Sunday, December 8, 2013

UNI Post Game Thoughts

For about 24 minutes of game action this one had the traditional feel of a UNI game.  With every passing minute, every missed shot and every increase in UNI's lead ISU fans everywhere were thinking where did this come from?  The truth is we should have all known it wouldn't be easy.  It never is when you play UNI.  Hoiberg had never beaten UNI coming into this game.  The only other school Hoiberg has coached against multiple times and not beaten is Missouri.  For a little over an hour of real time ISU fans most likely used every cuss word in the book and probably physically abused random pieces of furniture.  Then, the Cyclones game storming back, hitting shots and getting stops.  What seemed like an escape and a disheartening sign for the upcoming Iowa-Iowa State game shouldn't be the case at all.  This was a big win.

This win won't go down in March as a marquee win by any means, but we know for sure it won't go down as a bad loss because it wasn't a loss at all.  Keeping bad losses off the resume is almost as important as putting big wins on there.  Keeping bad losses off the resume is something Hoiberg teams haven't done in the last couple of NCAA tournament season.  There was Drake and UNI two years ago and Texas Tech just a year ago.  There are still potential bad losses out there but they are becoming fewer and fewer as games go on.  This was a big win.

This Friday will be one of the most hyped Iowa-ISU games in the history of the series.  Coming off a loss, ISU most likely would have fallen out of the rankings and taken some of the sizzle out of the matchup.  Standing at 7-0, ISU should be favored in the rest of their non-conference games.  This doesn't guarantee they will turn into wins but it makes an undefeated non-conference worthy of a conversation.  A perfect slate through the non-conference would set ISU up for a higher ranking, more hype and some serious momentum going into the conference season.  A loss might have made it hard for them to climb back into the ranking they currently hold.

The way in which ISU won this game has got to give them an incredible confidence boost.  Down 18 with under 16 minutes left isn't something they will want to get used to but it can only help ease their frustrations the next time they hit a cold spell shooting the basketball.  I think the team and Hoiberg learned a lot about this squad during the comeback.  They have multiple "closers" in Kane and Niang and a great ability to grab defensive rebounds late in the game with Hogue and Ejim out there.  There were a lot of encouraging signs throughout the last 16 minutes and overtime.

Going forward I can see why Iowa and ISU wanted to quit playing these games in Cedar Falls and Des Moines.  The Big 4 Classic doesn't really do it for me but I think it beats the alternative.  ISU is filling the arena no matter the opponent right now so its not like they need the in-state home games to get people in the gate.  Although its not far from Ames it is far from a home game in Des Moines.  There are a lot of Iowa fans living in the metro area and at many times 3/4 of the fans are cheering against ISU.  It does give them some prep for a conference tournament atmosphere, something they have struggled with under Hoiberg.  Going forward I don't mind the Big 4 continuing  as it sounds like they are looking for alternate TV coverage next year.  However I would prefer (although I don't think it will happen) Iowa and ISU each playing a bigger opponent in a doubleheader at Wells Fargo.

Next up is Iowa in Hilton on Friday.  I will have plenty more on that coming up this week.  It is a BIG, BIG game for both teams as it could set both teams up well seed line wise going into conference play.

1 comment:

  1. ISU Iowa double header playing better teams is a neat idea. Might be able to get Creighton and maybe Missouri? In something like this do the teams make money? What would be the draw for other teams to come to Des Moines for something like this?