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Saturday, December 11, 2004
Iowa 70, Iowa State 63
Iowa wins the state championship! I get the feeling that Iowa residents were satisfied with the 1-2-3 finish of Iowa, UNI, and Iowa State, since that mirrors the number of Iowa players on each team. The Hawks have 8 on their roster, while UNI has 7 and Iowa State just 3 (Drake has 5, but I don't know many Iowans who align their rooting interest with the Bulldogs' fortunes). By the way, my apologies for taking forever to get this post up. I spent as much time at my final on Friday as I did in bed in the night before, and after the mandatory post-game trip to Old Chicago, sleep was the only thing on my mind.

Everyone is no doubt aware that this was Adam Haluska's first game against the team that he transferred away from after Larry Eustachy resigned from his coaching duties. He played very well last night, even earning Hawkeye Hoops Player of the Game, but I don't want to parrot everything that's already been said by the Quad City Times and Des Moines Register, or even the AP's Chuck Schoffner. Suffice it to say that Haluska was the offensive bright spot in a game that featured a lot of tough defense and missed shots.

Game Notes

Thursday, December 09, 2004
Herky vs. Cy
Ben at Hilton Magic has an accurate rundown of typical arguments Iowa and ISU fans get into, including this gem:
Cy: Iowa's fans are all 80 years old and wearing the same polyester jacket
they bought before the 1980 Rose Bowl.
That so perfectly fits my perception of some fans that I seriously can't stop laughing. Cheers to youthful arrogance!

Note to the Nerds
A guest-blogger at Yoni Cohen's College Basketball Blog recently commented on some interesting issues regarding statistical analysis in college basketball. If you're interested in that kind of stuff, check out posts one and two.

Also recommended are Ken Pomeroy's site, Blah blah blah, his excellent team ratings, and Dean Oliver's (no, not that Dean Oliver. . . the smart one) primer on a few advanced basketball stats (nothing too complicated, I promise).

I've been reading a bit on stats-related stuff lately and I'll try to incorporate what I learn into future posts.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004
Iowa 76, Northern Iowa 73
Finally, an exciting home game! Iowa looked like they were getting ready to put the exlamation point on a win over a talented UNI team, right up until the offense went stale in the second half and the Panthers' shooters got hot. Before you knew it, UNI held the ball with 18 seconds on the clock and only a one point deficit. The clear go-to option was Ben Jacobsen, who had been draining shots of various difficulty all game. UNI got him the ball, but Pierre Pierce was shadowing every step he took, and Jacobsen missed a tough jumper. Iowa's Jeff Horner ended up on the floor with his ninth rebound of the game and a referee signaling a foul on UNI. Horner went to the line to shoot a 1-and-1 with 4.5 seconds left. He calmly dropped in both shots. Whew, three point cushion. UNI could only get off a half-court shot, but it rim and had everyone holding their breath. The way the game had gone back and forth, I doubt many people would have been surprised if it the shot had dropped.

In a game that was hyped for all the talented guards involved, it was the big men that repeatedly came through. UNI's Eric Coleman finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists. For Iowa it was Erek Hansen hitting his first six shots early, including a three-pointer, en route to a 13 point first half, and Greg Brunner carrying the team with 12 points in a three or four minute stretch in the second half. Brunner finished with a team-high 23 points.

Game Notes

Two-pronged Rant

Monday, December 06, 2004
New AP Poll
AP voters apparently see Iowa as the second best team in the Big Ten right now, as they were placed ahead of both Michigan State and Wisconsin in the new poll. Iowa still trails Illinois, who vaulted from #5 last week to top the chart this week after a big win over Wake Forest.

1. Illinois
17. Iowa
20. Michigan State
24. Wisconsin

Michigan received three votes and Indiana drew the sympathy of a single voter.

The Hawkeyes remain behind two teams they beat on consecutive days - #13 Louisville and #14 Texas. The lone loss on Iowa's 6-1 record was to now-#8 North Carolina.

Before the season, I certainly doubted Iowa could finish second in the conference. The results so far make them look like more and more of a contender. While there is still plenty of basketball to be played, Iowa's favorable schedule won't hinder their quest to knock off the early season powers in Madison and East Lansing.

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