Tag Archives: Northwestern

Hlas Column on Hawkeyes’ Much-Needed Win Over Northwestern

Big down the stretch

Devan Bawinkel: Big down the stretch

 

IOWA CITY — It was a most peculiar game in many aspects, yet it felt so right for Iowa.

“A win is a win,” said a pleased fan leaving Carver-Hawkeye Arena Saturday evening. But some wins are better than others, and this was one of the better ones.

It wasn’t a great achievement in terms of importance, and it certainly wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing victory in Hawkeyes men’s basketball annals. Beating Northwestern at home has almost always met expectatons, not produced joy.

But Iowa’s 56-51 triumph over the Wildcats felt so good to the victors and their 12,555 fans here. It was needed, and it was earned.

“I can’t imagine if you’re a Hawkeye fan walking out of here disappointed with this group,” said Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter.

In fact, the vibe was surprisingly good from before tip-off until Jarryd Cole’s last-second shot block to punctuate the win with a crowd-delighting exclamation point.

Maybe it was the pleasing weekend weather that established the good feelings. Maybe it was the accommodating 5 p.m. starting time. Maybe it was reduced ticket prices.

Whatever the case, this wasn’t a Carver with wide swathes of empty seats, or of fans looking for any excuse to climb up the steps early for a head-start on beating traffic. The mood was good, and the Hawkeyes added to it with 40 minutes of effort.

“This crowd showed up to support a group of guys that have been playing hard and haven’t been rewarded,” Lickliter said. “I think that was instrumental in us playing with the kind of spirit we needed to complete this game.

Victory

Todd Lickliter: Victory

This wasn’t a woeful Wildcats roster. This was a team that had done the unthinkable two weeks earlier and won at Michigan State. This was a team that had won four of its previous five Big Ten games, and had the NCAA tournament in at least some corner of its mind.

“They’re very capable,” Lickliter said. “Very capable.”

But the Hawkeyes played defense.

Northwestern’s 37.5 percent shooting from the field was better than Iowa’s, but it certainly wasn’t good enough to offset the Hawkeyes’ aggressiveness. Each time it seemed the Wildcats were wresting momentum away, it got wrested right back.

Usually, a 3-pointer did the trick. The “peculiar” aspects of this game mentioned earlier? Those would be topped by Iowa making 12 threes, and just two 2-point baskets. Thirty of the Hawkeyes’ 40 shot-attempts were 3-pointers.

Playing a 1-3-1 defense that clogs the arteries to the hoop, Northwestern virtually begs you to keep chucking threes. Iowa kept chucking them.

It wasn’t as if the Wildcats’ offense looked much more well-rounded. They shot more threes than twos, too. Craig Moore put up 18 shots for NU. All were from beyond the arc. Only six went in.

Guard Devan Bawinkel got his first start for Iowa. He shoots threes. In fact, all but four of his 90 shots this season have been threes.

He made a 3-pointer 33 seconds into this game. He made a trey with 1:05 left in the game for a 48-46 lead that Iowa didn’t surrender.

Bawinkel had missed his previous seven shots before that big basket — and one was even a 2-pointer! But when he was open and the game was up for grabs, he didn’t hesitate to try another. The swish helped make those 12,555 fans and his teammates feel good. It made Bawinkel feel good, too. How do we know this?

“It just feels good to win,” Bawinkel said. “It feels really good to win. To beat a Big Ten team just feels really good nowadays.”

This is still a team that’s 3-8 in the Big Ten and may have to do well just to match its 5-13 league mark of last year. This is still a green club with deficiencies and voids. Rome isn’t being built in a day, or two years.

But when rolling over and playing dead might have been the easiest performance to give, at least these guys have chosen something far more dignified. Guard Jeff Peterson certainly has.

Peterson played 40 minutes. He lost the ball six times, but had four steals, five assists, and a team-high 16 points. He followed Bawinkel’s biggest 3-pointer of the year by stripping Northwestern’s Michael Thompson of the ball and sinking two free-throws after Thompson’s frustration foul.

Then, with 5.6 seconds remaining, Peterson secured the win with another pair of foul shots.

Peterson needed this win. Everyone in his locker room did, as well. There was a reason Lickliter was high-fiving fans on his way off the arena floor.

“Losing and learning is not as bad as losing and not learning,” said Lickliter, “but it sure isn’t much fun.”

A 4-game losing streak that began with a giveaway at Penn State and ended with something yucky at Indiana had ended.

It was a sunny Saturday here, outside and within the gymnasium. A lot of yucky stuff had melted away, if only for a day.

A win is a win.

Hawkeyes to Outback Bowl For Absolute Sure … Or Not

Its bowl-juggling week

It's bowl-juggling week

 

Old Mike has been pretty adamant this weekabout an Iowa-South Carolina Outback Bowl.

When will he learn?

You take nothing for granted with these crazy bowls. Here are scenarios that have fans, media, and perhaps even teams hopeful or nervous around the Big Ten and SEC:

1) The Capital One Bowl takes 8-4 Mississippi instead of 9-3 Georgia, dropping Georgia to the Outback Bowl. Ole Miss is a much-hotter team than Georgia right now and its fans would probably treat a trip to Orlando as the greatest thing to hit Ole Miss since Eli Manning signed on the dotted line to play there.

2) The Outback takes LSU instead of South Carolina. Why? Enthusiasm in South Carolina for the Gamecocks appears to be minimal given the woeful way Steve Spurrier’s team finished the season, with one-sided losses to Florida and state rival Clemson.

3) The Cap One takes 8-4 Iowa instead of 9-3 Michigan State. Why? Just because. Some MSU supporters are scared it could happen.

4) The Outback takes 9-3 Northwestern rather than Iowa. Why? Because it would be confident it could sell just as many tickets and fill just as many hotel rooms with the Wildcats as the Hawkeyes, given Northwestern’s track record as a team that brings lots of fans to its bowls.

All that said, the Hlog stands strong with Iowa-South Carolina in the Outback. And by “strong,” of course, that means like a tin shack in a hurricane.

Go Ahead and Vent Right Here, Hawkeye Fans

You know you’re upset. You know things seem to have completely spiraled away this season, already. You need to express yourself.

Let this be your refuge. Just keep it clean and don’t leave yourself open to something a battery of lawyers will need to unravel.

I’ll be checking in later this evening and again Sunday to OK and pass along your thoughts on the Hawkeyes’ 22-17 loss to Northwestern. Go ahead and vent. The Hlog is listening.

Northwestern-Iowa football on ESPN Classic???

 

Will someone please explain how or why Saturday’s Northwestern-Iowa football game is on ESPN Classic? Does ESPN know something about this game that we don’t?

No offense to either team, but doesn’t an event have to prove itself to be a classic before it can be defined as one? And frankly, how likely is it that the Wildcats and Hawkeyes will team up to play a game that ranks among the best Kinnick Stadium has ever hosted?

Here’s ESPN’s description of ESPN Classic:

ESPN Classic is a 24-hour, all-sports network devoted to telecasting the greatest games, stories, heroes and memories in the history of sports.

It seems an exaggeration based on Saturday’s programming. Take a look. All times are Eastern, and all of these links are dead.

11:00a – Billiards – 2005 Men’s Trick Shot Magic, First Semifinal
 12:00p – College FootballNorthwestern at Iowa
 3:00p – Drive to the New York Auto Show
 4:00p – Drive to the Los Angeles Auto Show
 5:00p – Drive to the North American International Auto Show
 6:00p – Drive to the Chicago Auto Show
 7:00p – Drive to the New York Auto Show
 8:00p – Boxing – 2001: Acelino Freitas vs. Alfred Kotey
 9:00p – Boxing – 2005: Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis Castillo
 10:00p – Boxing – J.C. Chavez
 11:30p – Boxing – 1988: Tyson/M. Spinks
 12:00a – 2007 World Series of Poker

If Iowa and Northwestern play the Game of the Year in college football, or even the Game of the Day, it probably will be the most “Classic” event ESPN Classic airs all day.

But doesn’t it have to establish itself as a classic first? It seems like a lot of needless ressure to put on the two teams.

Go out there and play one of the most stirring football games mankind has ever seen, men. Don’t just play hard. Do amazing things, things that far transcend anything you’ve ever done in your lives.

No, this game looks like Big Ten Network material. You know, where the league’s many so-so games are shown each week.

 

Sunday’s Seven: College Football Weekend in Review

1. Some Northern Iowa fans were and are mad at the Hlog for a dumb, inaccurate post that was here for about a day last week saying Maine had been 1-0 vs. the state of Iowa in football. UNI routed Maine in an NCAA Division I-AA playoff game in 2001.

Well, the Hlog isn’t and has never been a UNI-hater. But I fully understand and appreciate Panther fans feeling like they get short-shrift in statewide coverage. They often do. If it’s any comfort, my mistakes are equal-opportunity employers.

UNI lost 41-17 at 16th-ranked Brigham Young Saturday, but represented itself a lot better than most FCS teams against FBS teams. UNI will be just fine this season. Again. I expect to cover an FCS playoff game in the UNI-Dome this year. Again.

2. Speaking of FBS-FCS, FBS (I-A) teams won 31 of 32 games against FCS teams in Week 1. The only FBS loser was Chuck Long’s San Diego State team, to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Not good, Chuck.

3. I watched a lot of the Illinois-Missouri game Saturday night. Mizzou is again really good. Illinois did well just to stay somewhat close to the Tigers. Illini quarterback Juice Williams, by the way, could be the Big Ten’s best offensive player.

4. Florida International, Iowa’s next “opponent,” gained all of 139 yards in its 40-10 loss at Kansas. The Jayhawks threw 52 passes in that game.

5. Utah rushed for only 36 yards at Michigan and still got a 25-23 win. Of course, Michigan also rushed for 36 yards. The Wolverines’ new spread offense has miles to go with their current personnel.

6. Ohio State kicked five field goals against Youngstown State in its 43-0 win. The last one was a 54-yarder in the fourth-quarter to close out the game’s scoring.

7. Watch out for Northwestern this season. The Wildcats mowed down Syracuse, 30-10 with a balanced offense (6.3 yards per carry, 6.1 yards per pass attempt) and sturdy defense. Syracuse isn’t good, but the Wildcats have terrific veterans at the skill positions on offense.