(Note to readers: I changed the title of this post because one of you good e-mailers politely let me know Iowa had a 3-game stretch that produced just 147 points in the 1983-84 season. It’s been corrected in the words that follow, too, and I appreciate the head’s up.)
Going into Wednesday night’s home game against Wisconsin, the Iowa men’s basketball team has three straight defeats.
There have been longer stretches of losing.
But as far as putting the ball in the basket, it has rare over the last 60 years when the Hawkeyes have endured a 3-game stretch like the one they’re enduring.
Iowa’s totals of 49, 49 and 53 in games against Minnesota, Michigan and Purdue add up to 151, an average of 50.3.
Topping 50 Sunday at Purdue prevented the Hawkeyes from their first three-game streak of being held under that mark. The last time that happened was the 1948-49 season, when they had four consecutive games in the 40s.
No shot clock or 3-point line existed then, of course.
Iowa had back-to-back games in the 40s once last season, too, and seven overall.
This season, things looked better. The Hawkeyes actually topped 70 on four occasions. They didn’ t plummet under 50 until a 60-43 loss at Drake on Dec. 20. It was a harbinger of bad Big Ten things to come.
A 52-49 home loss to Minnesota. A 64-49 defeat at Michigan. And the most recent indignity, a 75-53 whipping at Purdue.
Now comes Wisconsin, which isn’t exactly a go-go outfit. Iowa scored 51 and 54 in losses to the Badgers last season.
There was a time when when the Hawkeyes were interesting on offense.
Maybe again some year. Maybe next year.
But not now.
I’m not trashing Todd Lickliter, not when he inherited a shell of a roster when he got to Iowa, and not when injuries have stopped this season’s team from maximizing its potential.
But when he doesn’t have the personnel to play his style of basketball, it’s hard to watch. And the way the Hawkeyes are playing right now is hard to watch.
The men’s basketball budgets of Northern Iowa and Drake are roughly half that of those at Iowa and Iowa State. So who has the two best teams in the state right now?
Northern Iowa, for sure, and probably Drake despite getting blasted by the Panthers the way it did last weekend.