Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Practice Underway

Many changes as the Hawkeyes begin spring practice in 2012. New coaches and veteran coaches with different responsibilities. Lights are now set up at Kinnick. And three new video students are behind the cameras. But the ball is in the air, and blockers are opening holes and for 15 practices, football is back.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Iowa Pro Day

Stopwatches and tape measures were the tools of choice at the Iowa Indoor Practice Facility on Monday as the Hawkeye Seniors were measured and tested in front of some of the NFL's well-known front office personnel.

Following the NFL Combine many schools offer their own opportunity for the leagues' coaches, scouts and general managers to get another look at those who appeared in Indy, as well as their first up-close look at those who were not invited. Today was the Iowa stop on the tour as other in-state schools offer their own day this week, too.

The entire day is video recorded for distribution to many NFL teams upon request.
Photo Courtesy Darren Miller

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Post Season Basketball

Thoughts on March Madness:
  • The NCAA made a bad decision on making every floor look the same. I threw this out on twitter and a few comments supported this. "Hard to Track Games" was commonly supported. Allow the venues that host a chance to promote their city, university or conference. And allow for some originality, not the same generic look at all sites.
  • I enjoy the upsets on Thursday and Friday, but I don't want to watch the 15 seed play the 10 seed on Saturday or Sunday. And I don't want to watch either of those teams play in the sweet sixteen. Lehigh's win over "love 'em or hate 'em" Duke was fantastic. Norfolk State's victory over Missouri will be memorable, but how exciting was the blowout on Sunday by Florida over Norfolk State?
  • There are too many post-season tournaments. There is a place for the NIT, but do we also need the CBI and CIT? There are too many bowl games, but there are also too many tournaments.
  • CBS and the family of stations that carry the NCAA tournament have found the recipe for carrying the field of 68. The only thing I don't like about it is the lateness of the Sunday games. If the NCAA truly is concerned about the "student"-athlete, then have these game end at a reasonable time allowing the players to return home and get to their morning classes. I don't understand why a game is starting near 10pm eastern time on a Sunday night.
  • ESPN could learn from CBS. The network we find the majority of our college basketball during the regular season needs to show the Women's BB tournament the way CBS does - all games need to be televised. ESPN has its flagship as well as ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN Classic, not to mention its online ESPN3. Yet we are stuck to watching one game at a time during the women's tournament. As a Direct TV user I see multiple stations ESPN uses to show game in its entirety to fans of that team. Why not show all games on these same channels without having to pay for them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

NIT First Round in Iowa City

Perhaps one of the best crowds at Carver Hawkeye Arena in the last ten years. Post season crowds can be that way in Iowa City. Its not as if the Hawkeyes want to be playing post season games at home, because that means they aren't in the NCAA field of 68. But in a year that didn't offer much promise for post-season basketball, and to reach a tournament that many didn't think they'd be selected for, the NIT is a welcome sight for one of the Big Ten's more dangerous teams.

Iowa was fortunate to host this first-round game as the #7 seed. But the #2 seed Dayton Flyers' home areana was being used to host the NCAA's First Four. The Hawkeyes were the only lower-seeded team to host their first round game. And the fans turned out to support the home town team.

Tonight's crowd was much different than the what they have in the regular season. But it wasn't because many of the season ticket holders did not attend, but it was because the students were absent due to the University's spring break, and many fans who aren't able to attend Iowa Basketball games were able to as tickets went on sale to the general public 30+ hours prior to tip. This was a crowd that was loud and on their feet from the beginning and played the 6th man role better than they have had in years.

It is college basketball and it should be about the students. But this was a livelier crowd than many others during the season and it had the feeling of what it used to be like during some of the better years in the Arena. It is too bad that the students weren't there tonight to feel what it could be like in Carver, as the alums played their role as if it was twenty years ago.

The Hawkeyes now go on the road to play Oregon.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Big Ten Basketball Tournament

Today begins the Big Ten Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis, and this is the most exciting fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes have been for the post-season in many years. The first round game is against Illinois (BTN), and with a win Iowa will play Michigan State, the overall top seed.

Friday, March 2, 2012

State Champs

North Mahaska defeated Bedford 40-31 for the Class 1A State Girls State Basketball Championship. The win capped off a 28-0 season, ranked #1 from start to finish.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

On To The Finals

Undefeated and number one in the state, the North Mahaska Warhawk Girls Basketball team advanced to the finals to play Bedford for the State Championship. A year ago the team made it to Des Moines but was quickly dismissed in the first round. Perhaps satisfied to make the final 8 in 2011, this year qualifying wasn't enough and this will be the first team in North Mahaska Girls Basketball history to play for the trophy.

Being a graduate, former ball boy of the girls team and having a father who once coached the six-player NM team, I know how big this is for the small class 1A town.