By Patrick Vint on April 3, 2020 at 8:56 am
Baer raid!
© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

It took us three days to get to shenanigans.

In one of yesterday's games, we got about 50 votes, all for one player, all with the other games left blank.  It wasn't enough to change the outcome, but you know who you are.  So far, we've left the voting form open, without the need to login to Google in order to vote.  If we see ballot box stuffing again, that might have to change.  So let's just not cheat.

Today, we see one of the most underrated players of the last 20 years, a true fan favorite, and Dean Bleeping Oliver.  Here are the one-on-one rules:

  • shoot for first possession
  • alternating possessions
  • play to 15, must win by 2
  • 3s are worth 3 points

Brunner over Toussiant 15-10 (68-32)
Tate over Tucker 15-11 (64-36)
Kriener over Basabe 22-20 in overtime (51-49) (decided by 6 votes)

GAME ONE: No. 5 Bryce Cartwright vs. No. 12 Zach McCabe

We forget the first McCaffery season, for obvious reasons.  The roster was in complete flux, the program's recent history had sent fan interest to record lows, and the team still didn't win much.  If you ask anyone for the most memorable moment of that first season, they're likely to mention Matt Gatens going off...which happened in the second season.  I made that mistake three days ago. 

The second season was Gatens.  The first season was Cartwright, a Fresno State transfer who didn't sign on until June and quickly became the most important player on that 2010-11 squad.  Cartwright, a 6'1" point guard, was second on the Hawkeyes in scoring at 11 points per game, yet was ninth nationally in assist percentage.  His usage rate was high, and his efficiency rating was low, which explains part of the problem, but there was no more important guy to getting the McCaffery thing going.

McCabe was Cartwright's teammate for the first couple of seasons, and spent that second season as a dependable starter.  He took on the role as chief antagonist, and while he never averaged more than the 8 points and 5 rebounds per game he recorded in that sophomore year, he did all of those things that could make him a prime one-on-one 5/12 upset contender.

GAME TWO: No. 4 Dean Oliver vs. No. 13 Cordell Pemsl

Oliver and Ricky Davis are forever intertwined at Iowa.  Davis was pretty much the only one-and-done in program history, and did it in 1998.  Oliver stayed for four years, lived through a coaching change, and actually thrived under Alford.  His game was ahead of its time: He took five three-point attempts per game in his final two seasons, shooting 36 percent as a senior while also finishing fourth in the Big Ten in free throw attempts and second in assists.  Those teams weren't great, but Oliver was a consistent, solid superstar.

Pemsl, like McCabe, had his role diminish over time but has settled in as an agitator and glue guy.  The 6'9" Dubuque product averaged 9 points and 5 rebounds per game as a freshman, but injuries and roster turnover has reduced that to less than 6 per game in his last three years; he hasn't started a game during that time.  If we put him in an Iowa State bracket, he'd win the whole damn thing out of spite.

GAME THREE:  No. 8 Brody Boyd vs. No. 9 Nick Baer

Boyd was the first of a string of Indiana perimeter shooters recruited by Alford.  It took a couple of years for him to carve out a niche, but his 11/2/2 on 36% three-point shooting as a senior made him a surprisingly crucial contributor to a team transitioning from the Evans/Recker roster to the Brunner/Horner/Haluska group.

But let's face it: This game is about Baertrap.  Dude might be the most beloved Hawkeye of all time, a do-it-all former walk-on who became a three-year part-time starter.  Baer's best season was his sophomore campaign: He averaged 7.5 points, 6 boards, 2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.3 blocks per game, largely off the bench.  Baer shot 40 by god percent from three that year, a perimeter touch he lost when his role grew the following year.  Ultimate bench guy.  Ultimate glue guy.

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