losses to average teams, all while failing to beat the best teams in the conference. But both teams were able to salvage respectability with a little postseason success. Beating CLANGA helped ease the pain of what was an otherwise frustrating football season of missed opportunities. Likewise, the sting of the season-ending skid in basketball was soothed by beating Cincinnati and taking Tennessee to OT after an impressive second-half rally.

A 23-win season with yet another NCAA tournament win should keep the wolves at bay for a while and give Fran some breathing room to focus on coaching his guys. I really hope there are no dumb distractions next year (#FreeDolph) and we can all get back to enjoying Hawkeye Basketball.

I'm still concerned that the Hawkeyes failed to put up a fight against MSU, Purdue, and Michigan in the B1G tourney. Getting run out of the gym by Wisconsin likewise still stings. If we're going to have a better season, we have to find a way to beat those teams again, and not fall apart at the end of the season. I think we'll have the pieces to do it, with or without Cook, assuming that Nunge and Pemsl are able to be effective in their (don't call it a) comeback season.

America, you're looking good: handsome, free and tall

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Costco Card Rammin' Greg Davis's picture

I totally agree. For better or worse, I ultimately have the same feeling with both the football and basketball program at this point. They could beat (almost) any team or lose to (almost) any team on any given day. Both will find their level somewhere around the top-25, but will not actually compete for a national championship.

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juanita's picture

You took the words right outta my mouth. Both basketball and football were undefeated in the non-con, but with no signature wins (except Michigan for b-ball) and then beating very tough opponents in the postseason. 

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olivecourt's picture

I understand why Iowa fans aren’t jumping out of their seats with joy. However, this was, without question, Iowa’s best NCAA tournament performance in 20 years despite an absolutely brutal draw. I think losing on senior day to Rutgers and blowing the lead at Nebraska were both pretty unforgivable, but I’m not sure how winning those games really changes things in the long run. Either way they were going to have a tough second round opponent in the tournament. You can and should quibble with poor performances throughout the season, but taken as a whole I think they maximized what was possible.

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John Hawktoasten's picture

Expectations are everything.  I was ecstatic about how this season played out because I had low expectations after the 2017-2018 debacle.  Compare that to last year where I was so high on the Hawks going into the year I purchased a FloHoops subscription to watch exhibition and early season cupcake games.  Surely we could replace Peter Jok's scoring and average defense (well by his last season anyway) .  Nope.  Of course it also hurt that Christian Williams transferred shortly before the season began and Connor had a slew of injuries.

A handful of plays change the narrative too.  What if Wieskamp fails to defy physics and bank in that 3 from the corner to beat Rutgers?  We could have been in a play-in game.  Same thing for Bohannon going bonkers against Indiana.  I know the flip side is Nebrasketball's unreal comeback in the final game of the regular season so the ball bounces both ways.

I loved watching the Hawks all year.  I fast forwarded through too many 2nd halves because the games were out of hand by half, but the big wins (ISU, Michigan, Cincy) definitely outweighed the negatives.  My favorite game of the year was actually Tennessee - fighting back that well against the one-time top ranked team in the land after those lopsided losses earlier in the year gave me hope.  Sucks that they came up short, but that hope is going to carry over to next season.  Go Hawks.

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SirNicholas33's picture

Well no need to worry about a Connor-Maishe lineup. Maishe's now in the transfer portal.

Comedy is where the mind goes to tickle itself.

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chitownhawkeye's picture

In a vacuum, the season has to be considered decent to good, based on pre-season expectations.

Unfortunately, the way it happened was obviously frustrating.  If the Feb slide had either contained only competitive losses or an additional win or two, and I'd feel good about it.  But as it was, I can't silence the voice that continues to ask what the hell happened.

Obviously though, the team could have packed it in and lost to Illinois to back in, and obviously then completed the collapse by giving up once they were down to Cincinnati.  That they fought back against Cincinnati and Tennessee showed more guts than I thought they had.

I don't know.  I feel better about the team than I did 3 weeks ago, but I'm still very much on the fence.

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Coromandel Hawk's picture

I would describe this season as "acceptable".  20+ wins, .500 or better in Big Ten play, and get to the tournament 4 out of 5 years is what I want from my Hawkeye basketball teams.

BWR

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rockyh's picture

Bingo.  A sweet 16 (or beyond) run 2-3 times a decade would be icing on the cake, but if we're in the top half of the conference and regularly making the tourney, I'm satisfied.

We need to figure out that February problem, though.

"If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull." - W.C. Fields

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Hawktober's picture

Maybe we can ask the Delaneybot to give us February off next season.

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HoustonHawkeye's picture

The Sweet 16 thing is far more meaningful to me than the B1G tourney, and just having the sense they COULD make a run in the Tourney would be nice.  We haven't had that sense in over 3 decades, though.

I strongly prefer winning over losing.

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Ronnie's Bookie's picture

It's hard to consistently move forward if "the crater" is constantly brought up as "current day" accomplishment.

55-24.

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Ricky D's Triple Double's picture

HoustonHawkeye 9 HOURS AGO 

It's hard to consistently move forward if "the crater" is constantly brought up as "current day" accomplishment.

Wait, is this an instance of blogosphere plagiarism or is it a one-person-two-accounts situation?

A magical night in Cleveland.

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Ronnie's Bookie's picture

I was giving him crap for that comment.

55-24.

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CRAYONS's picture

I think 20% of the fan angst with Fran could have been avoided if Barta had not put that unnecessary "ongoing tensions" clause in his statement about Dolphin.  What an idiot.

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Beltway Hawk's picture

who is this "Jason Bohannon"? Is he Jordan's little brother, who is now a junior or senior in HS? Please tell me it is. 

"There is no reason in the world why we shouldn't fight for the preservation of a chance to live freely, no reason why we shouldn't suffer to uphold that which we want to endure." -Nile Kinnick

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Eyehawk's picture

He graduated from the University of Wisconson some time ago.

Still waiting for 2nd FB NC.

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Eyehawk's picture

I would say that the period of mediocracy has lasted 40 years. Not since Lute Olsen has Iowa had a Big 10 title. That should be the ultimate goal of any team in a conference. The post-season tournament is just icing on the cake. So far, as far as I am concerned, Fran is a mediocre coach. He has had 9 years to turn Iowa into a team that can contend. He has failed. And it does not appear he will ever do so, IMO.

No, to me this was a typical year, just like all the rest over the last four decades. The football coach, on the other hand, has two Big 10 championships, and one that barely got away. So they are not to be compared.

To me, Fran has had plenty of time to prove himself, and he has failed. Plus the fact that his temper is embarrassing to the University and most of the fans. Begone, I say.

Still waiting for 2nd FB NC.

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HoustonHawkeye's picture

Football hasn't shared the B1G title in 15 years.

I don't care about the conference title as much as more consistently making the Sweet 16.   Having no relevance on a big-picture scale EVER makes it hard to get worked up with excitement.

As for the temper?  The tunnel thing was 100% unacceptable; the rest of his yelling and screaming is pretty on-point with coaching D-1 athletes (and he has toned it down a LOT since he got here).  If the yelling is too much for some fans, then perhaps college sports aren't for them.  I hear the YMCA gives lots of hugs after players travel with the ball...

I strongly prefer winning over losing.

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Ricky D's Triple Double's picture

I would say that the period of mediocracy has lasted 40 years. 

I won't even touch the grammatical error, but you need to set down whatever you're drinking, bro.

Under Tom Davis alone, Iowa had 10 20+ win seasons, nine NCCAT appearances, were ranked in the Top 10 consistently for a number of those years, and reached two Sweet 16s and an Elite 8. 

You obviously have an ax to grind with Fran, but please refrain from disparaging this program's esteemed legacy in basketball. It comes off as uninformed at best, moronic at worst. 

A magical night in Cleveland.

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IGrokHawks's picture

Look the Hawks finished 6th in the Big Ten, that's upper division.  Undefeated in the noncon, winner's of one NCAAT game, amazingly close to a second.  Those are all good accomplishments for teams not named Duke, MSU, yada yada.  This is a good year folks.

But having said that, it's OK for expectations to be even higher for next year's team.  They should be shooting for at least "elite level" Big 10 (hint: there were 4 this year), and a 1-4 seed in NCAAT (wouldn't that be nice?).  They should be good enough to do this.  It's time to build off of a good year and into a great one.

Formerly no one but currently someone - this has not been approved by Facebook.

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Eyehawk's picture

People will remember you if you won the conference title much more than whether you got into the sweet sixteen.

Still waiting for 2nd FB NC.

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Franwich's picture

I know the whole "comparative score" thing is fraught with problems, especially for betting purposes. However, they can be, at least somewhat, generally instructive.

With that proviso in mind, consider the following: Iowa lost to UT, in overtime; UT lost to Purdue, in overtime; PU lost to Virginia, in overtime.

Couple of things; 1] that's a helluva lot of OTs; 2] If we are at all that close to Tennessee, who is all that close to Purdue, who is all that close to Virginia . . . . .we are not out of sight of the Final Four.  There are a LOT of "ifs", but if they all break right we might not be in the basketball hinterland many were bemoaning just a short time ago.

"So you're saying there's a chance . . . . "

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Eyehawk's picture

Ooooo.....Ricky D's Tripl. Tell me about my grammer. You must not know how good it feels to get a Big 10 Championship. That's too bad. I feel for you.

Still waiting for 2nd FB NC.

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