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Saturday, January 15, 2005
 
Iowa 66, Minnesota 60
I entered Carver-Hawkeye Arena today for the first time in a month. Some unexpected losses occurred since the last home game I saw, but things today were about the same as when I left. They still played the parents-cover-your-children's ears warmup music, the pep band still played out of time, the student section was still deserted, Pierre Pierce still coughed the ball up, and Erek Hansen still bit on any shot fake in his direction. But despite some ugly play and a gruesome box score, it was good to be back.

Iowa got their first taste of victory in the Big Ten with what Coach Alford has been calling Iowa's conference opener. After apathetic outings against Michigan and Ohio State, Alford decided it was time to "wipe the slate clean" and go back to basics. Iowa played with a renewed vigor, especially at the start, in leading the Gophers wire-to-wire. They came out pushing the tempo off of rebounds and turnovers, as Alford had suggested they would. Iowa built the lead into double digits early on and maintained a "comfortable" lead (is any Iowa lead really comfortable?) of about 6-12 points the rest of the way.

Game Notes

This blog has often noted Iowa's struggles with post defense. A big part of that has been keeping the better defenders on the floor, as they are so inclined to foul. Here's a listing of the team, in order of most fouls per 40 minutes.

Doug Thomas, 7.05
Seth Gorney, 6.25
Erek Hansen, 4.72
Alex Thompson, 4.32
Greg Brunner, 4.18
Mike Henderson, 3.36
Pierre Pierce, 2.97
Adam Haluska, 2.74
Jeff Horner, 1.92
Carlton Reed, 1.73

*** Hawkeye Hoops Exclusive Update ***

Big Ten Leaders, fouls / 40 min (minimum 15 mpg)
Doug Thomas, Iowa.....................7.05
Pat Ewing, Jr, Indiana....................6.29
J'son Stamper, Minnesota............ 6.12
Matt Kiefer, Purdue........................4.82
Chris Hunter, Michigan..................4.74
Erek Hansen, Iowa......................4.72
Spencer Tollackson, Minnesota....4.70
Mohamed Hachad, N'Western......4.24
Carl Landry, Purdue......................4.23
Greg Brunner, Iowa....................4.18

Michigan State, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State have no regulars over 4 fouls / 40 min (unless your're counting the Badgers's Brian Butch, he of the 13 mpg). Most other teams only have one or two, while Iowa has Thomas, Hansen and Brunner above the admittedly arbitrary baseline. Gorney said on the radio tonight that he was trained in high school to keep his feet on ball fakes and shot attempts. That'll be a valuable skill to have if Houdini Hansen's Big Ten performances are indicative of his actual skill level.

Next up - Iowa travels to Illinois on Thursday to challenge the nation's #1 team. I'll be looking at Illinois next week.

Go Hawks!



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