First, the substance. The spice comes a little later into this article.
As of Tuesday afternoon, it appeared CJ Fredrick would be able to play for the Iowa men’s basketball team against Rutgers Wednesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
“I think he’s going to play. I hope he plays,” Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said Tuesday. “But he’s only going to play if he feels right. If he’s in pain and discomfort and can’t go, then he won’t go.”
“I thought he looked good (in Monday’s practice),” Hawkeyes guard Connor McCaffery said. “He made shots, he drove to the basket, and he looked like himself to me.”
That’s important. No. 15 Iowa (13-6, 7-5 Big Ten) has lost four of its last five games. Not coincidentally, Fredrick (8.7 points per game, 26-of-52 from 3-point range) has played a total of 25 minutes in that time.
He could certainly be useful against No. 25 Rutgers (11-6, 7-6), a team that has won its last four games after a five-game losing streak that began with a 77-75 loss to the Hawkeyes in New Jersey on Jan. 2.
Now for the spice. Iowa players Connor McCaffery and Jordan Bohannon had some things to say Tuesday about officiating they didn’t particularly care for in Sunday’s 67-65 loss at Indiana and in certain other recent games.
“For me,” Connor McCaffery said, “there’s one guy in particular that we’ve had in a couple of these games where I feel we haven’t had some things go our way. And I know pretty much everyone else feels the same way. I don’t want to say any names.”
Bo Boroski officiated Iowa’s last two games, three days apart. The only other ref who has worked two of the Hawkeyes’ last four games is Paul Szelc, those being the Jan. 21 game at Illinois and Sunday at Indiana.
“There were some just insane foul calls going back to the Illinois game (Jan. 21), ridiculous foul calls and non-foul calls in Ohio State (Feb. 4 at Iowa),” Connor McCaffery said. “I didn’t think Ohio State was nearly as bad with the refs at all, for the record.
“The Indiana game was pretty nuts in my opinion. ... We put ourselves in a position to win, a lot of things could have still gone our way. But I think with maybe a different ref on a crew that you probably see a different outcome.
“I will say the technical foul (on Fran McCaffery Sunday after Connor McCaffery got called for a foul with 10:16 left in the first half) is ridiculous. That is what I’ll say to defend my dad. That was one of the more-insane technicals I’ve ever seen. It was a horrible call. It was a charge. The kid pushed me down, I’ll say that. It was a charge.
“But to then turn around and call a technical when he didn’t swear, he didn’t run out on the court. … It was an awful technical foul call.”
Fran McCaffery said “You gotta be kidding me!” If he said anything worse, it wasn’t audible from the front row of the Assembly Hall media area that was close enough to the Hawkeyes’ sideline to hear him.
“I think that’s something that probably goes back a couple games,” Connor McCaffery said. “Refs aren’t supposed to do that. They’re supposed to have short-term memory.”
Bohannon said “I think there’s definitely some background bias with some refs with Coach McCaffery. Coach McCaffery literally said ‘Are you kidding me?’ and he gets ‘T’d up for that.
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“That’s what you’re getting ‘T’d up for now? I don’t want to see what basketball’s going to be like in a couple years if that’s the case.”
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