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Sunday, January 16, 2005
 
Feelin' Good
The lead sentence of Randy Peterson's article in the Sunday DM Register used 10 words to describe a feeling that yesterday took me over 1,300 words to express - "All is well again with the Iowa men's basketball team." Steve Batterson of the QC Times was even more succint - "Looks aren't everything."

If you saw nothing but the box score from Saturday's game against Minnesota, those statements would clearly be difficult to reconcile. Iowa shot 19-55 from the field and 5-21 on threes for an atrocious adjFG% of 39%. They managed only 66 points on about 72 possessions, for an offensive rating of 92. And yet this from Greg Brunner -
“It looked great to me. It looked like a lot of guys out there having some
fun, playing hard and having a good time. It was exactly what we needed.”
Huh? I normally shy away from discussing intangibles and subjective factors of performance, but I have to agree with Peterson, Batterson and Brunner. When I was at the game, the level of play was sharp enough that I didn't notice the shooting woes. Players were hustling for loose balls and playing great defense, and the team was getting, for the most part, good looks at the basket on offense. I think missing good shots can be better than making bad ones, in the long term. If Horner and Haluska keep getting decent looks, they won't stay cold forever. Coach Alford concurs -
“There are games when you wonder why we took this shot or that shot, but I
didn’t have that feeling. I thought we were getting the shots we wanted to get,
but they just weren’t falling.”
Another thing I didn't notice during the game was that Iowa went the last 10:45 of the game without a field goal. But really, who needs field goals when you attempt 24 free throws in that stretch?

Coach Alford identifed his team's problem in the first two games as a lack of energy and enthusiasm, and the team worked double-time on their week off to take care of the situation.
“We worked all week to get our energy and spirit back, and I saw that against a
team that came here with a great deal of confidence. We got to loose balls, we
blocked seven shots and had 10 steals. We didn’t make a lot of shots, but we did
a lot of other things well.”
With that problem taken care of, and given the way the team played yesterday, I'm confident that the last two games were an aberration and that the team that started 12-1 is the one we're more likely to see going forward. Now if only we weren't going forward to 18-0 Illinois..........

Note - All quotes taken from Batterson article

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