Key stat in Iowa-ISU

December 13, 2008

The one stat that surprised me the most in Friday’s Iowa-Iowa State game wasn’t the final score. It was the rebounding margin.

Sure, I didn’t think Iowa would win by 16 at 73-57. I wasn’t sure  Iowa could win by one point. But for Iowa to roll past Iowa State 38-23 on the boards was nearly unimaginable.

Iowa had out-rebounded all but three of its opponents, but none by as many as 15. The biggest margin Iowa provided before Friday was a 14-rebound advantage against Bryant. The three schools that had out-rebounded Iowa earlier — West Virginia, Kansas State and Boston College — all came from major Division I conferences.

Iowa whipped Iowa State in every area. Iowa led in points off turnovers (25-12), second-chance points (13-2) and fast-break points (11-2). The teams were even in turnovers (12) and assists (11). Iowa State had one more 3-pointer (8 to 7).

When the season is complete and the Iowa-Iowa State statistics are compiled into next year’s media guide, everyone will notice that Iowa won decisively. But you can’t put on paper the edge Iowa carried in effort. Iowa State played a sloppy, almost lazy game, especially in the second half. Iowa played inspired and with intensity. Both teams have an eight-day layoff before playing on Dec. 20. We’ll see if either team continues that trend.


Terrible towels invade Carver

December 12, 2008

On each seat along the first 22 rows at Carver-Hawkeye Arena sits a black towel with a gold Tiger-hawk logo. It appears Iowa wants a rowdy and active crowd for its game against Iowa State tonight.

Outback Bowl win worth major cash to Ferentz

December 11, 2008

Iowa stands two spots outside the USA Today Coaches’ Poll Top 25. If the Hawkeyes beat South Carolina in the Outback Bowl and jump back into the Top 25, it’s worth major bucks for Coach Kirk Ferentz.

A clause in Ferentz’s contract states if the team finishes the season in that poll’s Top 25, Ferentz receives a $100,000 bonus. If Iowa happens to jump several spots and land in the Top 20, that bonus increases to $125,000.

The Outback Bowl already has added some major coin to Coach Kirk Ferentz’s pocketbook. Ferentz, who is the highest-paid state employee, has a contract clause that if Iowa participates in a bowl paying out more than $1 million, he gets a $75,000 bonus. The Outback Bowl guarantees at least $3 million for its participants.

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.