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Home / Hlas: Hawkeyes suffer basketball version of the hives
MADISON, Wis. - Maybe it's just as well Iowa's basketball team was lousy against Wisconsin Tuesday night.
The way the sixth-ranked Badgers played, it would have been a waste of energy had the Hawkeyes hung with Wisconsin for most of the game and only lost by 6 or 8 points. Or 16 or 18. Better to save it for Saturday at Purdue when that game starts 0-0 … and Iowa will need whatever it was saving.
'It's never as good as it seems, it's never as bad as it seems,” Hawkeyes Coach Fran McCaffery said after his team's 82-50 drubbing in Kohl Center. That's good for the Hawkeyes, because they wouldn't want to be as bad as they looked.
This is the college basketball life for a lot of teams. You're up, you're down, you're up, you're down. Not Wisconsin, but … well, the Badgers did lose at Rutgers last Sunday. Almost everybody hurts sometimes.
Things were warm and fuzzy three days earlier for Iowa when it beat Ohio State in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Here, things were itchy and scratchy, like a basketball version of the hives.
Maybe the tables get turned when the Badgers come to Iowa City on Jan. 31. If you're betting on Iowa to win, though, you'll find no shortage of takers from now until then.
'That's a very good team,” Wisconsin Coach Bo Ryan said, and it might amaze you to learn he was talking about Iowa, not his own club.
'Iowa can cause a lot of havoc, and they have. They were positioned - and they're in a position right now - towards the top of the league, and it's not by accident.
'We know we've got to play them again, and maybe again, and maybe again, who knows?”
OK, we'll hold off on discussing that possible fourth meeting, which would have to be deep into the NCAA tournament. But it might be just as useful to dwell on a fun fantasy like that as opposed to reliving the reality of what happened Saturday.
Ryan and McCaffery were both right, though. Iowa isn't as rotten as it was Tuesday. It's also isn't as good as the Badgers. We all knew that two months ago, and two weeks ago, but we began to wonder after Iowa had built a 4-1 Big Ten record that equaled Wisconsin's.
But here's the truth, Ruth: Nobody in the college game would have beaten the Badgers here Tuesday the way they were playing. For all the talk about their ball-movement and passing and defense, for their 3-point shooting when it mattered, here's a statistic that screams excellence:
And that came because of an air ball that caused a 35-second violation, not a temporary moment of ball handling madness.
This was the second time Wisconsin has had a 1-turnover game. The first was in 2008 against Michigan State when the Badgers scored a 57-42 win. Like Tuesday, that was a matchup of two ranked teams in which Wisconsin was fully on its game and won handily.
Michigan State went to the Sweet 16 in 2008. Is that a correlation with the 2015 Iowa team. Uh, no. But that was a good team that did some bobbing up and down in the regular-season, including a 43-36 loss at Iowa. So, don't throw out the baby with the ugly bathwater that was this performance by the Hawkeyes.
'We did some of it to ourselves,” McCaffery said, 'and they did some of it to us.”
More accurately, the Hawkeyes did a lot of it to themselves, and Wisconsin did a lot of it to the Hawkeyes.
The biggest story in the game was probably the ruckus ESPN commentator Dan Dakich caused when he called Iowa center Adam Woodbury 'gutless” for gouging Wisconsin players Nigel Hayes and Frank Kaminsky in the eyes.
It was nothing compared to what Hayes and Kaminsky did to the Hawkeyes with their play, but it got people on both sides riled up. An irate McCaffery said Dakich was 'completely out of line.”
'I'm not even a little ‘out of line',” Dakich replied Tuesday night on Twitter.
Woodbury's pokes didn't seem to have the Badgers seeing red after the game.
'I'm blind,” Kaminsky joked. Then he added 'It happens during the game. I've had much worse happen.”
Wisconsin guard Josh Gasser was questioned about some second-half talking he and Iowa guard Peter Jok engaged in that concluded with Gasser gazed up at the scoreboard.
'I was just checking the scoreboard for myself,” Gasser said without even pretending to be telling the truth.
Winners laugh. Maybe the Hawkeyes can do some laughing again in the near future. It would be a bit of a victory if they left this game behind without crying.
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