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Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts

Nothing comes easy in the Big Ten Conference.

Nothing comes easy in the Big Ten Conference.

Jan. 16, 2011

IOWA CITY, IowaRandom thoughts on the third Sunday of January 2011...

Did Iowa's southpaw point guard Kamille Wahlin call "Glass!" on the nifty three-pointer she made that knotted Thursday night's game against Michigan State at 60-all with seconds to play? Just wonderin'.

Speaking of Bluder's Bunch and their game earlier this week in East Lansing...if you were watching, you saw the top two of the six Big Ten teams that rank in the Top 30 of this week's NCAA Women's Basketball RPI. My point? It's a tough league, folks.



Legends and Leaders...c'mon folks, what's the fuss?

Does anyone really pay any attention to Top 25 predictions for next year's college football season that are presented to us in January?

A tip of the fedora to fans of the football Hawkeyes. Iowa was one of just 18 football programs across the country to sell out all of their home games in 2010. That list included only three Big Ten teams: Iowa, Michigan and Ohio State. Heck of a deal.

Does anyone really pay any attention to Top 25 predictions for next year's college football season that are presented to us in January? (Yes, I'm asking this a second time.)

Yet another reason why I like Fran McCaffery... Asked Friday if he's worried about Eric May losing confidence in himself, Iowa's first-year head coach responded directly: "I do believe he believes in himself and the one thing that I told him to address any doubt he might have is that he's my starter...he's in the starting lineup. I'm going to give him the minutes that he needs to play through it." That's good, powerfully supportive stuff. By the way, Iowa squares off against Minnesota later today inside UM's venerable Williams Arena and it'll be another battle. The Gophers defeated nationally ranked - No. 8 - and previously once-beaten Purdue Thursday night in Minneapolis.

I agree with everyone who said with a smile that UI presumed-starting-quarterback-to-be James Vandenberg was the happiest guy in Iowa City Wednesday when wide receiver Marvin McNutt announced - officially - that he was going to play football for the Hawkeyes next fall and not for an NFL franchise. However, I'll resist the temptation to make any predictions (see above).

I'm also happy Shaun Prater will return to play cornerback and mentor a talented a young group of defensive backs, and happy for Tyler Sash, who has opted to throw his name into the bunch that will be called during that very special event staged each April called the NFL Draft. Sash's departure opens the door for the next Tyler Sash and reminds all of us one of the simple beauties of the college game: The constant change of names on the roster.





I'm also happy Shaun Prater will return to play cornerback and mentor a talented a young group of defensive backs, and happy for Tyler Sash, who has opted to throw his name into the bunch that will be called during that very special event staged each April called the NFL Draft. Sash's departure opens the door for the next Tyler Sash and reminds all of us one of the simple beauties of the college game: The constant change of names on the roster.


Mama said there would be days like this.... Folks, it's the Big Ten. Basketball teams whose rosters tilt to the side labeled "underclassmen" face an uphill battle, particularly this year when seven league teams have a legitimate shot at a slot on the NCAA's tournament bracket. That's not to say there won't be moments - if not evenings - of brilliance, but the rebuilding of our men's basketball program into one that can compete and win night in and night out is a process that will require patience from both the coaching staff and the fans. And, as I've said before, I like the guys in charge of the process so I encourage you to enjoy the ride. By the way, if you feel pain after a tough night for the Hawkeyes, that's a good sign. It means that you're emotionally invested...you care enough to care. The next step - if you're not already there - is to make the investment of time and money by purchasing a ticket.

Speaking of tickets...the Athletics Ticket Office at Northwestern is currently accepting orders for tickets to the 2011 Big Ten Conference Wrestling Championship, Mar. 5-6, inside Welsh-Ryan Arena. Fans of Tom Brands' squad - which goes for dual meet win No. 70 in a row today at Oklahoma State - can call (847) 491-2287 to place their order.

A tip of the fedora to the Iowa Pep Band. From my seat in Carver, I do believe they've raised their game this basketball season. Now, it's time for the pep band's peers who purchased season tickets to step up and make a difference on game nights in the Arena. I've never wavered in my assertion that it's the students who delivery the most energy in virtually every college basketball arena - regardless of their seat location.

Looking for something really different to enjoy? OK. I've got just the ticket: The 2011 USA Diving Winter National Championships. Eight full days of some pretty cool stuff beginning Jan. 30 at the UI's new Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. The field of participants includes 2008 Summer Olympic Games participants and others who are working to be wearing red, white and blue in London when that city plays host of the 2012 Games.

KCRG-TV9's sports guy Scott Saville makes me laugh at least two times a week: Thursday nights when he's going toe-to-toe with that week's Billion Auto's Student-Athlete of the Week and Sunday nights with his Golden Klutz Awards. Good stuff by a good guy who has been tutored by another good guy, John Campbell. 'tis all for now and, as TV9's Scott suggests, ""Live life LARGE, have yourself a whale of a day!" Go Hawks!