First off, congratulations to Chicago Cubs and all of the Cubs fans, except for all of the Cubs fans that were Royals fans last season. There is a special place in hell for you where they just force you to watch Major League 3 on a continuous loop but they replace Scott Bakula with Scott Baio, because you’re in hell and you did this to yourself.
I have no beef with the Iowa Hawkeyes. My father attended the University of Iowa back in the day. Both of my parents were born in our bordering state. I have been forced to watch Iowa football games with a group of drunkards who just spat out nonsense the entire time. There is a very small part of me that has an unfortunate connection to the University of Iowa that I cannot deny.
Still, with my unfavorable connection, I cannot help but think negative things when I close my eyes and imagine up a die hard Iowa Hawkeye fan. Usually, the person I enjoy working with the least always has Hawkeye memorabilia hanging up in their work space.
My wife was born into Oregon Duck fan hood, and when we first started dating we would go from establishment to establishment each week during football season in Omaha looking for a place for her to watch Oregon Duck games. Typically, we would get told we could watch the bottom line of scores during the Husker game and if we were lucky ESPN might cut away to the Oregon game for a quick second to provide an update.
One time we went to DJs Dugout during a time that there was no Husker game, so we felt lucky about our chances that they would play the Oregon game. We were told they would play the game for us, but there was an Iowa game on that night so there would be close to a 100 people in yellow screaming. I immediately felt sorry for the waitress, knowing based on my Iowa roots that she would be dealing with a bunch of patrons complaining about not being able to smoke inside a bar and that clearly everything bad that happened was Obama’s fault. Also, of course at the end of the night the dishwasher would have to deal with handling a number of glasses with spit, back wash, and chewing tobacco.
Still, I grew up as a closet Hawkeye fan. My friends obsessed over Husker football recruiting and had Husker watch parties, while I had to watch Iowa games by myself or with the drunks. If I even asked to change the channel to the Hawkeyes, I would get picked on. Eventually, I just fell into peer pressure and went on in life as a Husker fan. Yet, if I ever played a college sports video game, I typically would always play as the Iowa Hawkeyes…or create UNO as a team. I still have Iowa as one of the teams I receive updates for on the ESPN ap, and I get made fun of for this.
I only provide you this prelude to hopefully point out that I might actually be objective in a Mavericks versus Hawkeyes match up.
December 3rd is apparently the Summit League versus Big 10 Challenege Day.
Oral Roberts will be playing at Michigan State, and the Golden Eagles will most likely get slaughtered.
Nebraska fans will spend their day pretending the Huskers did so poorly against South Dakota since Craig Smith knows Tim Miles so well, and not accept that the Huskers are actually just bad at basketball. Actually, I think Nebraska will not be as bad as people think this season, but South Dakota still has a fighting chance against them.
The Omaha Mavericks will also take a short drive to face the sort of prestigious Iowa Hawkeyes.
I like Iowa. Not the state, but the university and the athletic program. With that said, I don’t think they will be very good this season. My expectations are not very high for the Hawkeyes, yet I have been told to not count them out because Fran McCaffery is such a good coach, and many people expect them to be a NIT team. While he is a good basketball coach, it is completely acceptable to tune into an Iowa Hawkeye game and wonder why they’re letting the team accountant pace the sidelines.
The Hawkeyes may have made the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2016, but they lost four starters from that team. A team we thought would go undefeated in the Big 10 after they topped Michigan and Michigan State in the middle of the year because Fran McCaffery was such a good coach but then ended up losing 4 in a row and lost to Illinois in their first game of the Big 10 Tournament. You should blame Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury for that, just because. Don’t blame McCaffery, he’s the best. Actually, it would be best to blame Obama.
The lone returning starter for the Hawkeyes is Peter Jok. An athletic 6’6″ player that can play the guard position and hit threes. Guys like this have not been kind to the Mavericks since transitioning to division one. It would not be great for the Mavericks if the Hawkeyes were playing Jok at shooting guard against a smaller Marcus Tyus or Kyler Erickson. I may just think this because of the haunting memories I have of Shavon Shields a few years ago having his way with Tyus and just shooting over him all night.
Aside from Jok, the Hawkeyes are a young team and it appears they will be having issues trying to figure out who to play on the court, especially early in the season. The Mavericks offense is based on running out into traffic and causing confusion, and it looks like the Hawkeyes could get easily confused by the Mavericks. If the Mavericks get out and run, Tra-Deon Hollins spin moves into some and-one opportunities, the Hawkeyes could have some problems with their lack of chemistry and experience in this game…and the whole season. This game, may actually be the biggest opportunity for the Mavericks to pull off an upset against a Power 5 team.
The Hawkeyes may have more athleticism, but the Mavericks at least know who and what they are. Since teams in their own state wont play them, the Mavericks look at teams like the Hawkeyes for a win to bring a notoriety to their program. Guys like Tre’Shawn Thurman, Tra-Deon Hollins, and Mitchell Hahn have had Iowa on their minds most likely since they were youngsters. This is a game they badly want to win. They may actually want this win more than the Hawkeyes. Do you remember how close the Mavericks played the Hawkeyes the last time they traveled to Iowa City?
The Mavericks may not have the advantage if the game is slowed down. Iowa recruited very well for post players. They landed three freshman all around 6’8 and 250 pounds. They probably cannot play all three of these guys, and are likely to redshirt at least one of them. Tyler Cook is the most coveted, who McCaffery already thinks could be a legendary player at Iowa.
Cook does not appear super fast, but he also does not appear super slow. He is a strong player with a number of post moves. If the game is slowed down, Tre’Shawn Thurman will need to stay out of foul trouble, and let’s sit and hope that Daniel Meyer and Zach Pirog have both improved defensively.
That is somewhat of an issue for the Mavericks in this game. With Iowa’s size and athleticism, the Mavericks need somewhat unproven guys like Meyer, Pirog, and Zach Jackson to really step up in this game for the best chance to win, especially on defense.
The Mavericks do have an opportunity to win this game, but they could be playing on tired legs with this being their sixth road game of the year, and the third of a four game road trip. At least the Mavericks will be used to playing on the road already by early December…
This game will be at 1pm on a Saturday. It is about a four hour drive to Iowa City, and you apparently (per Rylan Murry) need to check out some place in Des Moines called Zombie Burger on the way. So plan for that. Don’t wear your nice shoes to Iowa City either. Actually, you might want to check out the prices of Hazmat suits. I don’t think you can buy one of those at the UNO bookstore, so you may want to get on that.