Monday, February 29, 2016



For many years in the previous century, I traveled to basketball arenas and football stadiums around the nation,

In those years, I observed a lot of late-game and late-season collapses by various teams. 

Those collapses are still happening now, and they'll happen in the future. 

Different seasons. Different teams. Different coaches.

I'm glad I no longer have to figure out why those late-game and late-season collapses are happening, and whether they're the fault of the players, the coaches, or both.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Division III Zebras


Indeed, that was a high-stakes Big Ten basketball game Iowa and Ohio State played today at Columbus. 

The Buckeyes won it, 68-64. 

It was major-college stuff in a couple of ways. 

Division I matchup. Division I drama.  

It was too bad Division III officials worked the game. 

Those three confused zebras managed to screw  both teams. 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Valley's Defense Smothers Roosevelt, 51-27


Big game. Big stakes. Big crowd.

And, as far as Valley's basketball team was concerned, big defense.

Big defense in tonight's class 4-A substate game.

So often we talk and write about offense in basketball games at every level of competition.

Three-point baskets, dunk shots, shooting percentages, stuff like that.

Not enough do we talk and write about defense.

This is about defense. 

This was the scene in the third quarter at the Bill Coldiron Fieldhouse on Valley's campus in West Des Moines:

Roosevelt of Des Moines 21, Valley 21.

If you were there, you had to figure it would be a tight struggle to the finish in a tournament game in which the loser would be saying adios to its season.


Valley proceeded to score the next 19 points and defended tenaciously to score a surprisingly easy 51-27 victory.

The Tigers' smothering defense limited Roosevelt to 13 points in the first half, 14 in the second half.

After the 21-21 deadlock, Valley outscored Roosevelt by a whopping 30-6.

So it's on to Tuesday night's 7 o'clock substate final against Ankeny Centennial at Dallas Center-Grimes for a Valley team that played its best game since it was ranked No. 1 in the state earlier in the season and before Peyton Long had his knee scoped and Carlo Marble broke a bone in his left wrist.

Both Long and Marble are playing, and playing very well.

So did the rest of the Tigers tonight.



Not everyone reads Twitter.

I mean, tweeting and being tweeted ain't for everyone.

I try to read as many tweets as I can, but I'll be darned if I'm going to sink into Twitter/tweet overload at this stage of my life.

Seth Davis
But someone who spends a lot of time tweeting, writing, and talking as the collegiate basketball season roars to its finish is nationally-known and nationally-respected Seth Davis.

Davis has been spending recent days tweeting about what's going on with the teams we'll be seeing in the upcoming NCAA Big Dance.

I found what he wrote about Iowa State  very interesting.

Somewhat stunning, too.

The Cyclones, as we all know, are having a good-but-not-great season  in coach Steve Prohm's first term as the successor to Fred Hoiberg.

I've seen some of Iowa State's games, but certainly not all of 'em.

I mean, I don't let the telecast of a collegiate basketball game get in the way of something I really want to do.

In a recent tweet, Davis wrote, "I spoke with three coaches [head coaches and assistants] from the Big 12 and Big East, plus two from the Pac 12...I granted the coaches anonymity so they would give it to us straight. Then I pried, provoked and prompted them to divulge the potential weak points and tendencies of these teams.If these assessments seem unduly harsh, that is my fault, not theirs...."

Here's what Davis wrote about Iowa State:

Iowa State [19–9, 8–7]: "Everybody in the league knows they will not foul because they only have six or seven guys. So you just have to drive it and go at 'em. [Senior forward Georges] Niang is a great offensive player, so you have to post him and make him play defense, because he's not going to foul and he's not an athlete. When he drives, you have to make him a finisher because he's really good at passing the ball. If Niang is standing still, he's a big-time passer; but once he gets moving, he can't stop. He's so big and bulky. He loves to go baseline and then spin back into that righty hook, so you have to try to wall him in on the baseline. [Coach] Steve [Prohm] has done a good job keeping continuity after Fred [Hoiberg] left. They're pretty much running all the same plays, which is smart. I heard when Fred was there that sometimes [senior forward Jameel] McKay didn't want to practice, which Fred allowed, but Steve isn't allowing that. They survived without him, but they're not nearly as good when he's out. [Junior guard Monte] Morris has become such a better scorer. His transformation from three years ago is amazing. He only scores when he needs to, but he hits some big shots."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS--Frankly, I'm shocked with some of that.  I have known Fred Hoiberg for many years.  I covered him as a collegiate player at Iowa State. I regard Fred Hoiberg as a no-nonsense, stand-up guy who is one of the best basketball coaches in America, and I can't imagine him allowing Jameel McKay to sit out practices. I think Cyclone fans who are a bit disappointed in what's happened in Prohm's first season will appreciate what Davis wrote about him. I know Randy Peterson of the paper is on top of everything at Iowa State. He has good sources and he's not reluctant to write what he finds out and what he thinks. I agree with what he's been writing about Iowa State's defense--or, rather, the lack of it. He'll get to the bottom of whether McKay actually sat out practices last season when Hoiberg was the coach, and he'll inform his readers what he learns.  The job won't be easy. It never is. I'm just glad I don't have to investigate crap like that anymore.  I did it for a lot of years.  Now it's somebody else's turn].

Monday, February 22, 2016

More On the Sports Illustrated Screwup

An email from Mike Swan:

I saw your [Feb. 19] reference to the
error in the SI article about Jarrod

Not to brag (and it's about the
only way I'm going to get into
SI) but I did have a letter printed in
the national magazine in 2011.
That's pretty heady stuff for
an old-school guy like me. I
also sent the note at
the bottom of this along. 

This makes me think about how we used to
sit around before school in the high
school library and discuss all the great
sports headlines and stories of the day.
Finding an error in Sports Illustrated
was next to impossible. I can imagine
our shock if an error like the one in
the February 8 issue happened back then.

Dear Sports Illustrated,

In your otherwise compelling article on
Jarrod Uthoff (Reeling In The Wins),
there was, unfortunately, one error that
stood out. After Uthoff's time at the
University of Wisconsin, it said he
journeyed to Ames. Of course, he went to
the University of Iowa and Iowa City. My
fellow Iowa State fans and I certainly
know Uthoff. He torched the Cyclones 
in Hilton Coliseum for 30 points in the
first half back on December 10 in Ames. 

Fortunately, Matt Thomas and the rest of
team held him in check for only two
points in the second half of a thrilling
83-82 Iowa State win. We've certainly
enjoyed watching Uthoff since then.


Michael Swan
Student Sports Media Adviser
Butler Community College
El Dorado, Kan.
[RON MALY'S COMMENTS-Great hearing from
former Iowan [and longtime Cyclone fan]
Mike Swan. You'd have thought Brian
Hamilton, who wrote the story on Uthoff
and the Hawkeyes for Sports Illustrated,
would've known the Iowa campus is
located in Iowa City. He worked for
newspapers in St.Paul and Chicago before
going to SI. Hamilton would no doubt
like to blame a copy editor for the
screwup in his magazine, but my guess is
there are few, if any, copy editors
still employed at the magazine anymore
after layoffs, firings and buyouts.
Sports Illustrated, after all, is
fighting the same economic battles
other companies in the print journalism
business are facing: The lack of the
advertising dollar. I've never seen SI
as skinny as it is now. Frankly, I'm
wondering if the once-proud magazine
is going to survive. To me, this is a 
sad thing because, for a number of years,
I was on the magazine's payroll as a
regional contributor.]  

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Tournament Is Next After Turner Scott Scores 27, Quintin Curry 16 In Valley's 60-55 Overtime Victory In Regular Season Finale. Coach B. J. Windhorst Is Doing Wonders Despite Injuries To a Couple of Significant Players. Ailing Bigs Need To Get Stronger and Better If the Tigers Are Going to Make a Postseason Run


Valley's boys' basketball team successfully ended its regular season by riding Turner Scott's 27 points and Quinton Curry's 16 to a 60-55 victory over a tough Lafayette Fighting Irish team from St. Joseph, Mo., in overtime today at the Bill Coldiron Fieldhouse in West Des Moines.

With the postseason tournament on the horizon, I know and you should know that  the Tigers aren't playing as well as they did when they were unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the state a number of weeks ago. 

Right now, coach B. J. Windhorst is doing wonders with his team despite some significant injuries.

Peyton Long, a 6-foot 4-inch senior, had a knee scoped, and 6-5 senior Carlo Marble is playing despite suffering a broken left wrist in a game not that long ago.

 Some observers originally thought Marble would be finished for the season, but he has continued to play. 

And, at times, he has played well.

However, I've got to think the injury has affected both his shooting and rebounding.  

Marble scored 7 points and Long none in today's victory.

Marble and the 6-6 Curry, a junior, played on the Valley team that lost to Iowa City West in the class 4-A division of the state tournament two years ago when Jeff Horner was the coach.

Windhorst will need Curry to continue being a force inside, and hopefully Marble and Long will get stronger because it's obviously difficult for a team to do much damage in the postseason tournament while depending 
on a 5-10 guard--talented though he is.

Scott, a senior, was also a key player in Valley's tournament run two years ago, and has been a consistent shooter and floor leader this season.



From Twitter:

On to the Regional Final vs. Indianola on Tuesday night! 80-60 winners over Des Moines Lincoln. Tigers looking for 3rd straight trip to State!

WDM Valley's  Zoe Young recorded a triple double with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, this evening.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Another Lost Art

A tweet from former Drake sports information director Mike Mahon:

Yes, indeed, proof-reading is a lost art in magazines, newspapers as well as Internet


Not Being On Top Of the News. Or the Delivery

Email from a reader: "Did you notice how the Register put the UNI men's basketball  game

story from Wednesday night in today's paper and didn't bother to list that the game was played Wednesday night?"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Actually, I didn't notice. It's difficult to do when I don't get a paper. My carrier didn't bring me a paper yesterday, and I haven't checked yet today to see if he brought me a Friday paper. But like I always say these days, nothing surprises me. Indeed, UNI has been getting screwed all season. By the way, no Christmas bonus next year for that clown of a carrier].

What I Would Do


I know this. 

If I were a manager or coach at any level--professional, semi-pro, collegiate, high school, middle school or grade school--and one of my players threw a football, basketball or baseball at me during practice, during a game or at any other time, that player would not be suspended. 

He would be kicked off my team.

And not kicked off temporarily.

Kicked off permanently.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Take Away the Takeaways


For a long time, I have refused to read any newspaper story that has the word takeaways in the description of the subject matter. 

For all I know, they're teaching 'em in
journalism school that takeaways should be included right along with who, what, why and where in every news story.

Unfortunately, the number of newspapers using the word takeaways is increasing. 

Consequently, I am able to pass up more and more newspaper reading with every passing day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I Didn't Mention the Word Invincible

Hey, listen, I certainly wasn't writing, saying or thinking that Iowa is an invincible basketball team.

But I sure didn't think the Hawkeyes, with a Big Ten championship clearly in their sight, would lose tonight, 79-75, to lowly Penn State. 

A weird collegiate season continues, and we can all be certain that there are plenty of other stunning developments ahead. 

--Ron Maly

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Defense Rests

Obviously, defense has become a lost art in bigtime collegiate basketball. Not just around here. Everywhere.
--Ron Maly

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Phrase 'He Got His Bell Rung' Is Out Of Vogue


Rumor has it that the 2015-2016 football season will finally end Sunday when they get around
to playing the Super Bowl.  

It's a season that's been going on since July--about 8 months ago. 

"How time flies," My Neighbor Al, the Health Nut said today over a cup of Italian Dark Roast. 

I haven't been thinking a lot about football
since Christian McCaffrey of Stanford ran over, ran around and ran past Iowa in the Rose Bowl. 

A day or two ago, I thought about the phrase related to football that we don't hear anymore. 

It's this one: "He got his bell rung." 

In the dark ages of football--like the 1950s and 1960s--a player who got his bell run used to be reason for being awarded a merit badge. 

It meant that player hit someone, or got hit by someone, so hard that a concussion, a sudden and temporary loss of memory or other awful things resulted. 

That was before chronic traumatic encephalopathy [CTE] creeped into our vocabulary, and before some critics started wondering if the playing of football was a wise thing for our young people to do. 

Now getting your bell rung is definitely not a wise thing to have happen. 

I was not a football player, and as far as I know, I've never had my bell rung. 

I definitely do not regret it.

Furthermore, after thinking about it, I don't want my bell rung. 

Experience has taught me that are other things in life that make me feel a whole lot better.