Thursday, December 25, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Advice To WOI-TV: Dump Your Newscasts


The folks at WOI-TV, the ABC-TV  channel in central Iowa, say they're making changes they hope will improve their news coverage. 

WOI has been at the bottom of the ratings around here since the TV camera was invented. 

When I moved to central Iowa in 1959, the station's headquarters were in Ames, and people thought it was run by administrators and students from Iowa State University. 

For that reason, viewers either didn't watch channel 5 or gave it an excuse for its lousy newscasts. 

They thought students studying journalism at Iowa State had to be reporters on WOI-TV to get a passing grade.

Later, the station moved to West Des Moines, and the newscasts are still awful. 

The network programming, however, is somewhat popular with viewers.

I mean, where else can people see stuff like Dancing With the Stars and The Bachelorette?  

To get away from crap like that, you've got to start watching Public TV or the History channel. 

As long as people continue to watch channel 5 to see programming like Scandal, Revenge, Nashville, How To Get Away With Murder and Manhattan--stuff that might be rated "R" at movie theaters--I guess the owners should be happy. 

Still, I have some advice for the bosses at the station. 

Cancel all of the news shows that nobody watches. 

As far as I know, it's not a law that a commercial TV station has to have a news department.

WOI could dump its anchor people, newscasters, weather people and sports reporters, and save lots of money. 

Those folks could then get meaningful jobs at Walmart and Hy-Vee.

At 5, 6 and 10 p.m., WOI-TV could air reruns of The Goldbergs.

I'm sure more viewers would rather see that instead of bottom-of-the-barrel news programming.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

That was quite a barnburner they had at the Knapp Center today. "It looked like an NBA game," Iowa women's coach Lisa Bluder said after the Hawkeyes' Samantha Logic scored with 3 seconds remaining to give her 23rd-ranked team a 100-98 victory over Drake. The 198 points the teams scored amounted to a record total in the series; the 43 points by the Bulldogs' Lizzy Wendell were the most in a women's game at the Knapp Center, and Melissa Dixon's 10 3-point field goals [in 14 attempts] were a Hawkeye record. Dixon wound up with 31 points as a crowd of 3,130 watched Iowa improve its record to 9-2. Drake is 5-6. "Believe me, Drake is better than a 5-6 team," said Bluder, who formerly coached at the school. Drake coach Jennie Baranczyk, a former Hawkeye player, called the game "a tough one because we played, obviously, a very good team in Iowa. But I think you got to see who Drake is. This [was] a game where you hate to be sitting on this side of it, but I am so proud of the fact that the two people sitting next to me [in the interview room] are sophomores [Caitlin Ingle and Wendell] because that means we have a really bright future."

Iowa 9-2
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
                           FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
51 Doolittle, Bethany.. c  6-11   0-0    3-7    1  2  3   4  15  4  1  1  1  32
02 Disterhoft, Ally.... g  6-11   1-3    5-8    0  3  3   0  18  1  1  1  1  35
15 Jennings, Whitney... g  5-8    1-1    5-7    1  1  2   4  16  4  1  0  1  24
21 Dixon, Melissa...... g 10-14  10-14   1-2    0  4  4   1  31  2  0  0  0  36
22 Logic, Samantha..... g  7-13   1-3    3-3    3  8 11   2  18  8  6  0  2  38
01 Kastanek, Alexa.....    0-4    0-1    0-0    0  1  1   1   0  0  0  0  1  12
03 Till, Claire........    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   2   0  0  0  0  0   7
23 Buttenham, Christina    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  0  0  0   2
25 Peschel, Kali.......    1-2    0-0    0-0    2  0  2   1   2  0  2  0  1  14
   TEAM................                         3  2  5
   Totals..............   35-64  13-22  17-27  10 22 32  16 100 19 11  2  7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 17-34 50.0%   2nd Half: 18-30 60.0%   Game: 54.7%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  8-15 53.3%   2nd Half:  5-7  71.4%   Game: 59.1%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  1-4  25.0%   2nd Half: 16-23 69.6%   Game: 63.0%   2,1

Drake 5-6
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS  
                          FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
03 Wendell, Lizzy...... f 15-24   7-11   6-6    2  2  4   2  43  0  3  0  0  33
11 Heap, Liza.......... f  1-4    0-3    0-1    5  4  9   4   2  3  0  0  4  36
35 Jonas, Becca........ c  7-9    1-2    4-4    5  8 13   4  19  3  2  1  0  30
22 Ingle, Caitlin...... g  8-22   0-4    1-3    0  4  4   4  17 10  2  0  2  38
34 Rush, Cortni........ g  0-0    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   2   0  2  1  0  1  12
01 Grenfell, Carly.....    2-3    2-3    2-2    0  1  1   0   8  0  3  0  0  22
15 Greiner, Paige......    0-2    0-2    0-0    0  2  2   4   0  1  1  0  0   7
20 Dean, Maddy.........    3-7    3-7    0-0    0  4  4   2   9  0  0  0  0  22
   TEAM................                         3  1  4
   Totals..............   36-71  13-32  13-16  15 27 42  22  98 19 12  1  7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 18-33 54.5%   2nd Half: 18-38 47.4%   Game: 50.7%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  8-16 50.0%   2nd Half:  5-16 31.3%   Game: 40.6%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  4-4  100 %   2nd Half:  9-12 75.0%   Game: 81.3%    0

Officials: Felicia Grinter, Eric Baker, Trey Miles
Technical fouls: Iowa-None. Drake-None.
Attendance: 3,130
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Iowa..........................   43   57  -  100
Drake.........................   48   50  -   98

Points in the paint-IOWA 38,DU 36. Points off turnovers-IOWA 15,DU 14.
2nd chance points-IOWA 14,DU 20. Fast break points-IOWA 12,DU 9.
Bench points-IOWA 2,DU 17. Score tied-6 times. Lead changed-18 times.
Last FG-IOWA 2nd-00:03, DU 2nd-00:09.
Largest lead-IOWA by 8 2nd-02:56, DU by 7 1st-02:32.
IOWA led for 22:54. DU led for 15:41. Game  was tied for 01:16.
[Thanks to Darren Miller of and John Meyer of 
for their contributions].

Saturday, December 20, 2014

When they were paying me to write about collegiate basketball in the previous century, I always enjoyed watching Jess Settles play for the Hawkeyes. Good shooter, good rebounder, tough competitor. Little did I know then that there would someday be a Big Ten TV network and that Settles would, in 2014, be an entertaining commentator on it. I enjoyed listening to Settles during Northern Iowa's 56-44 victory over Iowa tonight in the Big Four Classic at Wells Fargo Arena. As I pointed out in an earlier column, I chose to be in church late this afternoon and early tonight so I could hear Christmas music. Consequently, I didn't go to the games involving this state's Division I teams. In the first game, Iowa State crushed Drake, 83-54. All I care to say about that trainwreck is I'm wondering how long the coaches and administrators at Drake expect Bulldog fans to maintain their patience. The Drake faithful deserve much more than what they're getting this season from a rag-tag team representing a university with a strong basketball tradition. For Drake's sake, it's a good thing TV coverage of its 29-point loss was limited to lowly Mediacom. Now back to Settles and the second game, which saw Northern Iowa play outstanding defense and take advantage of another last-half Hawkeye collapse. In this day and age, it's difficult for any major-college team to connect on just 3 of 24 field goal attempts in the second half [you don't see that very often in the noon league at the YMCA], but Iowa found a way to pull it off. Settles made a point of saying a number of UNI players actually wanted to be recruited by Iowa, but weren't, and used tonight's performance to show that Hawkeye coaches made mistakes by snubbing them. Whatever the case, UNI clearly outplayed Iowa, and deserves to be among the nation's top 25 teams in next week's national rankings. By the way, the Christmas music at Mt. Olive Lutheran tonight was sensational.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I guess I'm happy to learn that a basketball event known as the Big Four Classic will be played for three more seasons after this one. The athletic directors from Drake, Northern Iowa, Iowa and Iowa State made that decision. The third Big Four Classic will be contested Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Des Moines. Drake, which has won just two games so far this season, gets the unenviable assignment of playing the Iowa State team that is Final Four-bound and absolutely hammered [without even using a hammer] Iowa, 90-75, last week in Iowa City. The Drake-Iowa State game starts at 4 p.m., followed by the Northern Iowa-Iowa game at 6:30. I'm going out on a limb to suggest that the Panthers have the best chance of providing a Missouri Valley Conference victory that night. UNI was in the top 25 rankings for one week, but now isn't. Still, the Panthers are an excellent team, and I think they'll represent themselves well Saturday. If they don't beat Iowa, they'll come close.. Iowa State, of course, will be able to name the score against Drake. Cyclone coach Fred Hoiberg is a good guy [I know because I got to know him while covering his games when he played for Iowa State], so I think he'll have some compassion for the vastly overmatched Bulldogs. The arena, which seats 15,124 for basketball, is sold out Saturday. It was decided today that the Big Four Classic received a two-season extension from the four athletic directors. Obvviously, people like the event. The first Big Four Classic in 2012 attracted 13,180 fans, the second one last season drew 14,512. The Big Four Classic was arranged after Iowa and Iowa State decided they didn't want to play Drake and UNI of the Missouri Valley under a different format. It used to be that Iowa and Iowa State played at the Knapp Center in Des Moines against Drake and at UNI's arena in Cedar Falls against the Panthers . That's no longer the case, and it's a shame. So the Valley schools get to take their shots against the major college boys in the Big Four Classic. A guy asked me today if I planned to be at The Well for this week's games. "Can't make it," I said. "I'm going to church at 4:30 Saturday afternoon. There are a couple of big Christmas vocal events that day and night. Maybe I'll be ale to watch part of the UNI-Iowa game on TV."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Catching Up With Steve Alford


While doing some channel-flipping late last night, I caught the last few minutes of
Steve Alford
Gonzaga's 87-74 basketball victory over UCLA. 

Now don't get the idea I'm a fan of either team. 

All I wanted to do was see how Steve Alford was behaving these days. 

Alford, of course, is the former Iowa coach [and all-American as a player at Indiana]. 

He had a 152-106 record from 1999-2007 at Iowa, but didn't leave Iowa City under the greatest of terms. 

In other words, he outwore his welcome and, when he told his bosses he was resigning so he could take the New Mexico job, not a tear was shed.  

Let's put it this way--Alford leaving for New Mexico was good for lots of people, including himself, his family, Iowa's fans and New Mexico's fans. 

Alford did well at New Mexico, then was the surprising [surprising to me anyway] choice to be UCLA's coach. 

Alford signed on for 7 years at $18.2 million per season. 

Not bad.  

I'll bet John Wooden, the best basketball coach UCLA ever had and maybe the best that collegiate basketball has ever had, rolled over in his grave when he heard those numbers.

Hand it to Alford. 

He did well in his first season with the Bruins, going 28-9 in 2013-2014 and making it to the Sweet Sixteen of the Big Dance.

That was good enough to get a one-year contract extension from his bosses at UCLA.

Three players from the 2013-2014 team were first-round draft choices by NBA teams, so things are different this season. 

Last night's 13-point loss to 9th-ranked Gonzaga made UCLA's record 8-3 heading into Saturday's game against the best collegiate team in the land, Kentucky, at Chicago. 

That's not going to be pretty--for UCLA, I mean. 

Alford's two sons are on his UCLA roster, and starting guard Bryce Alford scored 23 points last night. 

Kory, the other son, is a reserve and doesn't play much.  

As so often happens when sons play for their dad's team, Alford has received criticism from some UCLA followers, who say their presence on the roster takes playing time away from other players who are perhaps more talented. 

That goes with the territory. 

If anyone can handle it, Steve Alford can.

Friday, December 12, 2014

These Cyclones Look Like a Final Four Team To Me


It was a full night of basketball for me, starting with the high school doubleheader between Valley and Urbandale in the Bill Coldiron Fieldhouse on Valley's campus. 

Valley's third-ranked girls' team improved their record to 5-0 with an impressive 73-49 victory, then Urbandale's boys remained unbeaten by free throwing Valley to death in a 65-62 decision. 

I had my TV set up to tape the Iowa-Iowa State game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, and watched the Cyclones' superb 90-75 rout of an Iowa squad that obviously isn't ready to compete against a power-laden team like Cyclone coach Fred Hoiberg brought into Iowa City. 

Iowa State staged its spectacular offensive and defensive show without starter Bryce Dejean-Jones, who was suspended. 

But Iowa State obviously didn't need Dejean-Jones, who is averaging 17.1 points, and now he's well aware that his team can get along just fine without him. 

My guess is that he'll clean up his act from now on. 

At least he'd better clean up his act.

If not, he knows the consequences. 

As far as I'm concerned, this looks like an Iowa State team, with or without Dejean-Jones, that is fully capable of winning both the Big 12 regular-season championship and the league's postseason title. 

It's obviously Hoiberg's best team at Iowa State, and I think it has a solid chance of going to the NCAA Final Four. 

I'm not predicting a national championship because I've seen the kind of talent Kentucky has, and someone would have to be silly to say there's any team around [unless you mention the San Antonio Spurs] that can match up with the Wildcats. 

But we'll worry about that stuff in March. 

Right now, Iowa State has a 7-1 record and is ranked 14th nationally. 

I'm not sure there are 13 other teams better than the Cyclones, but rankings at this time of year mean absolutely nothing. 

Hoiberg is the right man for the Iowa State job, and he's got the program rolling in a bigtime manner. 

It's going to be a fun and very productive season for the Cyclones.

The sellout crowd in the arena tonight saw some of the fun when Georges Niang blew a kiss to the Iowa student section in the game's final stages. 

Those things come easy when you're winning, and winning big. 

The Hawkeyes didn't blow any kisses to the fans tonight, and their fans didn't blow any kisses at them.

At least during the basketball game. 

Iowa, after all, is still learning to play basketball the way it needs to be played to succeed at the highest level of collegiate competition.

That was never more evident than in the last half of tonight's game. 

During a few stages, it was like men playing against boys.  

A few people thought that maybe the Hawkeyes were ready for prime time when they won at North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. 

Now I'm wondering if North Carolina has much game.  

But the Hawkeyes will have some fun times this season, too--just not nearly as many as Iowa State.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Winter Concert presented tonight by Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School turned into a virtual sing-along. Not only did the Valley and Southwoods vocalists treat an overflow crowd at the Valley Performing Arts Center with some superb sounds, the audience was invited to stand and sing such songs as Deck the Halls, Winter Wonderland, Let It Snow!, Sleigh Ride and Jingle Bells to celebrate the season. Obviously, a great time was had by all. Now I'm ready for Christmas.

Bryce Dejean-Jones sure knows how to do a bigtime job of screwing up coach Fred Hoiberg's game plan for the most important non-conference game of Iowa State's basketball season.

Hey, Barry Alvarez is catching onto this act pretty well. For the second time in three years, the Wisconsin athletic director will serve as the Badgers' football coach in a bowl game. This time, Alvarez [Wisconsin's coach from 1990-2005] will do the coaching when Wisconsin plays Auburn in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day in Tampa, Fla. He'll be the coach instead of Gary Andersen, who abruptly left the Badgers' job Wednesday so he could become the new coach at Oregon State. As far as I know, Andersen still hasn't explained why he left after just two seasons at Wisconsin. I'd guess it might have something to do with the 59-0 game his team lost less than a week ago in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Indianapolis. If I were a Badgers fan, I'd probably say good riddance after that debacle. On Jan. 1, 2013, Alvarez also was called into duty as Wisconsin's coach after former Iowa player Bret Bielema quit at Wisconsin so he could take the Arkansas job. Wisconsin lost to Stanford in the Rose Bowl, 20-14, that season. I guess Wisconsin's players like it when Alvarez, a former Iowa assistant coach in the Hayden Fry era, coaches them in bowl games. A bigger question is why the real coaches don't want to stay in the Wisconsin coaching job.

Barry Alvarez and Wisconsin players. Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Fist Bumping the Doctor


I could tell something wasn't right with My Neighbor Al, The Health Nut when he came over today for an early-afternoon cup of Italian Dark Roast.

"What's the problem, Al?" I asked.

"Oh, it's not even worth mentioning. I've been bothered by a cold for the last couple of weeks," he answered. "It's made me feel crappy most of the time."

"I can understand," I said. "That kind of stuff seems to be going around. Did you have your flu shot?"

"Yes, me and the missus both got our shots at the Mercy walk-in clinic in Clive," Al said. "I'd hate to blame my problems on the flu shot, but you never know, do you?"

"You sure don't," I said. "All I can say is, you're not getting any younger, so make sure that cold doesn't develop into pneumonia or something."

"I'm watching it carefully," Al said. "I had a doctor's appointment today, but not for the cold. Actually, I felt a little better while talking to the doctor."

"Why was that?" I asked.

"Well, she had a cold, too," Al explained. "Kind of the same stuff I've had. She calls it 'The Crud,' and she said it kept her in bed for two days the week after Thanksgiving. She didn't even shake my hand like she usually does. She and I did a fist bump.

"So the fist bump made you feel better?" I asked. 

"Not so much that," Al said. "I just felt a little better knowing I had a cold and probably wouldn't get sick being around the doctor. Hell, she was coughing more than I am.

"Pour me another cup. That Italian Dark Roast feels good on my throat."

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The TaxSlayer Bowl & Other Stuff


Here's some football news that may or not trip your trigger. 

And, no, I'm not referring to the fact that
Baylor and TCU of the Big 12 Conference today got shut out of the four-team football playoff that's the first step in deciding the collegiate national championship. 

I know you've been breathlessly waiting to find out what bowl game Iowa is going to, and what team the Hawkeyes play. 

Well, Iowa, with a 7-5 record, is matched up against Tennessee, which at 6-6 has an even poorer record, in something called the TaxSlayer Bowl on Jan. 2 in Jacksonville, Fla.

Did I hear you say you've never heard of the TaxSlayer Bowl? 

Well, neither had I until I began researching it. 

I guess that's why the game is played the day after New Year's. At 2:20 p.m., Iowa time. 

Actually, the TaxSlayer Bowl used to be called the Gator Bowl, and Iowa played in it, and lost in it, to Florida in 1983 on a real cold day and night.  

[Hint: If you're going to the game, take your long-johns and your flask. It sometimes gets cold in Florida in January].

The TaxSlayer Bowl now waits out there for teams with 7-5 and 6-6 records. 

ESPN is televising the game, and that's where I'll be watching it. 

No long-johns or flask needed.

Now getting back to that national championship stuff. 

The only question heading into today was whether Baylor or TCU of the Big 12 would be joining Alabama, Oregon and Florida State in the four-team mini-tournament. 

Neither made it. Ohio State did. 

I figured that's what would happen once the Buckeyes clobbered Wisconsin, 59-0, in the Big Ten title game last night.  

I'm sure people on the selection committee looked for all kinds of reasons to pick Ohio State over Baylor and TCU. 

Strength of schedule, conference tournament games, stuff like that. 

Woody Hayes photo  courtesy of Google
But the real reason is that the committee wanted Ohio State, a storied name in collegiate football [remember, it once had a coach named Woody Hayes, who was fired after punching an opposing player [pictured at the left] in the 1978 Gator [not TaxSlayer] Bowl. 

The selection committee wanted Ohio State  in this year's tournament, and not a church school like Baylor or a school with initials like TCU [it, too, was once a church school when it was known as Texas Christian University].  

I'm not a fan of any of the four schools in the tournament. 

The only one I kind of like is Oregon because of its sometimes-green, sometimes-yellow
Oregon players, courtesy of Google

Go, Ducks. 

Meanwhile, ex-Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby, who now is commissioner of the Big 12, had better add a couple of teams to his league, put in divisions and hold a playoff so it will be more appealing to the playoff people.

After all, Baylor and TCU don't want to be left out of collegiate football's four-team dance forever.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Number Of Us Are Very Happy and Thankful


I'm both happy and thankful today. I'm happy and thankful that Iowa State's horrible 2-10  football season is finally over.  I'm thankful the Cyclones' coaches, players and student managers don't have to suffer any longer in a year that produced a Big Eight Conference record of 0-9. However, I am well aware that I am not the only person who is both happy and thankful. Also very happy and very thankful on this December day are the head coaches of the 12 teams that are on Iowa State's 2015 schedule.  Those 12 guys are happy and thankful that Paul Rhoads will be back as the Cyclones' coach.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

My Neighbor Al Got Fired Up When I Told Him About Nebraska's New Football Coach. Al Thought the New Guy Was Ex-Hawkeye Mike Reilly Of Dubuque. I Said He Had the Wrong Mike. It's Mike Riley Of Oregon State. Al Said, 'Mike Who From Where?'


My Neighbor Al, the Health Nut came over for a cup of Italian Dark Roast at mid-afternoon.

He was in a decent mood, which is usually the case after he's had an appointment with one of his doctors.

"I feel like I could run 10 miles!" Al told me.

 "Easy now," I said. "Ten miles might be about 9 miles too many. How come you're feeling so good?"

"Because my LDL went from 100 to 90 on my latest blood test."

I know all about LDL and HDL. LDL is bad cholesterol and HDL is good cholesterol.  I'm well aware that Al has been working on his LDL, trying to get it as low as he can.  In addition to taking a Lipitor  tablet every night for his cholesterol, he's swallowing three fish oil pills every morning.

"That's great, Al," I said about his improved LDL score. "But let's talk about your cholesterol some other time. Right now, I want to talk some football. Did you hear that Nebraska hired a new coach today?"

"No, I didn't," Al said. "Who is he?"
New Nebraska coach Mike Riley

"Mike Riley," I answered.

"You mean the guy from Dubuque who used to play linebacker for the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings in the1960s?" Al asked. "After his playing days were over, I listened to him talk football on radio station WMT in Cedar Rapids. He was Ron Gonder's color man on the Iowa broadcasts. Damn good color man. But when did he leave radio work and go into coaching?"

"No, not that guy, Al." I said. "I'm not talking about Mike Reilly of Dubuque. I'm talking
Ex-Hawkeye, Bear, Viking Mike Reilly
about Mike Riley of Oregon State. Different spelling of the last name."

"Mike Who? Mike Riley of Oregon State?" Al said. "I thought there was only one team in Oregon, and it was the University of Oregon. I didn't know football was a major sport at Oregon State."

"Well, Oregon State actually has a Division I team," I said. . "I know all we ever hear about is Oregon and those flashy green and yellow uniforms. Mike Riley coached Oregon State to a 5-7 record this season."

"You mean Nebraska hired a guy who went 5-7 this season to  to replace Bo Pelini, who was fired after going 9-3?" Al said. "What kind of sense does that make?"

"Probably no sense at all," I answered. "Riley no doubt wanted out from under Oregon's shadow. The Huskers aren't in anybody's shadow in Nebraska--at least not in football. But Creighton is the best basketball school over there."

"Was Mike Riley the first choice at Nebraska?" Al asked.

"I doubt it," I said. "I'm hearing that Bret Bielema, the  old Iowa linebacker who coached at Wisconsin and now is at Arkansas, turned down the Nebraska job before it was offered to Riley."

"Too bad," Al said. "It would've been fun having Bielema back in the Big Ten. I always liked his postgame handshakes with Jim Walden when he was playing for Iowa and Walden was coaching Iowa State.

"Pour me another cup."

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

All Right, So It Wasn't a Work Of Art. But When It Comes Time To Pick Teams for the NCAA's Big Dance In March, Nobody Is Going To Bother Asking How Pretty Iowa's 60-55 Vixtory Over No. 12 North Carolina Was In December


Hey, that was quite a basketball game the Hawkeyes won tonight.

I wouldn't call it a Rembrandt or anything, but when the NCAA selection committee chooses
teams for its Big Dance in March, nobody is going to be asking how pretty Iowa's 60-55 victory over 12th-ranked North Carolina was.

Despite shooting just 32.7 percent, despite Aaron White going without a field goal all night and despite Jarrod Uthoff missing 11 of 13 shots, it was pretty enough to saddle North Carolina with a loss at home in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge that turned out to be one-sided in favor of the Big Ten.

I mentioned that Iowa shot only 32.7 percent from the field. Well, North Carolina's players shot even worse.  Their percentage was a paltry 27.9.

Back in the days when I was doing this stuff for a living, I'd probably have written something like this:

Iowa and North Carolina set collegiate basketball back to the days before the previous century--the 20th century, not the 21st century--with their offenses....

You get the idea.

But a guy only writes that way when the team he's supposed to be covering loses.  

When the team he's covering wins, he writes that the lousy shooting by both teams was the result of outstanding [heck, maybe even tenacious] defenses.

OK, so it wasn't a game for the ages. 

Maybe basketball inventorJames Naismith, wherever he is these days, won't be putting it into his top 10

We all know that. 

Don't forget, I already wrote that it wasn't a Rembrandt.

And we know Dick Vitale, the ESPN commentator, used the lulls [some of them darn long lulls] in the action to talk about his new book. 

For Vitale's sake and his publisher's sake, I  hope he sold a few books during the game.

Mike Gesell, who scored 16 points for Iowa, put together a 3-point play with 1:16 left in the game to decide things.

I thought he outplayed Marcus Paige, the North Carolina guard who is a native Iowan and was a high school standout at Linn-Marion.  Paige scored 13 points and looked pretty ordinary.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

See Ya Down the Road, Brady


It comes as absolutely no surprise to me that Brady Hoke is history as Michigan's football coach. Brady has been a dead man walking for six weeks or more. After winning 11 games in the first of his four years at Michigan, Hoke won five games in the recently concluded 2014 season. No victory over hated rival Ohio State. No bowl game. To illustrate how badly things are screwed up at Michigan, the athletic director who began the 2014-2015 school year there wasn't the one who fired Hoke today.  The
Brady Hoke
other guy was dumped a few weeks ago. Just think. Once upon a time Michigan's athletic department was the model of stability. Anyway, I'm not feeling sorry for Brady Hoke and Michigan anymore than I've been feeling sorry for Bo Pelini and Nebraska the past few days. I'm pretty sure both universities will be able to field football teams next season, and Pelini and Hoke won't be on food stamps.