As I have written previously in my blog, I sincerely feel as if Steve Alford has turned the corner as the coach at the University of Iowa. Some think the turnaround happened last year, some think this year. Still others think Coach Alford should be run out of town. I will stick to my guns on the fact that I believe Alford made his move during the 03-04 season.
The coming out party was three years ago during the 03-04 season. Alford was able to rally the troops. Jared Reiner had a season-ending injury that hurt the Hawkeyes tremendously, as Brunner had to switch to the 5 spot. Reiner had a chance to be All-Conf. that year. Nick DeWitz and Sean Sonderleiter both left mid-season, which killed the continuity (and already short bench) of the team. Mike Henderson was ineligible for the second semester. Depending on Kurt Spurgeon and Jack Brownlee isn't something I wish upon any basketball program. I give them all the credit in the world, as they stepped up big, but let's be reasonable here. Iowa played with SEVEN scholarship players that year. SEVEN. They didn't make the dance, but it was the beginning of the turnaround for Alford, IMO.
The next year starts out great, then PP is kicked off. Hawks falter big time. Alford rallies the troops and gets into the dance.
Last year, nothing bad happening to the program, the team can focus on the season. Alford gets a 25 win season.
This year, injury to Mike early, no consistency on a inexperienced team, crappy practice times - not all players making all practices; second semester this team has a completely different look to it. They are playing extremely good BB right now, fantastic job by the coaching staff.
Alford first four seasons: 73-58 overall (25-39 conf)
Alford last three-plus seasons: 76-44 overall (33-25 conf)
I know I keep beating a dead-horse and no one agrees with me, but I truly think Alford turned the corner in 03-04 and has gotten better and better every year there after.
IOWA'S CHANCES AT AN AT-LARGE NCAA BERTH?
This second half of the season team is heads and shoulders above the first half team.
If Iowa can steal one at either MSU or Wisky and take care of the rest, get one win in the BTT, they are in.
Otherwise, they probably need to go 4-2 with 2 BTT wins, 1 BTT win would put them on the bubble.
Don't mess with my BB predictions, I'm unconscious right now: