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Ricky D's Triple Double


Cedar Rapids (via Cedar Rapids)

MEMBER SINCE   August 11, 2016

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Comment 17 hours ago

You deserve this upvote. 

To pivot slightly, for a guy who has been critical of Fran in the past, he has cemented himself in Hawkeye history to me with this season. This team, from the periphery, had no business making a tourney bid this year. McCaffery now has them as a lock. His eye for under-the-radar talent in recruiting is solid. In many ways, he’s the perfect coach for this program. More than ever, it feels like he’s building toward something. I’m all in.

Comment 20 Feb 2020

Is it worse to have a program with essentially no history of success, or a program that is about to see their history of success completely decimated and forgotten?

The Iowa basketball program was at that point prior to McCaffery. Also, I like how you previously said pre-Iowa history doesn’t matter when judging Fran, but now you’re the resident historian in qualifying his position in program history. I suppose it’s convenient now? 
As for the Snyder comp, I’ll take the heat, but mostly because it’s given you a fairly easy out to dismiss my other valid points about Fran’s reclamation effort at Iowa.

Comment 19 Feb 2020

This is, quite frankly, fucking absurd. And it’s this sort of hyperbole that makes it nearly impossible to discuss Fran’s performance and his strengths and weaknesses.

Riiight, OK: I just called out McCaffery’s weaknesses in an above comment and numerous other times on this site. I’m not going to rehash and waste real estate.

Let’s move on to your strong objection to my Bill Snyder comment. One, I qualified by saying “nearly.” You’re the one who decided to run with it and get hyperbolic, but let’s take a brief snapshot of Fran’s predecessors:

Alford:

  • General aura of pretentiousness.
  • Pierre Pierce rape case.
  • Open flirting with Indiana while actively coaching Iowa.
  • Numerous lackluster years with decent to elite talent.
  • Fire-drill exit with a parting shot that he couldn’t get the support to win “at a football school.”

Lickliter:

  • No NCAA Tournament appearances
  • Record low attendance 
  • Mind-numbing style of play 
  • The head coach with visibly head-in-his-hands despair on a regular basis
  • The coach’s D3-talent son getting major minutes in conference games

This program was flirting with the notion that rock bottom was only the first floor. And all with a fan base that still is often lukewarm about the program. McCaffery’s turnaround is nothing short of extraordinary. 

Comment 18 Feb 2020


We are way, WAY, past the point that Fran should be evaluated with an eye to anything other than his own merits and performance as a coach.

OK, remove a mention of Lick (which I still think should be part of the total evaluation) from my previous comment, and we have the evaluation parameters you want: tourney appearances about every other year, fast-paced style, numerous Top 25 appearances, POTY candidate.

So, he hasn’t made a Sweet 16 and a number of people think he doesn’t land coveted recruits. Those are EXACTLY the same complaints fans had against Davis before he got canned. In Davis’ case, the complaint about the tourney was that he didn’t advance to a Sweet 16/Elite 8 often enough, but it was the same general gripe.

What McCaffery has accomplished in reinvigorating the program is nearing a Bill Snyder-level of reclamation. If he gets that cherished Sweet 16 berth, he’s probably reached that status. When people talk about McCaffery after his coaching career is finished, they will certainly mention what he inherited, the same way people talk about what Hayden and Snyder inherited at their respective football programs. It’s an integral part of McCaffery’s legacy.
 

Comment 18 Feb 2020

If that means that Iowa should never look anywhere again just because McCaffery makes the tourney but doesn't reach the Sweet Sixteen in the next 2-3 years, then those folks have a much different world viewpoint when it comes to expectations

My comment is mostly directed at the group that seemingly wants McCaffery’s head after every blowout loss or two-game losing streak. What exactly is their expectation? McCaffery currently has a legitimate POTY candidate on a Top 25 team that is contending toward the top of the B1G. He puts this program in the tourney about every other year. It’s impossible to talk about McCaffery and not address what he inherited. It was a total rebuild job in an elite conference at a program with a fan base that had already grown apathetic. People want a Sweet 16? I do, too. I also like having a competitive program that plays a fun brand of ball. For Iowa, that wasn’t the case for many years. It’s also extremely hard for even major programs to make solid coaching hires: look at Texas and UCLA.

Comment 18 Feb 2020

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

The other reason people bring up Lickliter’s tenure and defend McCaffery is because they see shades of what happened to Tom Davis—and subsequently the program—when fans lost sight of context. 
Not many are giving McCaffery a pass for mistakes or coaching vulnerabilities; they’re simply choosing to view his career as a whole and realize the overall feat he’s accomplished in pulling this program from what looked like certain death.

Comment 14 Feb 2020

Once again, can't speak for others, but I've never made excuses for McCaffery's flaws as a coach: defensive pitfalls, offensive stagnation, odd lineup configurations. The point, though, is that he started with a crater and created a program that can compete for tourney seeds and remain nationally relevant. The tone and tenor of complaints against McCaffery also sound alarmingly similar to those hurled at Tom Davis, and that worked out well for the program...

Comment 14 Feb 2020

I'd never thought of it that way, but it does make sense. 

That response exchange is good, but this has been the case against Garza for some time. He isn't quick, and he's a liability in a league full of elite athletes. The question of when/if Garza tries to go pro really has nothing to do with that, though...

Unfortunately, if that's the case, there's no way to change it. 

Right, which is why he might just try to leave after this year while his profile is high. He's not going to get more athletic. He's likely not going to have another season as individually spectacular as this one. If Garza stays, it will be because he wants the opportunity to make a run for a B1G championship and graduate with a degree. 

Comment 14 Feb 2020

Just go back to the post-game threads here and at BHGP last season when we were in the midst of a five-game win streak in late January. Just as people are now, people were tripping over their dicks to declare definitively that the 2018/19 team had a different, stronger mental makeup

Comb through old blog threads? I'm not that masochistic. I mourn the man who has such hobbies. 

As for what other people said last year, that's not my cross to bear. 

It's that "mental toughness" is like "team chemistry" in that its alleged presence can be "seen" in every win, as well as explain those victories, yet can predict nothing.

The wins against Wisconsin and Illinois proved this team had a different vibe. Those two wins can clearly be linked to a different mental gear. Can't predict anything? I'd argue it can predict this team has a better capability to bounce back from losses. Look at the fact that they only have one losing streak this year and their performance against Nebraska after getting rolled by Purdue. 

Comment 14 Feb 2020

I'm speaking more to perception:

The nation considers the B1G the best conference in basketball, so that helps a B1G team's resume and credentials come tourney time. This year, though, it's fair to say the B1G actually is the strongest conference, with down years for the ACC and an equally muddled Big East. Let's face it: the Pac-12 is garbage, the SEC hangs its hat on three teams, and the Big 12 falls off a cliff around West Virginia. 

Comment 14 Feb 2020

My blind rage is directed toward those on this site and elsewhere that declared There Will Be No Fade because This Team Is Different.  I don't know if it's willful blindness or arrogance.

I'm probably part of this group, mainly because I think this team has a different mental makeup than past teams. As far as the fade: if this team does experience a fade, it will be hard to view it objectively in relation to past years because of the injuries, suspension, etc. This team, with a healthy Frederick and aggressive Pemsl, is better than I thought they'd be. 

The bummer, which within context is softened, is that I think this team likely winds up as a 7-9 seed in the tourney. For this year with this team, I think that's a notable accomplishment. BUT, that's been the norm for McCaffery, and it's unfortunately created a huge barrier to the Sweet 16 and Fran's ability to take this program to "the next level." When you wind up in that 7-9 range, you end up having to play one of the best teams in the country for your second game. In past years, Iowa has had to play the likes of Gonzaga, Villanova, and Tennessee to reach the Sweet 16. That's not going to happen, despite a stellar effort last year to come back against Tennessee. Seeding matters, and McCaffery hasn't yet been able to land a team in the sweet spot to make the Sweet 16. 

Comment 14 Feb 2020

To continue to pull things into perspective:

Iowa is currently 17-8. They've only had one losing streak this year. They've played more ranked teams than any other squad in college hoops. They play in the best conference in college basketball. Like some past years, I expect at least partial regression to the mean. Hell, I didn't think this team would make the tourney, even in mid-January, so I consider what they've already done as exceeding expectations, especially with the swath of injuries. Going a disheartening 2-4 down this stretch still locks a bid, as they'd finish 19-12 and 10-10 in the strongest conference. If that happens, there will still be gnashing of teeth from those who insist on keeping their noses firmly pressed to the ground as opposed to turning their eyes to a panoramic view of the season. 

Comment 13 Feb 2020

My was more in response that "we really don't know the reason/circumstances for him to be driving".  I'm saying they're pretty irrelevant if you don't have the legal right to drive.

You're right, but you're also re-framing my original point. My initial response was regarding a comment about the length of the suspension. My point is that it was likely commensurate with the circumstances of the infraction. I'm admittedly at fault for commenting before noticing the 1 a.m. note in the linked article. My assertion that perhaps he was going to class or an appointment is idiotic. I buried myself with that notion. 

My prevailing argument, though, is still lingering at ground level. Pemsl's failures--while immature--are not moral failings. He made a dumb and dangerous mistake, and then exacerbated it with another poor decision. This isn't an excuse; it's simply an attempt at empathy. Keeping this all tied to the initial comment about suspension length, one game seems acceptable, and I'd make a case that Pemsl has a better chance at growing if he has the structure of the program to help facilitate his maturation. 

Your points about poor decision making and their long-term consequences are all warranted. I'm just focused on creating an environment where Pemsl is least likely to regress. My hope is that McCaffery and the basketball program offer that environment. 

Comment 13 Feb 2020

All of that has nothing to do with the suspension length. Are you proposing a longer suspension? Dismissal? Is there an implication that McCaffery is being too lenient? I don’t get the upheaval over the length, especially if the end goal is to help Pemsl grow and mature. 

Comment 12 Feb 2020

The kid should have known better.  Period.

I don't think anyone's arguing that fact. The discussion is whether a 1-game suspension is appropriate. My point is that aside from the time, no one knows the circumstances surrounding this. We're also not talking about a violent offense, and this obviously didn't involve further impaired driving, as that would have been noted in the article. 

Comment 12 Feb 2020

If the selection committee doesn't recognize the B1G with at least ten teams in, it'll be because of some weird sort of style-of-play bias. 

As for Iowa, no other team has played more ranked teams (8), and I believe the only team with as many wins against the Top 25 as Iowa is #1 Baylor.

Comment 12 Feb 2020

My guess is that it was deemed appropriate within the context of the situation. Perhaps Pemsl was trying to get to an appointment, class, or other obligation? It was ultimately a poor decision, but I presume the punishment would have been more severe if the reason for driving had been deemed frivolous.  

Comment 06 Feb 2020

Funny, because I remember agreeing with your take on basically everything last season.

Universal, continuous agreement on every subject makes for a rather boring world, so I'm glad we're at odds on something. 

Comment 06 Feb 2020

 I am a realist, and this coach can't seem to move Iowa into the top tier of this conference. It has been 40 years since our last Big Ten championship. It is time for a coaching change, IMO.

Did you take a break from watching during the {REDACTED} and Lickliter years? Because the kind of stance you're taking is what got Tom Davis canned and started arguably the darkest time in Hawkeye hoops in the modern era. McCaffery currently has a team decimated by injuries and comprised of a lot of young players nationally ranked and contending near the top of the toughest conference in basketball. And, Garza is certainly owed a lot of the credit for his development as a player, but McCaffery should also get at least a modicum of respect for the recruiting eye to spot Garza and the coaching that has Garza as a POTY candidate. 

McCaffery is not without his faults and shortcomings as a coach, but to sit here, at this time, with what this coach has done this year with this team, and continually call for a coaching change, is both asinine and reckless.

Comment 06 Feb 2020

This got extremely convoluted. In our world, no one will even remember you predicted the dissolution of the season back on 02/06/20. Go forth and prognosticate. 

Comment 06 Feb 2020

If Iowa goes 3-0 over the next three, I will be the first one to come into the comments and eat crow. 

A rather high bar to stake a mea culpa on. The way the B1G is going, there may not be a single team that goes 3-0 over the next three games. Iowa's basically averaging a loss every two weeks, which is pretty exceptional in this conference. 

Comment 06 Feb 2020

An astute observation, but it seems there are a select few roaming these threads who are waiting to pounce--for whatever reason--as opposed to being simply irrational. I get the sense a few take equal delight in besmirching McCaffery's coaching as they do in celebrating victories. 

Comment 06 Feb 2020

To dismiss talk of another meltdown because of this game as presumptuous is akin to Charlie Brown lining up to boot that field goal.

When this game comes on the heels of beating the conference leader in a physically and mentally taxing game.

When this game takes place on the road at one of the toughest venues in the best conference in basketball. A venue that has already vanquished the likes of Michigan State and Virginia. 

When it's evident this team is built different mentally than past meltdown years.

When all of the above is true, it's the epitome of presumptuous to start talking seriously about a meltdown after one loss.