Crowd not up to standard

December 10, 2008

You officially can call free Iowa basketball tickets for students a gimmick. And it didn’t work.

Before an announced crowd of 9,435 and a more legitimate 6,500, Iowa stopped UNI 65-46 Tuesday night. But a weak announcement of students getting in free with their identification cards didn’t resonate with the younger fan base.

“I’m sure they have their reasons,” Iowa sophomore guard Jake Kelly said. “We’re getting into finals here and with the road conditions out there, it’s tough.”

It was a tad icy early in the day but decent by late afternoon. Tuesday’s game was against Northern Iowa, not Bryant. The two largest crowds to watch the Hawkeyes in the state were in Cedar Falls back in 1990 and 1991. Anything less than 13,000 is a shame against an instate foe, even with rough weather.

Iowa’s worst six years in basketball attendance at Carver-Hawkeye Arena have been the last six. Last year’s average of 10,761 was by far the worst ever.

It’s clear apathy has set in with Iowa basketball fans and students. The football program has no problem selling all but the last couple hundred single tickets to its games. It looks like Iowa’s marketing department needs a brainstorming session or whatever catchy slogan marketers use to justify their work (brand, etc.) to reinvigorate the fan base. Winning heals the wound, but you still have to treat it.

Sadly, Tuesday’s crowd was Iowa’s best this year. It’s certain that Friday’s home game against Iowa State will top this one, but this is a clear disappointment.

“I thought it was OK,” Kelly said about the crowd. “I know the roads were a little icy, but I would like see more Hawkeye fans out there for sure.”

Tucker on the bench

December 9, 2008

Freshman Anthony Tucker, who was suspended indefinitely for public intoxication, is seated at the end of Iowa’s bench in street clothes. It’s undetermined when Tucker might rejoin the team.

Get quick updates on UNI-Iowa tonight

December 9, 2008

For updates on tonight’s Iowa-Northern Iowa game, follow me live on Twitter at

I’m not drinking the Twitter Kool-Aid like many of my colleagues, but save for a live blog, it’s the fastest way to get information.

Do in-state games matter?

December 7, 2008

Yes, they do, according to Iowa freshman Matt Gatens.

“Having grown up in the state of Iowa you always paid close attention, and it seems like all the fans pay more attention to those in-state games,” Gatens said. “But you just really got to take a lot of pride in those games and just try to play as hard as we can and try to come out on top in the state.

“It’s a state tournament almost and we take a lot of pride in wanting to beat those teams. Every night you want to beat the team you’re playing, but we almost take a little more pride (against state teams).”

Granted, Gatens, who scored 19 points against Bryant last Friday, is an Iowa City boy and has watched these games since he was dunking on a Nerf hoop. Iowa (7-2) hosts Northern Iowa at 6 p.m. Tuesday, the first of three consecutive games against state opponents for Iowa. The Hawkeyes host Iowa State on Friday, then take eight days off before playing Drake on Dec. 20 in Des Moines.

Lickliter shakes up lineup

December 6, 2008

After starting the same lineup in each of his team’s first eight games, Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter picked two new starters for tonight’s game against Bryant.

Guards Jermain Davis and Jake Kelly replaced freshmen Anthony Tucker and Aaron Fuller in the starting lineup. Davis and Kelly each reached double digits in points against Boston College on Tuesday, while Tucker and Fuller combined for zero points.

Tucker’s chances of playing Friday …

December 4, 2008

It looks like freshman guard Anthony Tucker will play Friday against Bryant, Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter said today.

Tucker, who entered Tuesday’s game as Iowa’s leading scorer at 15.1 points a game, played only eight minutes because he was ill. He didn’t score in the game.

“I think he saw the doc when he got back,” Lickliter said. “I think as much as anything he was under the weather, and you know what that does with your energy, and you needed energy in that game.

“We’re better off just to rest him, because we were competitive. Hopefully it will be a quick recovery here.

“I anticipate him playing right now. He doesn’t have to be 100 percent, you know that, but we’re not going to risk anything. We’re not going to set him back.”

Lickliter explains last play vs. Boston College

December 3, 2008

Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter believed his men’s basketball team could run the floor in 12.5 seconds, make a shot and tie Boston College. It didn’t happen in a 57-55 loss Tuesday night. But here’s the reasoning for his choice.
“What I like to do is inbound it and see, and we did,” he said. “I feel like when we crossed half-court, I probably should have called a timeout at that point, because I didn’t feel we had the court spread and they were scrambling.”
With only seven seconds and a timeout remaining against Kansas State on Saturday, Lickliter did the same thing. That time it worked in a last-second 65-63 win in Las Vegas.
“The other night we had possibilities and opportunities,” Lickliter said. “It ended up working. It makes me look like I know what I was doing. (Tuesday), reality hit. You guys all know now I don’t.”
Lickliter was questioned about his personnel following the game and if he would have taken out freshman forward Andrew Brommer had Lickliter called a timeout. Brommer, who has hit just 3 of 15 free-throw attempts, missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with .4 seconds left.
“He was doing such a good job, but we might have put a perimeter player in for one of the posts,” Lickliter said. “It just depends on what we’re going to run. With 12 seconds left, you don’t have a lot of time to run a set play. I think it’s much better to attack in transition.”
Lickliter thought someone would free themselves for a last-second shot before Brommer was fouled.
“I have the two bigs in there in case he missed,” Lickliter said of Brommer and senior Cyrus Tate. “It’s hard to rebound it and keep them of the glass. Now we grab it and go, now I’m thinking, hey let’s see what happens. Sure enough … we just got beat.”
As for Brommer, Lickliter dismissed the free throw as only a minor factor in the game’s outcome. He said it was the other missed shots that cost Iowa the game.
“You know what, if we took everybody in the gym and we said make a layup or make a free throw, most guys could make the layup,” Lickliter said. “That missed free throw was a lot harder than the layups we missed.”


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