Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Men's BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Purdue Boilermakers (Take Two) VS.

GAME INFO: Wed., Jan 30, 2008 - 6:05 CST - Mackey Arena; West Lafayette, IN
IOWA: 10-11 (3-5); RPI: 152 / Purdue: 15-5 (6-1); RPI: 57

TV COVERAGE: Big Ten Network - DIRECTV (Ch. 220) / DISH Network (Ch. 439) - Tom Hamilton and Todd Mitchell will call the action.
LINE - Purdue is a 10 point favorite at home; 119.5 is the over/under.


By now we know what we are going to get with this Purdue team - quickness, high energy, terrific 3 point play, extremely tough extending D, and great coaching. Still, this Purdue team is young. Very young. How young is very young? Let's just say of 341 D-1 teams in the nation, there are 329 that have more experience.

Last time out, Iowa gave Purdue the game. It was a game the Hawks really should have won by all intents and purposes... but they didn't. Iowa did not play well the first time these two teams played. If the Hawkeyes can come out and play like they have shown they can, there's no reason they can't beat the Boilers in West Lafayette. One thing Purdue has going for them is that they don't have a "go to" guy. On any given night, anyone can put up a bucket load of points.

Iowa has won 6 out of the last 9 against Purdue, as well 3 out the last 5 games overall on the year. The Hawkeyes have recently moved up to #10 in the nation in Scoring Defense, Purdue isn't far behind at #30. Purdue, on the other hand, is red hot, knocking off Wisconsin at home and riding a 5 game win streak (and winners in 8 out of their last 9).

Purdue's 15-5 record is a bit of a misnomer, however. Although they do have 15 wins, their RPI is one of the lowest for any team with that many wins. Purdue has been in bottom half in regards to SOS in Big Ten games only, while Iowa has had the #1 SOS in Big Ten games only. Granted, Purdue has only lost one game at home and that was to Wofford. I am not denying the fact that Purdue is playing some fantastic ball (evident in the win over Wisky this past weekend). The analysts on the Big Ten Network were talking about Purdue contending for the Big Ten title... that just blows my mind.

Here's how I see the Big Ten, my supposed "Big Ten Power Rankings", if you will:

Indiana (=)
Michigan State (=)
Wisconsin (-)

Ohio State (+)
Purdue (+)
Minnesota (-)

Iowa (=)
Illinois (=)
Michigan (-)
Penn State (-)
Northwestern (=)

Again, I am not trying to hate on Purdue, I think they are a terrific, terrific team. Even after the win against the Badgers, I still need to see more from this team to prove me wrong. In my opinion, they are too young to sustain what they have going on right now. I think Iowa is the team to knock them off their current winning streak.

Keys to the Game for Iowa
1.) Get a hand in the face of the three point shooters, over-extend the defense if you have to.
2.) Make Grant beat you off the dribble.
3.) Put a body on Hummel.
4.) Pound the ball down low with Cyrus Tate.
5.) Limit turnovers and offensive rebounds. The first point Iowa struggles at, but the second point Iowa does well (20th in the nation in opponents' O Boards allowed)

If Iowa executes correctly in this game, they can win it. This isn't a match-up where Iowa is severely out-manned like the games on the road vs. Ohio St or Indiana. Iowa matches up very well with Purdue. It will be close, close game, in my opinion, perhaps even one that goes into OT.

Iowa - 58
Purdue - 56

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Men's BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Penn State

Short, short preview/prediction here:

Tony Freeman lights it up, Johnson gets some looks, Cy does well down low, Gorney cleans up the glass. Penn State without Claxton just doesn't have enough in Carver.

IOWA - 69
PENN ST - 52

Friday, January 25, 2008

OT: Looks Like the Tax Rebates Are Going to Happen!

From the Flint Journal News Service:

Leaders agreed only on the basics of the plan Thursday. Many details need to be worked out. Here's what it means to you:

Q: How much will people get?

A: Most individuals will get up to $600; couples will get up to $1,200. People will get an additional $300 for each dependent child.

Q: You said most. Who is eligible?

A: To get the maximum $600 or $1,200 payment, people must have paid federal income taxes in 2007 and had earned income of at least $3,000.

Those who made at least $3,000 but didn't pay any federal income tax would get $300 per individual or $600 per couple.

Q: Are there income limits?

A: Yes. The payments would start phasing out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000 and couples with incomes of more than $150,000.

Individuals with incomes higher than $87,000 and couples with incomes higher than $174,000 would not be eligible, unless they had children. The caps would be slightly higher for people with children, but those figures weren't available Thursday.

Q: When will the checks be mailed?

A: The first checks could start going out in May. Most people should have them by July, said U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Q: Why do some people call these payments "prebates"?

A: Because they're technically going to be credits based on tax year 2008. The government doesn't want you to wait until 2009 to get this money, so it's issuing checks now.

Q: Since tax year 2008 just started, how will the government decide who is eligible, for income purposes?

A: The government will go by the returns filed this spring for tax year 2007.

Q: What if I have a baby in 2008, but I didn't have that dependent deduction in 2007?

A: You'll get your $300 as a credit on your tax return in spring 2009. The same would apply if you made too much money in 2007 to be eligible for the payments now, but made much less in 2008 and were therefore eligible. You'll be able to claim your credit next year.

Q: My child was under 17 last year, so I claimed him as a deduction. But he's not eligible for me to claim this year. Will I still get a payment?

A: You'll still get your money based on 2007 income and dependents. You won't have to give back money that was paid "by accident."

Q: Where will the IRS mail the check?

A: The check will be mailed to the address the IRS has on file. If your address has changed, you need to notify the IRS to make sure you get any check or correspondence, said spokesman Chris Kerns.

If your address changes after you file your return, or if you don't file a return and need to make sure the IRS has the correct address on file, then notify the post office that services your old address and complete Form 8822 (address change request.)

You can download Form 8822 or order it by calling (800) 829-3676.

Q: What's a smart financial move to make with this money?

A: Either pay down any credit card debt or save it for an emergency, said Ken Robinson, a Cleveland certified financial planner. "Most people don't have nearly enough saved for a rainy day."

Spending the money freely wouldn't be smart for most people, agreed Brian Marita, a certified public accountant and partner with Ciuni & Panichi in Beachwood, Ohio.

"That's what got a lot of the people in these income brackets in this trouble in the first place."

Q: How likely are consumers to spend the money and help the economy?

A: Some will spend every penny and then some. Some will save it all. In 1975, people spent about 40 percent and saved the rest, according to the Federal Reserve. In 2001, people spent about 70 percent.

Q: What do businesses get out of this?

A: They'll get some tax breaks, too. Businesses will be able to immediately write off 50 percent of purchases of plants and other capital equipment.

Small businesses currently are able to take tax deductions on the first $125,000 they spend on new equipment, Marita said. That will be raised to $250,000.

In both cases, the deduction eligibility likely will apply to this calendar year and not be retroactive, Marita said, because the government wants to encourage spending.

Q: Since mortgages and foreclosures are a big part of the problem with the economy, how will homeowners be helped?

A: The stimulus package includes changes in mortgage lending, including a one-year increase in Freddie Mac's and Fannie Mae's conforming loan limits (from $417,000 to a maximum of $729,750), and a permanent increase in the FHA loan limit from $367,000 now up to a maximum of $729,750.

The law also is expected to include other changes to immediately help people facing foreclosure to refinance their loans.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Men's BB: Iowa's 2-5 Big Ten Record is Better Than It Looks

TWO WINS IS GOOD? Well, in the context I am about to present, it is.

A losing record is never a good thing, no matter how you spin it. However, Iowa is 2-5 in conference, which is exactly where I had them 7 deep into the conference schedule. Why is this a good thing? Clearly, almost anyone paying attention to NCAA basketball would come to the conclusion that the Iowa Hawkeyes were coming into the season as a team destined to finish towards the bottom of the Big Ten (personally, I saw them around the 7th spot). The reason Iowa's 2-5 Big Ten start isn't all that bad is because of the quality of opponents Iowa has faced through the first 7 games.

First, let's look at the Big Ten RPI Rankings (conference only):
Big Ten RPI
1 Wisconsin
2 Indiana
3 Purdue
4 Michigan State
5 Ohio State
6 Minnesota
7 Penn State
8 Iowa
9 Illinois
10 Michigan
11 Northwestern
(RPI ranked as of today)

Second, let's calculate the SOS of each Big Ten team (conference only):

RPI of 10 8 10 6 9 4 11 2 5 1 7
Teams 8 10 4 3 11 11 9 1 7 3 5
Played 9 9 5 8 8 7 6 5 1 2 6
in the 7 6 8 5 3 2 1 4 2 11 10
Big Ten 11 7 9 6 4 4 2 3 10 9 1
So Far 10 8 7
3 10 3 8
(BT Only)

2 5 1

Total RPI 55 48 43 28 44 28 32 25 28 34 29
SOS 9.17 8 7.17 5.6 7.333 5.6 5.33 3.6 4 4.86 5.8
SOS Rank 11 10 8 5 9 5 4 1 2 3 7

BTSOS.jpg picture by storminspank

Finally, let's list out the ranking:
Big Ten SOS
1 Iowa
2 Illinois
3 Michigan
4 Penn St
5 Michigan St
5 Michigan
7 Northwestern
8 Purdue
9 Ohio St
10 Indiana
11 Wisconsin

While it's true you can't play yourself (hurting the Top teams' SOS), Wisconsin has yet to play anyone in the Top 6 of the Big Ten RPI (PSU was their toughest opponent). Indiana hasn't played anyone in the Top 5. While Iowa has played all Top 5 teams, including the #2 team twice. It also makes you wonder just how good Wisconsin and Indiana truly are, as well.

So there you have it... 2-5 isn't that bad in my book.

Iowa gets both Penn State (sans Claxton) and Northwestern twice and also gets Illinois at home. Folks, those are ABSOLUTELY winnable games for Iowa. And I am also not sold on Purdue, yet, perhaps Iowa can give them trouble on the road. Minnesota has played much better than I expected, but I think the Hawks can give them a test in the Barn.

What it comes down to is that although Iowa might only win 1 or 2 out of the next 4, they have a VERY favorable last 1/3 of the schedule. That gives me hope that Iowa could finish around the .500 mark in Big Ten play, something I thought would be impossible around the time of Jarryd Cole's injury.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Men's BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Indiana Hoosiers (Take Two) VS.

GAME INFO: Wed., Jan 23, 2008 - 8:05 CST - Assembly Hall; Bloomington, IN
IOWA: 9-10 (2-4); RPI: 174 / Indiana: 16-1 (5-0); RPI: 25

TV COVERAGE: Big Ten Network - DIRECTV (Ch. 220) / DISH Network (Ch. 439) - Wayne Larrivee and Shon Morris will call the action.
LINE - Indiana is a 16.5 point favorite at home; 128 is the over/under.


Iowa came close to knocking off the Hoosiers in the their first battle earlier in the year in Carver - thanks to Justin Johnson's Insane Shooting Display. Indiana isn't, by any means, unbeatable, but they do get the job done. How? Rebounding, playing good defense, being efficient on the offensive side of the ball, and getting to the FT and then making those shots from the charity stripe. Sounds like a pretty good formula, huh? Whether you care for his ethics or his personality, Kelvin Sampson can coach. Iowa will need to keep an eye on Bassett in this game... If you recall, he didn't play much in the first game.

As I stated in the previous preview of Indiana, it's no secret that Lickliter and his staff despise the Hoosiers. They will be ready for this game, and so will the Hawks. I don't expect Iowa to come out flat, even though they done that quite a few times this year (eventually getting into it later on, however). Iowa is going to play hard. Tony Freeman looks to have found his groove, the guys down-low finally "get it", and the two freshman are getting better and better. Iowa has also been winning with Justin Johnson in a HUGE slump.

Keys to the Game for Iowa
1.) Get DJ White and DeAndre Thomas in foul trouble early. They are foul prone, and getting those guys immobilized will allow Iowa to focus on Indiana's sharp shooters (i.e. - Gordon, Bassett, etc...)
2.) Let Ellis, McGee, and Ratliff shoot all they want from 3 point land. Hell, stay 4 feet back and beg them to shoot it. On the season, they are a combined 12-58 from behind the arc.
3.) Don't focus too much on Gordon - overhelping could severely hurt Iowa in this game.
4.) Justin Johnson needs to get off the schnide in this game for Iowa to have a chance. Freeman has broad shoulders for a guard, but they aren't broad enough to carry the entire team. (That includes picking up after them.)
4.) Play solid, fundamental defense. There it is again.

I don't think Iowa is going to stay with Indiana as well as they did in Carver. The Hoosiers are going to have a great crowd in AH, Indiana is full strength this time, and although Iowa is improving, so are the Hoosiers. I am not saying Iowa doesn't have a shot in this one... any time they can play the D they are capable of, anything is possible. Iowa will need to play the perfect game, though... or turn it into another MSU-type game.

Iowa - 61
Indiana - 75

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Men's BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Michigan Wolverines VS.

I am on the road this weekend (in lAmes of all places - The Gateway Hotel), so this is going to be a quick one.

I think Johnson gets off the schnide, and the Hawks finally find their offense tonight.
Iowa's bigs continue to play well.

Iowa gets their first Big Ten road win.

Iowa - 72
Michigan - 65

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Men's BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Purdue Boilermakers VS.

GAME INFO: Wed., Jan 16, 2008 - 6:05 CST - Carver Hawkeye Arena; Iowa City, IA
IOWA: 8-9 (1-3); RPI: 185 / Purdue: 11-5 (2-1); RPI: 104

TV COVERAGE: Big Ten Network - DIRECTV (Ch. 220) / DISH Network (Ch. 439) - Tom Hamilton and Rich Zvosec will call the action.
LINE - Purdue is a 2 point favorite.

Purdue is a well coached, dangerous, athletic, quick... but VERY young team. While this Purdue team isn't the biggest, they make up for it in effort and hard-nosed defense. That defense can hurt the Boilers from time to time, as they average the most fouls of anyone in the Big Ten. Purdue isn't an offensive juggernaut by any means (as if Iowa is), but they would prefer to play more up and down than Iowa is used to... then again Iowa has the slowest tempo (per of any team in the Big Ten. The two teams, although have different styles, are close to each other statistic-wise. They shoot about the same %, get about the same amount of boards, like to swat the ball, and turn the ball over a comparable amount. The big difference in the two teams is the fact that Purdue would prefer to run a lot more than would Iowa.

Interesting Tidbit: Iowa fans might remember E'twaun Moore, a freshman guard from Chicago that Alford recruited hard, but ultimately lost to Painter. He is getting a good amount of PT for Purdue and playing very well.

Matt Painter has never beaten Todd Lickliter (albeit there's only one game of record) and Iowa has won 6 out of the last 8 games against the Boilermakers.

There are three "like" opponents for these two teams:
MSU: Iowa won at home, Purdue lost on the road
Ohio State: Iowa lost on the road, Purdue won at home
Iowa State: Iowa lost on the road, Purdue lost at a neutral site

Common denominator: Home Court Advantage.

Stat Rankings Comparison (National Ranks):
Iowa's Offense: 326 vs. Purdue's Defense: 49
Iowa's Defense: 14 vs. Purdue's Offense: 172

Keys to the Game for Iowa
1.) Control the tempo of the game. Don't get into a footrace with Purdue. We saw what happened against Ohio State when the tempo gets out of hand.
2.) Tony Freeman needs to play smart. What Freeman did against Michigan State was exactly what we need every time out. Shoot the open jumper, drive against the defender when he closes on you, and don't force anything.
3.) Solid contribution from the bigs. Rebounds and getting a body on someone will go a long way against this Purdue team.
4.) Play solid, fundamental defense. I can pretty much leave this point on every single game preview because it's the main reason Iowa will have chances to win this year.

If Iowa's D plays to its potential, as it did against MSU, I like the Hawks chances against this dangerous Purdue team.

Iowa - 64
Purdue - 61

Friday, January 11, 2008

Men's BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans VS.

GAME INFO: Sat., Jan 12, 2007 - 7:35 CST - Carver Hawkeye Arena; Iowa City, IA
IOWA: 7-9 (0-3); RPI: 200 / #6 Michigan State: 14-1 (2-0); RPI: 5

TV COVERAGE: Big Ten Network - DIRECTV (Ch. 220) / DISH Network (Ch. 439)

Michigan State certainly hasn't been blowing teams out this year. The Spartans have only played one true road game this year (winning at Bradley by 5 points). This upcoming game vs. Iowa will be their first Big Ten road game of the year, while it will be only Iowa's 2nd home Big Ten game so far this year.

For MSU, it's pretty much been the Raymar Morgan and Drew Neitzel show. Morgan has improved a lot from last year when he was then rated one of the better freshmen in the nation. Neitzel is still the same guy we've have seen year in and year out. He is a tremendous passer, gutty competitor, and can knock down the big trey when it's needed.

My gut tells me this game is going to be a lot like the Indiana game in regards to the closeness of the game, but my head has to disagree after seeing the Iowa team that showed up at Ohio State. MSU has a good number of trees on their roster, I am not sure if Iowa's bigs can matchup with them at all. The Spartan bigs will be rotating in to stay fresh, however Iowa doesn't have that leisure with really only a trio of guys in the paint this year with the loss of Cole.

In order for Iowa to keep it close, the same basic formula needs to hold true for Iowa.
1.) Limit the 2nd chance opportunities for MSU.
2.) Limit turnovers.
3.) Hit the 3 pointers.
4.) Play solid, fundamental defense.
Also, in this game, we need to see some of the Hawkeyes get to the foul line. Freeman, Johnson, Peterson, and Kelly all need to attack the basket. This is ESPECIALLY true if the outside shots are not falling. Iowa cannot continue to throw bombs from the outside, make 1/4 of them, and expect to be competitive.

Iowa - 63
Michigan State - 71

(I've changed that prediction score about 15 times now, with the Iowa loss ranging from 5 points to 21 points... I am keeping it at an 8 point loss for Iowa. If it wasn't for that last game at tOSU, I'd be a little more optimistic.)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Men's BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Ohio State Buckeyes VS.

GAME INFO: Wed., Jan 9, 2007 - 6:05 CST - Value City Arena; Columbus, OH
IOWA: 7-8 (0-2); RPI: 210 / Ohio State: 11-3 (2-0); RPI: 16

TV COVERAGE: Big Ten Network - DIRECTV (Ch. 220) / DISH Network (Ch. 439)

Thad Matta vs. Todd Lickliter. Coach of the Year vs. Coach of the Year.

Iowa plays well in Columbus... they have won 8 out the last 11 in Columbus. Iowa is the only team to have 4 wins in Value City Arena.

What I would like to see tonight from Iowa:
- Get Kurt Looby the ball. WTF did you just write, Spank? Seriously? Yes, totally serious. Looby is hitting almost 70% of his shots. Granted, they have almost all be alley-oops or straight on dunks, but I still want him to see the ball inside.
- Seth Gorney needs to take more shots. Wow, I am on a roll here. Honestly, though, he needs to hit the 15-18 ft jumper after he sets the pick. If the pick and pop works tonight, it will really free up our shooters. This should still work against Ohio St's 2-3 zone.
- Hard nosed defense from everyone on the court. This one is a bit common sense, but I would like to see 40 minutes of great defense. Iowa's D has been terrific all year, however there are lapses in the game where some individuals can get lazy.
- Free Throws. 1) Get to the line. 2) Make the shots.
- Fewer Fouls from Jake Kelly. Jake has fouled out of 3 games so far and had 3 games with 4 fouls. Get this: those 6 games, Iowa is 0-6. Yet when Jake stays out of foul trouble (3 fouls or less), Iowa is 7-1. This doesn't include the 5 min. he played during the Indiana game. Could this all be coincidence? Absolutely, but I'm a stat junkie and this one passes the smell test.
- Limit 2nd Chance Opportunities. Iowa beats Wisconsin in the Kohl Center if they can just limit the 2nd chance points by the Badgers. They will need to limit them tonight, as well.

Going with the shocker on the road...
Iowa - 68
Ohio State - 64

Saturday, January 05, 2008

OT: The Fun Time Show - EPISODE ONE

Every Christmas I give my in-laws some sort of multimedia present... whether that be a song, a video, or anything in between. This year I decided to make a show based on the animation of Tom Goes to the Mayor. I took some of the more peculiar photos of the family, cropped the individuals out, and then used Photoshop to give it the Tom Goes to the Mayor look. I used my PC to record the piano, as well as the singing and voiceovers. I'm not trying to fool anyone, this isn't top notch stuff, but I had a lot of fun doing it and it took a good chunk of December to finish it off. I used Flash MX to do the animation. There is a little bit of profanity in the clips (mainly in the Opening Credits, but you can click on the censored version below the clip). I wrote the script, piano scores, and lyrics... pretty much everything you see/hear I did except some of the obvious background tracks (and my wife helped with graphics, too).

Hopefully you enjoy "The Fun Time Show". If not, eh, who cares?

FUN TIME SHOW INTRO - Umm... pretty self explanatory, it's the opening credits to the show.

Censored version

THEME SONG GUY INFOMERCIAL - Theme Song Guy infomercial from the Fun Time Show...CDs containing your favorite theme songs sung without background music or harmonies, just absolutely gorgeous.

HOT FOOT LUKE'S AEROBICS SHOW - This is one of the clips from The Fun Time Show involving Luke as an aerobics instructor.

I BURNED YOU - This is a prank call show featuring Tessa as Franc. This originated with Tessa leaving me an 8 second voicemail saying she was my neighbor and my dog knocked her down. I remixed the audio and made this skit for the Fun Time Show.

SOAP OPERA SKIT - This is the soap opera sketch from The Fun Time Show. Tessa brings home her boyfriend for the first time and the family doesn't approve.

Friday, January 04, 2008

OT: Warner to Back Blu-ray Exclusively

Awesome, awesome news. Another strike against HD-DVD and another momentum swing for Blu-Ray in the format war.

So as of today:

Supporting studios

Warner Bros20th Century FoxWalt Disney Pictures
Lionsgate FilmsSony PicturesMGM

Blu-ray Disc is supported by six of the eight major movie studios (Disney, Fox, Lionsgate, MGM, Sony and Warner), which have announced that they will release movies in the Blu-ray Disc format. Universal Studios and Paramount are the only movie studios which have chosen to support the competing HD-DVD format exclusively for now. That means that if you want to watch movies in high definition from Universal Studios or Paramount, you have to buy a HD-DVD player. However, if you choose to buy a HD-DVD player instead of a Blu-ray player, you won't be able to play high definition movies from Disney (Buena Vista), Fox, Lionsgate, MGM, Sony and Warner, which have decided to support Blu-ray exclusively. With the majority of the movie studios supporting Blu-ray, the massive support from consumer electronics companies, the fact that PlayStation 3 features a Blu-ray Disc drive that you can play Blu-ray movies with and that Blu-ray is the superior technology over HD-DVD, we believe that Blu-ray is the best choice.

Blu-ray support
HD-DVD support
Warner Bros.
Disney (Buena Vista)
Sony Pictures

Universal Studios

OT: "The Hobbit" Movie CONFIRMED

OK, I heard some talk from some friends about The Hobbit being made. It's been swirling for year. My boss mentioned to be today that he heard on the radio that it was a go. I am sure this is very, very old news, but I just finally read confirmation on the net today -

Looks like it is going to be a two movie deal for a combination of MGM and New Line. Peter Jackson is still in a scuffle with New Line, so there are doubts that he will remain involved, but it looks like for the time being he is set to be the Executive Producer. Rumors are out there that Guillermo del Toro has a shot at directing (that would be sweet, although I rather see Jackson do it).

Sir Ian McKellen said in a BBC News article that he has heard it is a go and that he really wants to be offered the role of Gandalf for both movies.

Like I said, probably old news... but I am wicked stoked to see this actually confirmed somewhere. The Hobbit was the best of the Tolkien books, IMO.

Men's BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Wisconsin Badgers VS.

GAME INFO: Sat., Jan 5, 2007 - 11:05 AM CST - Kohl Center; Madison, WI
IOWA (7-7); RPI: 217 / #24 WISCONSIN (11-2); RPI: 17

To my knowledge, Wisconsin (under Bo Ryan) has only lost 6 times in the Kohl Center. They have somewhere in the neighborhood of a 94% winning percentage since they've started playing in the arena. That's good. Real good. (Thanks Capt. Obvious).

Although Iowa still has the upper hand in the overall record vs. Bucky, Iowa has only won 1 game vs. UW in the last 9 tries. In fact, Iowa is 2-8 in the last 10 and 3-12 in the 15 vs. Wisconsin. It's safe to say that the Hawks have just tipped their hats and called the Badgers their daddy. Iowa basketball is to Wisconsin basketball head to head as Wisconsin football is to Iowa football head to head. Bo has had Iowa's number just as Ferentz has had Wisconsin's number.

In addition to the head to head on-the-court matchups, Bo Ryan, as of late, has pretty much outbattled Iowa for every recruiting battle, as well. Steve Alford was taken to the shed by Ryan on several occasions.

Take at the recruiting battles:

Jon Leuer - Wisconsin and Iowa were 1 and 2 with him. Jon just scored 23 pts on the road in his first Big Ten game ever. Bo Ryan calls him the most fundamentally sound frosh he has ever coached. If I was a betting man, back in Sept of last year I would have put a chunk of change down that Jon was going to be a Hawkeye. I had good info from the Twin Cities that Jon was a heavy lean to Iowa... then he committed to UW.
Jason Bohannon - Like Leuer, it was down to Iowa and Wisconsin. Playing for Marion HS in the state of Iowa, a lot of Hawk fans saw this almost as a slam dunk for Alford. It wasn't so frustrating to see Jason leave because he was the best in the state, it was more because his dad played QB on one of the more popular Iowa football teams history. Turns out JaBo didn't want to be known on campus as Gordy's kid. The #6 SG in the nation in the class wanted to be a Badger. A lot of Iowa fans then turned to the old - "we didn't want him anyway" - card, which, in my opinion is ludacris. Most thought as long as we could land Trevon Hughes, we'd be fine.
Trevon Hughes - Well, I just mentioned Trevon, and I think we are seeing a trend here. Wisconsin and Iowa were the final two for Hughes. Obviously, Iowa lost that battle, as well. Although he played sparingly last year, Trevon is doing a terrific job for the Badgers this year.

Wisconsin players also recruited by Iowa include Brian Butch, Marcus Landry and Keaton Nankivil.

So that brings us to the matchup on the court tomorrow. Both teams played a controlled style of basketball. They try to limit mistakes and limit possessions. Wisconsin has a good balance of upperclassmen and underclassmen, while Iowa's team doesn't have much consistency in that regard. Looks like Jake Kelly is going to be able to go full speed on that ankle he messed up during the first half of the Indiana game, so that is encouraging. SIDENOTE: Unfortunately, no one has found that magical elixir to heal a torn ACL, so Cole won't be in uniform either. Hopefully Jarryd will be ready to go by the start of next year. Hawk fans across the board wish him a speedy recovery.

Wisconsin is nearly unbeatable at home. The #3 seeded NCAA Tournament team from Iowa City lead by Horner and Brunner couldn't even win there. It took a #1 ranked Illinois team to come to the Kohl Center in order to break the Badgers 38 game home win streak. Bucky has a good thing going on up there. I see UW getting out to a 7-10 point lead for most of the game and then closing it out in the end.

Iowa - 58
Wisconsin - 73


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iowa Falls to Indiana, but Justin Johnson Puts on a Show

If you would have told me Iowa was going to lose to the #11 team in the nation by just 3 points, I would have laughed at you. Well, it happened tonight. Just an all-around great effort by the Hawks, who were undermanned all night long when Kelly went out with an ankle injury. Iowa basically played 7 guys all the way. Iowa lost, but didn't go down without a fight.

Check out what Justin Johnson did in last 1:56 of the game:

1:56 70-60 Justin Johnson made Three Point Jumper.
1:01 71-63 Justin Johnson made Three Point Jumper.
0:42 73-66 Justin Johnson made Three Point Jumper.
0:21 75-70 Justin Johnson made Three Point Jumper.
0:15 77-73 Justin Johnson made Three Point Jumper.
0:06 78-76 Justin Johnson made Three Point Jumper

SIX three pointers in the last 1:56; FIVE of them coming in the last 61 seconds of the game.
I personally do not recall ever seeing anything remotely like that in an NCAA basketball game. JJ's performance reminded me of Reggie Miller's feat against the Knicks in the playoffs. It was just insane to watch. Everything he threw up went in.

I put a highlight video together in case you missed it:

If embed doesn't work, here is the direct link: LINK

*EDIT: The video is getting pretty popular on YouTube (at least on the Sports side), here are the stats for the first full day it was uploaded.

Honors for This Video:
I appreciate the link from, as well.

Johnson was just on fire that night, it was a pleasure to watch. College basketball fans can appreciate what he did out there. It's a shame Iowa fans were only able to see JJ play for two years!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Men's BB: Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Indiana Hoosiers VS.

GAME INFO: Wed., Jan 2, 2007 - 8:05 CST - Carver Hawkeye Arena; Iowa City, IA
IOWA (7-6); RPI: 233 / #11 Indiana (11-1); RPI: 44

Good news:
Iowa is at home.
The players seem to be more comfortable in the system.
Jeff Peterson is healthier.
Tony Freeman is healthier.
Cyrus Tate and JR Angle are coming off good games.
Iowa is #2 in scoring defense in the Big Ten.

Bad news:
Iowa's attendance has been pretty poor all season long.
Eric Gordon.
Jarryd Cole is out for the season.
DJ White.
Indiana is off to their best start in almost a decade.
DeAndre Thomas.
Iowa has 9 active players on the team (Bohall back would make it 10).
Jordan Crawford.
Indiana is getting better each time out.
Jamarcus Ellis.
Indiana is leading the Big Ten in scoring.
Armon Bassett.
Iowa is last in the Big Ten in scoring.
Indiana is beating teams by an average of 22 points per game. Iowa is +2.4 PPG.
Indiana is the top rebounding team in the Big Ten, and gives up the fewest rebounds as well.

I was in attendance last year when Iowa beat Indiana in Carver. It was a pretty intense game. Iowa was able to get White in foul trouble early and he was a non-factor. The Hawks destroyed the Hoosiers on the board outrebounding them something like 4 to 1, and shot a ton of FTs to win the game.

The ONLY way that I see Iowa winning this game is if they can get Indy's bigs in foul trouble. Both White and Thomas need to be on the bench for Iowa to have a shot. Thomas might not be too difficult to get done, as he does have a knack for fouling. On top of getting Indy's bigs out of the game, Iowa will need to knock down the treys often and early. You are going to need to see at least 15-20 treys made by Iowa to have a shot in this one. Justin Johnson has played 464 minutes this year so far, tops in the Big Ten (I hope he isn't worn out). He will need to get off a lot of triples, and hit them. Also, make no mistake, Lickliter and his former Butler assistants despise Indiana - they will be prepared for this game. They want this one badly. It might take everything Coach Lickliter has to keep Cornette from suiting up.

Iowa - 46
Indiana - 71