The Big 10 Preview rolls into Day 2 with the Steve Alford-less Iowa Hawkeyes, another team headed for a miserable season. What does it say about Minnesota and Northwestern when the Big 10 favorites lose to Grand Valley St. and Findlay in exhibition? The Big 10/ACC Challenge should be a debacle again this year. Now on with the countdown...

2006-07 Record: 17-14 (9-7)
Projected Finish: 10th
Returning Starters: 2
Head Coach: Todd Lickliter (pictured)
Best Player: Tony Freeman (7.5 PPG, 3.7 APG)

5 Reasons for Optimism:

1) Steve Alford is gone! Iowa fans hated this guy. Lickliter is a major upgrade for in-game coaching, but Alford got the last evil laugh by cleaning out the cupboard on his way out the door (By the way, has anyone had a bigger one-year drop-off than Steve Alford? This guy went from a leading candidate for the Indiana job to the New Mexico coach... On the other hand, he should be right at home coaching thugs like J.R. Giddens.)

2) If Lickliter can take Butler to the Sweet Sixteen (2003, 2007), doing it with Iowa should be a piece of cake.

3) David Palmer has returned from the dead to play forward for the Hawkeyes. What a trooper this guy is...

4) One of the easiest nonconference schedules you will ever see. Seriously, who put this thing together, Glen Mason? The Hawkeyes should be 11-2 on January 1st, which is completely absurd.

5) Pierre Pierce is finally out of the slammer! Think the NCAA will make an exception to give this guy another year of eligibility?

5 Reasons for Pessimism:

1) All-Big Ten first teamer Adam Haluska and his 20.5 points per game have graduated, while standout freshman Tyler Smith (14.9 PPG) transferred to Tennessee.

2) They're leading returning scorer on opening night will be Seth Gorney, who averaged 5.5 PPG last year. Iowa could already rival the Tommy Amaker "point a minute" teams, the likes of which we thought we'd never see again.

3) The Hawkeyes ring in the New Year (and Big 10 schedule) at Wisconsin, at Ohio State, vs. Michigan State and vs. Purdue. Expect the wheels to come flying off at this point.

4) Their best player - Tony Freeman - is a career 38% shooter. In other words, he's the Dion Harris of Iowa. Oh yeah, and he's out for the first month of the season.

5) Lickliter recently asked NBA superstar Ricky Davis to help out with recruiting. Ricky D's response? "Fuck that shit, bitch!"

We aren't going to sit here and support Steve Alford. We will always support a coach getting run out of town. Alford asked for it too, pissing off the locals, recruiting thugs and bombing during the NCAA Tournament.

But the folks in Iowa City are a little greedy. Tom Davis was shoved out in 1999 after making 9 of 13 NCAAs (including the Sweet Sixteen in his final year), and the Hawkeyes have been headed backward ever since.

Lickliter did a ridiculous job at Butler and many hoped he would end up in Ann Arbor. He should eventually have them competing for Big 10 titles again. But will that be enough? Iowa seems unsatisfied with anything less competing for Final Fours which we don't see in our crystal ball unless Ricky Davis Jr. walks into Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

1 comment:

storminspank said...

Good stuff. If it wasn't for Tony's injury I could see Iowa will 18 wins (most coming in their cupcake OOC)... but man, it looks tough now with only 10 men on the Iowa bench.