Saturday, March 20, 2010

Boy was I wrong and a big surprise

Boy was I wrong. Lickliter is out as U of I basketball coach. Now the question is who to hire. First and foremost, I think it has to be someone with Iowa ties. Neither Lickliter nor Alford before him had those ties or seemed to develop them.

My short list includes Bruce Pearl, the head coach at Tennessee, who was an assistant to Tom Davis at Iowa; but to expect him to leave a successful program and rebuild at Iowa? I think not.

Then there is Tom Davis's son Keno. He continued his dad's rebuilding at Drake and took them to the NCCA tournament before leaving for a bigger school out east.

The big surprise this year is Ben Jacobson's UNI Panthers. Just a few minutes ago they upset #1 Kansas! The man can obviously coach. Go Panthers!

My first choice would be Keno Davis. He lived here for a long time. His dad still lives here, and the Davis style of basketball with constant pressure is nothing if not exciting to watch.

Second would be Ben Jacobson, almost sure to be named coach of the year after advancing his team to the sweet 16. But then I remember that Lickliter was also named coach of the year after coaching a mid major team to the sweet 16.

The key is to make Iowa basketball fun to watch again. The hard pressing Davis system provides that and success besides. We'll see what happens. For now good night.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hawkeye basketball

Speculation is rife about the future of Iowa basketball coach Todd Lickliter. The Hawks have suffered through the two worst seasons in history the past two years. Some of that is not Lickliter's fault.

Steve Alford is a good coach as he is proving at New Mexico, but he was never a good fit for Iowa. His star system won a few Big Ten titles and some NCAA tournament bids, but it also produced the Pierre Pierce fiasco. That's not how we do things in Iowa, and every rumor of an opening at Indiana proved a distraction to the team. So good riddance to Alford. The decline in attendance began and only accelerated during his tenure.

Now on to Lickliter. He had a very young team this year who gained valuable experience and has a good recruiting class coming in next year. Transfers have been a problem which brings up two questions. Could he have done more to encourage these guys to stay? I'm not inside the program and so have no idea.

The question of should he have done more only requires my opinion, and I would say yes. That has been his biggest failing.

My guess as to Lickliter's future? Based on this young team's effort and the recruiting class coming in next season, I'd say he has one more year to produce at least a winning season if not an NCCA tournament bid.

My personal preference would be that Tom Davis had never been unceremoniously let go. Davis then began building the program at Drake and handed it off to his son last year who then took Drake to the tournament. Shortly after, he took the coaching job at a higher profile school out east. Does anyone seriously think that if Tom Davis had been retained and handed the program off to his son that the son would have left for greener pastures? You can't get much more big time than the Big Ten.

Enough. It is what it is, but I do miss those days when Hawkeye basketball was fun to watch. I'll give Lickliter another year. For now, good night.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hawks win the Orange Bowl!

Okay, I know this is late; but I had to work the night of the game and have been busy ever since. I listened to the game on the radio, but there's nothing like watching it. Would have loved to be in Miami for the game but I had to settle for watching a recording of the game at home. All I can say is, wow!

Defensive coordinator Norm Parker's defense has taken to heart his philosophy of "10 seconds of hell". How else to explain holding one of the most prolific offenses in the nation to roughly half their usual output? And how about Adrian Clayborn, a defensive lineman who was named the game MVP? The only times GT was able to gain any yards on the ground was when they ran away from him. This guy could have made millions by jumping to the NFL, but he'll be back at Iowa next season. As head coach Kirk Ferentz said with a smile, he's going for national honors now.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Hawks did what they had to do to win the game, just as they've done all season. Say what you will about Stanzi's interceptions, including a pick six in the Orange Bowl, he's proven again and again that he's a winner. He's not an NFL quarterback right now, but he could get there. He just has to keep working and improving.

There have been some comments from Georgia Tech players and coaches that they shot themselves in the foot. That reminds me of the last time Iowa was in the Orange Bowl in 2002 and got trounced by USC. It wasn't the loss that rankled so much as the fact that the Hawks played poorly. Kirk Ferentz and his staff learned a valuable lesson that day. A bowl game should be fun for the players, but they also have to prepare and above all play hard. That lesson has carried over into the regular season. Apart from a couple of down years Iowa has always, win or lose, played their hearts out.

In short, what a great game. What an incredible season. What a fantastic year to be an Iowa Hawkeye fan!

For now good night.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Psychologists say that you should give the bad news first, thus allowing the good news to provide a boost for the psyche.

So let's start with the downside of 2009. First of course is the economy. Record unemployment seems to be the root of the problem. Until employment recovers the recession is likely to continue because, sadly, our economy is largely based on consumer spending. I don't know how to fix that, but I do know that until I feel secure that my hours at work won't be cut to the bone I'm not going to go into debt to buy that car that I'd like to have but don't actually need just yet.

Also on the downside is that The Army Corps of Engineers has said that our plan for flood control does not meet the cost-benefit ratio. In simple terms, that means that the cost of the flood control measures is higher than the cost of potential future flood damage. The key word there is "potential". Nobody, including the Corps, expected the flood of 2008. We're talking about people who lost everything. Our downtown and numerous neighborhoods near the river were devastated. Are we now to decide that this part of downtown or that neighborhood will be protected but another won't? To quote a home owner,"It feels like another slap in the face." I could not agree more. We all know that this is going to be a 10-15 year project. We're Iowans. We're resilient. All we're asking for is the help that we need, just as was done for Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

On the upside, FEMA has agreed to pay most of the cost of rebuilding the public library. Now the only question is where to build downtown. Wherever they build I'm looking forward to the opportunity to while away an afternoon at the library on my day off.

Also on a good note is that I know few people who have lost their jobs. I've been there, and it sucks. For a workaholic like me, there's no better way to suck your self image right down the drain. Okay, maybe that wasn't such a good note. But all indications are that the situation is turning around, and I pray that all who need work will find it in this new year and enjoy good health as well.

For now, good night.

About Me

I work in health care, love books, love music, enjoy the internet, my friends, and my routine. 8-)