Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts
Feb. 25, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Random thoughts on the Sunday between a pair of winter storms here in the Heartland...
This somehow became the Iowa versus Nebraska weekend. Saturday the Hawkeyes split a pair of meetings with the Big Red, with the good guys suffering that hard-to-swallow loss on the hardcourt during the afternoon in Lincoln but JD Reive's men's gymnastics team picking up Fran's squad in the evening by collecting win No. 3 in a row in a dual with the Huskers in Carver. You can read about that win HERE
Tomorrow it's women's gymnastics in Lincoln. Today, Bluder's Bunch squares off against one of the Big Ten Conference's hottest teams in the Bob Devaney Center on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Tip is set for shortly after 2 p.m. Here's a little primer on that one: HERE.
Speaking of Lisa Bluder, I enjoyed this from her weekly visit with the media on Friday: Asked about the rough stretch earlier this month her team went through, Iowa's veteran head coach responded, "You know, we have short memories. What I remember now is that win over Purdue and I'm feeling pretty darn good about it." Yes, indeed, she and the Hawkeyes should. A 20-point win on a nationally ranked opponent's home court is pretty darn sweet. You can read a little more about what she said HERE.
As always, this is the link to the most comprehensive collection of free video of the Iowa Hawkeyes: HERE.
Don't let the sport fool you. There's more to running a successful men's golf program like the one Mark Hankins is running for Gary Barta at the UI than meets the eye. Mark popped his head into my cubicle Friday to follow up on one topic. We put that conversation to bed quickly, then equally as swiftly moved on to his team's strong start and what's ahead. Mark described in very exact terms the what's and where's and, most importantly, the why's. A sharp egg, Mark is...as his record shows: HERE.
Well, that wasn't all that bad. A quick five, six, or seven of inches of the white stuff fell here in my part of Eastern Iowa Thursday night. Here's to a little more, a slow melt so some of the wet stuff finds its way into the soil, and a favorable spring for all, e.g. a balance between the needs of our farmers and the desires of those who participate in baseball, softball, track and field, tennis and golf this time of the year.
There's not much I can say about yesterday's men's basketball game against Nebraska that wasn't said by our head coach: HERE. Suffice to say it's extremely tough to lose games like that at this point in the season with big opportunities within your grasp. So, you turn the page. There are four more Big Ten games waiting to be played plus at least one more in Chicago and still more very likely in some post-season event.
Iowa's baseball, softball, and wrestling teams were also in action yesterday. You can read about those events HERE.
Larrissa Libby's women's gymnastics team had a good Friday night. The GymHawks took it 12th ranked and previously unbeaten Minnesota inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena and sewed up the victory with a dominating performance in floor exercise that included a 9.9 score for senior Emma Stevenson. The best is yet to come as far as Libby is concerned. "We try to build every week," said Iowa's veteran head coach. "We are better than we showed on vault and bars, but the team kept building. With each person, the routines got a little cleaner, stronger and more confident. The best thing is that you could see the trust the team had in one another." The Hawkeye get their shot at Nebraska Monday night in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers are currently ranked ninth nationally.
The Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay is climbing up my list of writer's who I enjoy. One of his contributions this week was "More Rules of Conquering the Gym" - obviously, this is part two in his series on this topic. I loved this one: "No. 14. Nutrition is half of the exercise battle. For real. Do not conquer the gym and then conquer The Cheesecake Factory." Made me chuckle, in part because I am a fan of The Cheesecake Factory. You can read this rest of his recommendations HERE.
Ratings Percentage Index. It is the source of the R and the P and the I in "RPI" - the acronym which is the source of an extreme amount of consternation and scrutiny and conversation this time of year, particularly in places like Iowa City and other locales where fans of Fran's and Lisa's UI basketball teams and fans of other teams are gathering at water coolers to compare notes and make bold predictions. I think the RPI has its place. Mike Bobinski, the director of athletics at Xavier and the chair of the men's NCAA Tournament selection committee, certainly thinks so: HERE. I think the committee also looks at a lot of other information that is equally important to making certain the field for each tournament is the very best it can be. I also believe the "eye test" is a piece of the information and chunk of the discussion. Does this college basketball team look like it is deserving of real consideration? I think the Hawkeyes - both teams - pass the eye test when you watch them play and, therefore, are worthy of NCAA Tournament consideration. There's also a huge difference between consideration and an invitation. It's one thing to look like you belong. It another to have the performances to back it up.
One of the links in the WSJ story above points HERE. Fascinating stuff...that give me a headache - and probably does pretty much the same to those who are supportive of the RPI.
The third time was a charm yesterday for UI track standout Jordan Mullen. Three different times this season he's set a school record in the 60-meter hurdles. Saturday's performance netted him a Big Ten title. You can read about it HERE.
Many of us are beginning to think about our next round of golf. I stumbled upon this and it reminded me just how lucky I am to have Finkbine Golf Course a 10-minute drive from home: HERE. And, speaking of Finkbine, don't forget to bookmark this: HERE.