Monday, January 4, 2016

Monday Munchies: Thoughts on the Rose Bowl, Iowa/Iowa State hoops, and March Madness in Des Moines

*Now that we've had some time for Iowa's Rose Bowl debacle to settle in, a fair question is being raised. What will be more remembered..the 12-0 regular season or getting blown out on the biggest stage for Iowa football in a long, long time. Because we live in the moment so much these days, it's easy right now to choose the loss against Stanford. But history teaches me that it will be the regular season that will be remembered the most. I look back at the 2002 season for Iowa and how special it was. Talk to most Iowa fans and I bet they remember the beat-down the Hawkeyes laid on Michigan in Ann Arbor. Or how about tearing down the goalposts in the Metrodome. Memories that will put a shine in any Iowa fans eyes when talking about them. Iowa's final game that year? A 38-17 blowout loss in the Orange Bowl to USC. What's the one memory from that game I have? Carson Palmer leading the Trojans on drives of 79, 80, 99, 85 and 61 yards? Nope. This is the play I will never forget. It will take awhile to wipe away the loss, sure. But give it some time and I bet thoughts of Iowa beating its rival ISU after the passing of Tyler Sash, Brett Greenwood leading the team on the field against Pitt followed by Marshall Koehn hitting the game-winning field goal, and beating Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nebraska all in the same season. These memories will be talked about in Iowa bars for decades to come.
*While the Rose Bowl took the headlines, it was the Iowa men's basketball team who stole the spotlight. In the same week, the Hawkeyes defeated #1 Michigan State and #14 Purdue. Not bad for a team that was predicted to be on the bubble prior to the year. And if this Iowa team doesn't fall flat on its face in conference play like the Alford teams were notorious for doing, the black and gold will be in the Tournament. South Sioux City's Mike Gesell was awesome against the Spartans. The senior put in 25 points and had his team in control the entire night. Iowa will look to keep this thing going tomorrow at home against Nebraska.
*If there was ever a "good loss," Iowa State picked one up Saturday night at now #2 Oklahoma. The Clones had the Sooners on the ropes for the games' entirety. Georges Niang had himself a night. 29 points on 13-18 shooting against a top-tier team had ESPN's Fran Fraschilla on-air claiming Georges is "the best offensive player in college basketball." When Iowa State needed a basket late, the Clones went to Georges. Niang having great basketball sense, felt the double-team come, and the senior kicked it out to Monte Morris. Although it isn't Morris' strong suite, Morris fired the 3-ball that would of given the Clones the lead. He missed. I have absolutely no problem with that shot. He was wide open and he knows how to make shots in clutch situations, as it's been proven over and over. Iowa State will get its chance at revenge in a few weeks from now when the Sooners visit Hilton on Big Monday.
*When the Sooners come to Ames, they might find Iowa State newcomer Deonte Burton in the starting lineup. The transfer from Marquette is averaging almost 14 points per game while shooting 68% from the field. Not only can he dunk, he can shoot. Burton was 83% from long-range this past week. It will be interesting to see what Iowa State coach Steve Prohm does as far as maybe moving Burton into the starting five.
*So today I was checking out the "Bracketology"..hey, it's never to early for March Madness! It looks like most sites have Iowa and Iowa State in that 3-5 range. But what's interesting to me is seeing Des Moines as a host site. I mean, the thought of Kentucky, Kansas, and Michigan State all coming to the Well in March has me giddy. If all three (Iowa, Iowa State, and UNI) make the Dance and we throw in Des Moines hosting, it will be the biggest March, basketball-wise, ever in the state. March can't get here soon enough..but let's enjoy some hoops along the way, shall we?

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