Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts
Jan. 23, 2011
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Random thoughts on a game day in Iowa City...
I don't think I'm alone when I suggest it's pretty darn fun to watch the blossoming of young talent. Seriously, Big Ten basketball - as they say - is a "really big stage" and what UI freshman Melsahn Basabe is showing the world game after game, night after night, is really exciting. Sure, he has a long road to travel to be among the Big Ten's elite, but it sure seems like he has the skills and desire and intangibles to be something special and, quite possibly, much sooner than later. Here's something off topic, but I feel compelled to share: If you haven't watched the move Julie & Julia, do it. My wife and daughter and I watched it Friday night and thoroughly enjoyed it.
One of the biggest days of the year is fast approaching: Feb. 2 - "Signing Day." It's a day that offers fans of the Iowa football program a glimpse into future. Kirk typically suggests it's probably best to evaluate this year's class three or four years from now and he's right, of course. However, that's not how the world works these days. We're an instant gratification society more times than not, so there will be much instant analysis and declarations of success or failure, as a group and individually which, when you think a little about it, is more than just a little unfair to the student-athletes. Suggest they'll conquer the world and, if they don't, they're labeled as failures. Suggest they aren't up to snuff, and you're short-changing both their determination and the coaching staff's abilities to develop talent. Me, I'll follow Kirk's advice. It's usually pretty solid.
Friday's Hawk Talk Daily profiled a pretty special member of the UI's women's gymnastics program, senior Hourby Gebeshian. If you've already deleted that installment of HTD, you can find the feature on hawkeyesports.com. It's part of this year's "24 Hawkeyes to Watch" series. Here's a link to the index page for that exclusive feature of the official world wide web site of the Iowa Hawkeyes: HERE.
Speaking of hawkeyesports.com, I receive a report each week that, among other things, provides me the most popular 50 pages of the site for the previous week. Some pages like the home page for Iowa football, the schedule pages for football, men's basketball, women's basketball and wrestling, and the page that details promotions and give-aways at our home events, are always among the top 50. I was surprised but not so much so to see the "Staff" page for Iowa Football (click HEREto go there) among this week's best with more than 1,200 downloads. Hopefully, some of those high school seniors who have yet to decide where they'll take their talents were among those interested in learning more about one the of the most stable and successful staff's in the country.
Yep. It's been a little chilly here in the Heartland recently which really means nothing more than the college basketball and wrestling seasons are beginning to hit high gear. Bluder's Bunch has another challenging week: Monday night Ohio State and Thursday night back in the Arena against league-leading Michigan State. The game with the Spartans tips at 7 and is a "Family 4-Pack" event - 4 game tickets, 4 hot dogs and 4 Cokes for just $20. You have to purchase that package in advance, so call 1-800 IA-HAWKS on Monday morning or click HERE to order online.
The UI Athletics Department and the Iowa Hawkeyes will honor Sharm Scheuerman at today's men's basketball game against Indiana. My introduction to Sharm was in the early '80s when he was doing the color commentary for our statewide television broadcasts. I enjoyed him immensely and remember most his wonderful smile. I also remember him being very supportive of the hard work being done by our women's basketball coach at the time, Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer.
Did I say it's been a little chilly here in the Heartland recently?
The Big Ten Network's "Big Ten Icons" series countdown reaches No. 7 tonight when BTN profiles the UI's very own Nile Kinnick immediately after its live coverage of the men's basketball game in Carver-Hawkeye Arena this afternoon. And, speaking of that game, I'm anxious to see this young squad square off against a Big Ten opponent that doesn't have a small number before its name. Here's a link to the announcement of Kinnick's place on this important list: HERE.
This one surprised me a little: Iowa ranks third among its Big Ten Conference peers in all-time bowl invitations with 25. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that only Iowa, Purdue and Penn State have won more bowl games than they've lost. Of course, Iowa's victory in the 2010 Insight Bowl had a positive impact on both those numbers. To officially close the book on the season just completed, check out the final collection of "Notes" assembled by the staff of the UI's sports information department by clicking HERE.
A peer of mine and I were talking the other day about the announcement of the partnership between the University of Texas and ESPN. I told him that I hadn't spent a lot of time studying it yet, but that I was certain it was big because, after all, isn't everything big in Texas? The conversation quickly went to a topic that was presented in this space a few weeks back: The Texas football program went from the national championship game in 2009 to no post-season play in 2010. In other words, resources don't guarantee success. They make it easier, of course, but they guarantee nothing.
OK, so we have this conflict: Packers-Bears in the NFC Championship Game at the same time today as Iowa-Indiana in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Here's my cents on this conundrum... If you're a fan of either of those NFL teams, kudos to you. Your team is playing for a chance to play in the Super Bowl...and that's a pretty cool thing. Now, if you're a fan of either of those teams and a fan of the Hawkeyes who has tickets to today's game in Carver and you've already decided to stay home and watch your team play for a chance to participate in sports history, please pass on your game tickets to fans of the Hawkeyes who are interested in being the Arena today where, quite possibly, history will also be made.