Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts
Jan. 30, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Random thoughts on the last Sunday of the first month of the new year...
OK. Here's a brain teaser for you: Which men's basketball team has made more visits to Final Four, the Purdue Boilermakers or the Iowa Hawkeyes? Ding, ding, ding....time's up. It's the Iowa Hawkeyes by score of 3-2. Surprised? I was, very much so when I stumbled upon this trivia while clicking through espn.com the other night attempting to take a guess at where on the Big Ten ladder could Fran's squad end the regular season. I'm still kind of dumbfounded...on both the brain teaser and where the Hawkeyes will land at season's end.
Signing day for young football stars is now just days away. Should be fun to see the smiles on their faces....always is. I dare say, too, that it's good to see the smiles on the staff's faces, too. The sprint from the end of the bowl game to the first Wednesday in February must be exhausting. I dare say it's probably both the toughest part of the gig and the most rewarding.
The Hawkeyes lace 'em up later today against the Hoosiers at Assembly Hall in Bloomington. Want to guess how many Final Four visits IU has in its storied past? (Answer below the "Go Hawks!" below...)
Speaking of today's game at Indiana - 5 p.m. Iowa time on BTN, by the way... In my opinion, today's visit to the Hoosier State is a long way from a season-maker (a win) or a season-breaker (a loss). There is still far too much basketball to be played including, of course, multiple games in Indianapolis.
Now, for those fans of Fran's squad who are growing impatient, I have used this description of the current state of affairs often lately: From where I sit, Fran's second squad is better than his first - there's no denying that. In fact, it's significantly better, but it's still a "stock market team," e.g. up and down, up and down. I think it's fair to say that that's not a surprise and maybe even an expectation. The key point, however, is the trend. This stock market - the Hawkeyes - is trending up. The aim, of course, is to shorten the distance between the highs and lows (become more consistent) and make the climb more steep (shorten the time required to reach seasons where wins significantly outnumber losses, and tickets to the Big Dance get punched). And, for the record, I'm a proud owner of a "long" position in this coach, this staff, this program and I'm very optimistic of a really, really good return on the investment.
Happy is as happy does...just ask Lisa Bluder's squad. The Hawkeyes took it to nationally ranked Purdue yesterday in Carver and, in so doing, got that "signature win" that catches the attention of decision-makers in March. Now the challenge is to build on it and, given history, you have the like the chances of that happening. You can read about the win by clicking HERE.
I swung and missed last week when I failed to point to this story about our spirit squads: Click HERE. Great work by an often taken-for-granted group of hard-working Hawkeyes.
I won't swing and miss two weeks in a row, however. Here's a link to some exciting news involving Mr. and Mrs. Ferentz, the coaching staff, and our favorite children's hospital: The University of Iowa Children's Hospital: Clickk HERE.
Yeah, sure, I'll join the chorus and ask with a smile: Just whose idea was it to invite the University of Nebraska into the Big Ten? I'll also quickly suggest that what goes around, comes around, and suggest that we all embrace the fact that the rivalry between Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers is quickly evolving into what was expected: Spirited.
I have to admit it's been kind of humorous to listen to some of the chatter about the open defensive coordinator position. I mean, seriously, some of what I've heard - spoken with such certainty and "insight" -- is, on its face, just plain silly. Now, on the other hand, I'm glad there is chatter, throwing-darts-in-the-dark as it may be. No chatter means no interest and that, my friends, isn't a good thing.
Tom Brands' squad will look to snap a two-match losing streak - man, that's strange to type! - today against border rival Minnesota. There's going to be another large and raucous crowd in the Arena. I suggest you join me and make it larger and more raucous. I have zero doubt about this group of Hawkeyes being ready to wrestle on this particular day. Our head coach has addressed that reality this week behind the closed doors of the Dan Gable Wrestling Room. They'll take to Mediacom Mat shortly after 3 p.m.
The winter of 2011-12....in like a lamb, out like a lion? It's too early to call. Like the basketball season, we've got a long way to go.
Did you know the storied Duke men's basketball program is having a problem with student attendance? Apparently it is. Click HERE to read the details. Some of the hurdles cited by those who are no longer routinely finding their way to courtside sound familiar. Others, not so much. But, I do have to ask because I'm kind of scratching my head: Is it really a long and cold walk to Cameron Indoor Stadium? Really?
Hawk Talk Daily Final Four Trivia Answer: The Indiana Hoosiers have advanced to eight Final Fours.