The football version of this post was a blast, so I thought why not revisit the idea for hoops? Let's take a little jaunt down memory lane and talk about our memories of attending Iowa basketball games -- men's or women's.
FIRST GAME: the first Iowa basketball game you saw in-person
LAST GAME: the most recent Iowa basketball game you saw in-person
BEST GAME: the best Iowa basketball game you've seen in-person
WORST GAME: the worst Iowa basketball game you've seen in-person
(If you haven't been able to attend many Iowa games in-person, feel free to substitute in your equivalent memories of watching Iowa games on TV.)
FIRST GAME: I didn't go to any Iowa basketball games as a kid; I grew up in western Iowa and the only times we went to Iowa City to visit my older brothers when they were students at UI was in the fall, before hoops season got underway. So my first game would have been during my undergrad years, so probably sometime in the 2000-01 season. I don't have any vivid memories about attending games that year -- except the NCAA Tournament first round game against Creighton in Long Island. Seeing Iowa win an NCAA Tournament game was a blast -- little did I know that it would be almost 15 years until it happened again. I'm sure that wasn't the first Iowa game I saw in-person (I know I was at some of the regular season games in CHA that year), but whichever game that first one was is just a hazy memory at this point.
LAST GAME: This is easy -- I was at the Iowa game in Minnesota this season (with some very fun seats, courtesy of Hawkeye Elvis). That game was the definite of a grind, but Iowa's surge to come back and win the game was absolutely fantastic. And getting to watch Luka Garza in-person this year (which I was able to do twice, thankfully) was always a privilege. Bearing witness to a small piece of the greatest individual season in Iowa men's basketball history was awesome.
BEST GAME: Not gonna lie: most of my best memories of watching Iowa basketball have come via television, not in-person. That's the cost of attending Iowa during the [REDACTED] and Lickliter years, I suppose. That said, there were some rollicking crowds at Carver-Hawkeye Arena at times during the [REDACTED] era, mostly early on, but even in the final years (the easy-to-love Horner-Brunner-Haluska team definitely got a lot of fans back in CHA) there were some great crowds from time to time. And those are my favorite memories of seeing Iowa basketball in-person: making a ruckus with 15,000+ loud and frenzied fans in black and gold. I have particularly fond memories of a game against Wisconsin or Ohio State (it was definitely a team in red) in that 04-08ish span; CHA was absolutely packed and rocking. Other than that, the best Iowa game I've seen was definitely that win over Creighton; NCAA Tourney wins are always sweet.
WORST GAME: I had season tickets in 2007-08, aka Year One of The Lickliter Error. Needless to say, I took in quite a bit of bad basketball that year. I'm tempted to say the worst game I've seen was Iowa's 43-36 win over #6 Michigan State that year because that game was an affront to everything good about the game of basketball. Iowa shot 28% from the floor and 24% from 3-point range... and won. But still: Iowa did win that game and the ugliest win is still better than any loss. So I think the worst game I saw was probably 72-67 loss to Louisiana-Monroe in OT that year. The Hawkeye Challenge was supposed to be a gimme -- pick up a couple easy wins around the holidays, no fuss, no muss. Losing one of those games was a pretty clear sign that struggles were in store for this Iowa team. (Little did I/we know...)
But enough about my memories -- let's hear about yours. Hit up the comments, friends.