Sunday, January 31, 2010

Royals Take Aim At History

With 4 games remaining in the regular season, the Colo-Nesco boys' basketball team has a shot at school history. The most wins by a boys team during the regular season is 18 (1989, 1990). With a record of 16-2, the boys need to win three of their final four games to eclipse that mark.

After a 44-39 victory over North Polk Friday night, the Royals have just one home game remaining. The win wrapped up the Heart of Iowa Conference Small Division title for Colo-Nesco, who now prepares for one of the toughest match ups of the season as they go on the road to face Jefferson-Scranton (11-3). J-S is led by 6'7" senior center Nolan Muench who averages 12.8 points per game. The Rams beat Roland-Story twice this season by a combined total of 13 points, and their three losses are to Carroll (#1 team in 3A), Carroll-Kuemper and Bondurant-Farrar.

The Royals final three games of the season are at home against Gilbert, and on the road against Meskwaki and Nevada. At 16-2, the Royals are just on the verge of the class 1A top ten. Their 16 wins is tied for second in the state of Iowa (all schools). So, pollsters, how come no love for the Royals?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Think You’ve Seen The Last of Brett Favre? Think Again.

So Brett Favre says his return next season is “highly unlikely.” Yeah right. If you think for one second that Favre is going to let the lasting image of his legacy be an interception that may have cost his team a trip to the Super Bowl, think again. No matter how much you dislike the constant waffling back and forth about retirement, no matter how much you want him to go away, it’s not happening. Consider the following: Favre threw for 4200 yards this season--the third highest total of his career. He threw 33 touchdowns--his highest total since 1997. The 7 interceptions he threw were the lowest total of his career. He had the second highest number of completions of his career with 363, and his highest completion percentage of his entire career (68.4%). All at age 40.

Do Vikings fans want him back? I guess the logical answer to that question would be “Is there anyone better?” Sports teams all have windows of opportunity that only stay open for so long. It seems like the Vikings window of opportunity is right now and Vikings fans understand that. An unscientific survey on the St. Paul Pioneer Press website shows a majority of Vikings fans DO want Favre to return. He clearly has the respect and confidence of his teammates, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else leading the team better next year than #4 did this year; although there are already rumors the team will pursue Eagles QB Donovan McNabb as his replacement.

Vikings wide receiver Bernard Berrian was questioned about Favre's status. He replied, “It’s still early. Way too early. Brett is liable to change his mind five, 10 times down the road.” Favre owes it to this franchise to make a decision early and stick to it. But this is Brett Favre we’re talking about, and no matter how many times he says he’s retiring in the next few months, don’t believe him. He’s coming back.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Special Night In Colo

Trying to come up with the words to describe last night's game in Colo is not coming easily to me today. Maybe it's writer's block. Maybe it's the fact that I'm exhausted from yesterday, preparing for my son's 8th birthday party today, trying to get ready for a big presentation tomorrow at work, and trying to get ready for a 4-day work trip to Florida--which means I'm going to miss the next 2 Royals games.

So, here's just a few random thoughts:

1. The Royal boys played awesome last night, improving to 14-2 with a convincing win over Roland-Story.

2. I haven't talked much about the Royal girls this year, but I want to encourage them too. I think they have improved greatly over the course of the season, they're young, and they're well-coached. The wins will come.

3. About the events of the evening, I will say this to everyone: I think it was one of the most special nights that gym has ever seen. Dwight and Kristi Eley, Randy Stoeffler, Jon Cutler, the booster board, everyone behind the scenes, the current team, the administration, and the Royal Reign teams were the ones who made it special. Like I told some of the 1990 players--they were the ones that wrote the story, I was just the one that was crazy enough to make it into a book. And it wouldn't have been near as fun without that great win by the boys. It set the tone.

4. Dan Wright of the Ames Tribune wrote a good piece about the events last night. I can't get the link to work, but you can view it at the Ames website.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Royals Defense Snows GVPB; Prepares For White Out

Just 24 hours before the “White Out,” the Colo-Nesco defense once again held an opponent under 45 points. The Royals improved to 13-2 with a 55-39 victory on Friday evening over Grand View Park Baptist.

Now the Royals can turn their focus to Saturday night’s rematch with Roland-Story; a game the school has designated as a “White Out” when all fans are to wear white. The White Out has been made famous by the Penn State football program. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “Penn State first tried the White Out during the 2004 season, when Purdue came to town with Heisman Trophy candidate Kyle Orton at quarterback. Orton struggled, and Purdue was held a couple of hundred yards below its average in total offense…the White Out reached it zenith when Penn State knocked off Ohio State (2005) at home, 17-10, before a frenzied, white-wearing crowd. The stadium was rocking – literally.” (Sam Ross Jr., October 13, 2006)

Now, the Royals hope their own stadium will be rocking—literally, on a night when the school will induct it’s first-ever Hall of Fame class with the 1990 boys state champion team.

Scoring vs. GVPB: Eley (25); Warren (13); Neuendorf (8); Larsen (5); Guy (4)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lucca(fer) Staiger

Lucifer n: the devil; Satan

There’s a famous phrase in a movie that Iowa is known for which says, “Is this heaven?” Kevin Costner replies, “No. It’s Iowa.” ISU Coach Greg McDermott might beg to differ right about now. And Lucca Staiger is the latest demon to haunt his teetering program.

Lucca Staiger—the 6’5” shooting guard from Germany—decided on Tuesday that he was quitting the team, putting the already thin Cyclones (just 7 scholarship players active now) in a precarious situation. I thought all day about this, and here’s what I’ve concluded.

1. We may actually be a better team (this season anyway) without him—While Lucca had one of the prettiest three-point strokes I’ve ever seen, that’s ALL he had. He couldn’t guard, couldn’t drive to the basket, couldn’t even MOVE to the basket. I pulled more than one hair out this season watching him camp out on the wing. Scott Christopherson is a much more well-rounded player, and I think the offense (and the defense) could actually improve without Staiger.

2. Other than point #1, there’s really nothing else positive to say about this mess. Lucca knew what this team was up against, and making a decision to quit in the middle of it all is just about the biggest pansy move I’ve ever seen. Staiger says it’s about the money, and that his chances to play pro ball may not be there in 7 weeks when the season is over. He may be right about the last part, because the way he’s been playing, he may have worn out all his supposed value by the end of the year. YOU CAN’T QUIT YOUR TEAM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEASON!

3. How much at fault is McDermott? This is the question I’ve been troubled with all day. We may never know the answer. What we do know is, ultimately, Coach McDermott is responsible for recruiting, coaching, and winning. One of the biggest parts of recruiting, is not only to get good players, but players that will have good chemistry with each other and fit into the overall style of the program. That’s where I have a problem with Coach McD. He’s recruited good players, but not ones that are a good fit for his system or mesh into a cohesive unit. The other problem I see is there seems to be some kind of a disconnect between coach and players. There’s an undeniable pattern with Wesley Johnson, Chris Colvin, Brackins to some extent, and now Staiger.

And point #3 is where I finish. The question is, where does Iowa State finish? What does Jamie Pollard do? I had this discussion with a friend today that said he believes McDermott is “in over his head.” I hate to say it, but he may be right.

Iowa State basketball doesn't feel very heavenly at the moment. In fact, it's getting rather hot here in Cyclone country.

Royals Kick Off Special Week With a Win

The 2009-2010 edition of Colo-Nesco boys’ basketball is walking on hallowed ground. With a win over South Hamilton Tuesday night, the Royals improved to 12-2, the school's best record since (ready for this?)-- The 1990 State Champion squad. How fitting is it, then, that the 1990 State Champion team will be honored at this coming Saturday’s game against Roland-Story? That’s right, it’s been a full 20 years since the glory run of Brian Wildeboer, Brad Miller & Co. It’s set to be a special night in Colo as the current Royals look for revenge against the Norsemen who handed CN it’s second loss of the season in a tough-fought battle in Story City last week. The ceremonies will also honor the 1989-1992 Colo-Nesco girls’ squads who went a combined 103-9 and advanced to four straight state tournaments.

The Royal boys got their 12th win last night at South Hamilton, 52-36, behind another solid defensive effort; a defensive effort the 1990 team would have been proud of. 1990 State Champion Coach Doyle Miller’s motto was: “Defense Wins Championships.” This year’s team has held 10 opponents under 45 points, a feat the championship team was only able to accomplish 8 times. The big difference between the 1990 team and this one though is offensive firepower. The 1990 team scored 80 points or more 13 times. This years Royals have accomplished that feat just once. Getting it done on offense for the Royals against South Hamilton were: Eley (19); Guy (8); Larsen (7); Jamison (6); Warren (4); Neuendorf (4); Angell (2); Lawson (2).

As the school gets set to honor the team(s) that set the gold standard, the 2010 squad looks to establish a legacy of it’s own. Calling all Royals fans—Let’s get out Saturday night and support this team retro-style--the way the 1990 team was with a packed gym, and enough electricity to run the local power plant.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

High School Tourney Preview

Believe it or not, the high school basketball tournaments are just about a month away. That means spring is just around the corner! What a fun time of year. Now that everyone has played at least half their schedule, we have a pretty good feel for who the contenders are in Districts 11 and 12. Here’s a breakdown of Colo-Nesco’s district and their opposing district to get to the state tournaments in March. All stats are through Friday, January 15, not including Friday night’s games.

Record; Off/Def PPG; Opponents W/L Record District 11
Ankeny Christian 9-0; 70/39; 31-51
Colo-Nesco 10-2; 57/44; 51-75
Iowa Christian Ac. 7-1; 67/47; 24-51
Madrid 6-2; 46/42; 33-45
Melcher-Dallas 6-3; 63/52; 34-55

District 12
Lamoni 8-1; 73/54; 35-37
Murray 7-2; 67/51; 25-56
Mt. Ayr 6-4; 61/56; 50-35
Orient-Macksburg 4-2; 54/45; 18-24

Colo-Nesco—Led by junior Brandon Eley, who averages 19 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals per game. Senior Travis Guy averages 11 points, and shoots 43 % from three-point distance. Michael Warren is one of the states leading shot-blockers with 47. The Royals best win is against West Marshall (8-2). West Marshall is now rated #8 in class 2A. The Royals won that game, 60-57. The Royals two losses are to PCM (8-3), and Roland-Story (6-4). Both losses were by double digits; both teams are 2A schools.

Ankeny Christian—Led by junior 5’11 point guard Tim Olejniczak (pronounced Olen-chak), who averages 23 points per game and is a deadly three-point shooter (nearly 50% on the season: 32-75). Have two seniors who also average double digits and have good size—6’5” Jay Snyder (14 ppg) and 6’4” Jason Cameron (12 ppg). Their best wins are against Elk Horn (6-1) and Iowa Christian Academy (7-1), and Orient-Macksburg (4-2). They beat Elk Horn Kimballton 59-49, Iowa Christian 59-52, and O-M 53-46.

Iowa Christian—Led by senior 6’4” small forward Keaton Schut, who averages 19 ppg. Also get double digit scoring from 6’1” junior Colton Barton (10 ppg), and 9 points per game from 6’5” center Andrew Klenk. Their best win is against Orient-Macksburg (4-2), who they defeated 67-53. Their one loss is to Ankeny Christian.

Madrid—Led by junior 6’6” center Mike Sievers, who averages 16 points per game. Also get 14 points per game from senior guard TJ Van Dyke. Madrid’s best win is against West Central (5-5). Their two losses are to Panorama (7-3) and Guthrie Center (8-2). They lost to Panorama 49-42, and to Guthrie Center 43-37.

Melcher-Dallas—Led by senior Clint Wetterling, who averages 19 points per game, and makes 55 % of his shot attempts. Also get 14 points per game from senior Matt Maxfield and 11 points per game from junior Robert Bingham. Jake Waddle averages 8 rebounds per game. Their best win is against Lamoni (8-1), who they defeated 84-69. Their three losses are to Iowa Christian (77-49), Moulton-Udell (81-73), and Chariton (69-51). Moulton-Udell is 5-3, and Chariton is 4-4 and is a 3A school.

Lamoni—Led by senior 6’7” center Sterling Sherman, who averages 16 points/ 14 rebounds/ 3 blocks per game. Have 3 other players who all average double figures: 5’11” senior Alex Carr (17 ppg); 5’11” Cordell Towers (11 ppg); 6’4” junior Tyler Seymour (10 ppg). Their best wins are against Murray (7-2), and Mount Ayr (6-4). They beat Murray 65-56, and Mount Ayr 67-64. Their one loss is to Melcher-Dallas.

Mount Ayr—Led by Malcolm Mercer who averages 15 points per game. 4 others average at least 7 points per game. Their best win is against Murray (7-2) who they defeated 79-60. Their four losses are to Bedford (10-0), Nodaway (7-2), Lamoni (8-1), and I-35 (5-2). Bedford is rated #3 in class 1A. They lost to Bedford by 19 points, Nodaway by one point, Lamoni by 4 points, and I-35 by 15.

Murray—Led by freshman sensation Austin Halls. Halls is a 6’ guard who is averaging 25 points, 8 rebounds, 6 steals, and 4 assists per game. He is joined by fellow freshman Cody Scroggie, a 5’10” guard who is averaging 15 points per game. The duo has made 50 of 133 three pointers on the year also. Murray doesn’t have a win over a team with a winning record. They lost to Mount Ayr by 19 points, and Lamoni by 9.

Orient-Macksburg—Led by junior Michael Kaufman who averages 19 points and 12 rebounds. Senior Kyle Thompson chips in with 11 points per game. They also have not defeated a team with a winning record. Their two losses are to Ankeny Christian Academy and Elk Horn Kimballton.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Weekend Sports Watch

This weekend we will find out:

1. Which Hawkeye will make the biggest difference? Will it be Nate Kaeding for the Chargers, or Shonn Greene for the Jets? Both former Hawkeyes could be difference makers for their respective teams as they face each other for the right to advance to the AFC title game. Prediction: This one will be all Nate Kaeding and the San Diego Chargers. Kaeding won't have to worry about his post-season jinx as the Chargers roll.

2. If the Colts management are genius' or idiots--The decision to bench starters the last couple weeks of the regular season with an undefeated season on the line has drawn the criticism of just about everyone. We'll find out this weekend if it was the right decision. Prediction: Peyton Manning is one of the greatest QB's of all time. But even the best parts get rusty if you don't keep them well oiled. The Colts starters haven't played meaningfull minutes in nearly a month. Rusty Colts vs. Runnin' Ravens equals Baltimore victory.

3. What's better? "Home Field Advantage" or "Hottest Team in The League"? I can't wait for this one. The Minnesota Vikings--with the advantage of one of the noisiest stadiums in the league, Hall of Fame QB Brett Favre at the healm, the leagues best RB in Adrian Peterson, and the leagues most exciting defensive player in Jared Allen--take on the hottest team in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have won three straight, including a win over then-unbeaten New Orleans. The defense has posted two straight shutouts, and Tony Romo looks like he's finally figured out that there's more to life than Jessica Simpson. Prediction: The dome will be rockin, and the Brett Favre acquisition will prove to be the biggest move in pro sports this year as the Vikings advance to the NFC title game.

4. Will this be Kurt Warner's last game? Rumors abound that Warner will retire after this season. Question is, will the end of the Cardinals' season be this weekend, or later? If you enjoyed last weekends offensive explosion between Arizona and Green Bay, then just wait until this matchup between Arizona and the NFL's league-leading offense of the New Orleans Saints. Prediction: Warners career continues for another week. Just like the Colts, the Saints are rusty. The Cardinals will return to the NFC title game against the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis next weekend.

5. Will ISU's recovery continue? The Cyclone men have lost 16 straight Big 12 road games. Tonights contest at Nebraska HAS to result in the end of that streak if the Cyclones want any chance at a tournament bid. Prediction: The Huskers are 12-5, are deep, but don't have any superstars. The one common opponent the two teams have played this year is St. Louis. The Cyclones beat St. Louis 65-54. The Huskers lost to them, 69-55. Look for a solid Cyclone victory tonight as the recovery continues.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cyclones Condition Improves From Critical to Stable

For a program that was on life support, a more than respectable performance against the nations #1 team was just what the doctor ordered. In fact, for one half, it seemed like all was well again in Cyclone Nation. A wildly entertaining first half had Hilton Coliseum rocking like the good old days as the Cyclones carried a 44-42 lead into the locker room. But we knew the Clones were probably in trouble, having played about as well as they could possibly play in the first half, and only leading by 2. Like the words of a famous Bon Jovi song, they were only half-way there, and yes, they were living on a prayer--mostly to the tune of six first half 3-pointers.

The Longhorns came out in the second half and proved why they are the #1 team in the nation, going on a 10-0 run to start the half. They did it with a trapping, full court defense that ISU couldn’t figure out, and when they did, the lethal damage had already been done. It could have gotten ugly at that point as it looked like Texas was going to run the Cyclones right out of the gym. But Iowa State showed determination, heart, and hustle and did everything they could to keep the game within striking distance. Every time it looked like they were going to cut the lead to five or less, the Longhorns had an answer. In the end, it was a 90-83 loss, but it was a loss that, in some strange way, felt better than the two-point win against North Dakota State last Saturday. Texas is just on another level, a Final-Four level. They could play this game ten times, and 7 points is probably as close as ISU would ever get. Maybe, just maybe, this team is on the road to recovery.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sports Smorgasbord

The Critical Nature of The ISU/Texas Game
They say everything is bigger in Texas. The Cyclones are about to find out just how much bigger as 6’10”, 290 pound center Dexter Pittman (pictured) and the #1 Texas Longhorns visit Hilton Coliseum Wednesday night. Texas (15-0) is coming off a 103-point outburst against Colorado last Saturday. Rumor has it that there are serious issues going on behind the scenes in the ISU locker room. Chris Colvin (ISU’s star freshman recruit) was suspended indefinitely for walking out of a closed-door meeting after the Duke loss last week. Apparently there have been other “tweets” and conversations about dissension in the ranks. As McDermott appears dangerously close to losing this team, this game becomes critical not only for the direction of the rest of this season, but possibly his career.

How do you know you have basketball fever? I guess when you can’t make it to a Royals game (home late from kid’s basketball practice) and pace the house like a caged lion, wondering how the game is going. That’s what happened Tuesday night as the Royals faced Bondurant-Farrar. I just found out the Royals squeaked out a close one: 40-37. Great win. Royals improve to 10-2. Wish I could tell you more.

Lane Kiffin to USC: Maybe Al Davis Was Right?
You’ll never hear those words out of my mouth again, but hear me out on this one. I think Al Davis (Owner of the Oakland Raiders) is just about the worst owner in all of sports. But after the news that Lane Kiffin (a former coach for the Raiders that Davis both hired and fired) bolted to USC after just one season at Tennessee, you have to wonder if he was right with his comments about him. According to an article by Beth Rucker of, Davis said that Kiffin was “a liar who brought disgrace on the Raiders.” I’m guessing there are about 6 million Volunteer fans that would echo that statement tonight. Kiffin was the flashy new-hire in Knoxville last year who brought in a great recruiting class and had seemingly restored some of the luster to the Tennessee football program. Along the way, he also incurred some NCAA violations, so he should be a PERFECT fit for USC in Southern California. Kiffin better hurry--you don't want to mess with a bunch of ticked off Smoky-Mountain men with muskets and bloodhounds chasing you after you've disgraced their football program!

Alabama/Texas BCS Title Game
It really was too bad that Texas QB Colt McCoy got hurt in this game. It would have been interesting to see what the outcome might have been with him in there for the whole thing. At the same time, Texas blew two golden opportunities early to put the Tide behind the 8-ball. Two red-zone opportunities, two field goals. Six points instead of fourteen, then Coach Mack Brown makes a BONEHEAD move to shovel-pass right before half time, and before you can blink, the Longhorns are down 18. I like Texas and Alabama so much that I shut the TV off and went to bed at half time after that. Seriously, Mack Brown’s wife could coach Texas to a National Championship game. It’s TEXAS for crying out loud! Where they give babies footballs instead of pacifiers, and half the nations five-star recruits practically beg to play for the Longhorns.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Royals Bid For 10th Straight Falls Short

Ahhh….My first blogging dilemma. Is it professional to criticize high school officiating in this new realm of blogging, tweeting, and texting? On November 10, NBA star Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic was fined $15,000 for using his personal blog to criticize officials. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is so well known for his public disaffection for referees that he now makes matching contributions to charities for his fines by the NBA. Since 2000, he’s been fined over 1.5 million dollars for criticizing officials!

Well, I don’t think there are any rules in the Iowa High School Athletic Association about publicly denouncing referees, but I don’t want to be the one to set the precedent. Let’s just say it was a tough night in Story City. The Royal boys (9-2) fell by the score of 57-45 to the Jekyll and Hyde Norsemen (5-4). The Norsemen have been up and down all year, losing to Grand View Park Baptist (a team the Royals beat by 19), but beating Nevada by 34 and Bondurant-Farrar by 2. Half of Roland-Story’s games had been decided by 2 points before tonight, winning two and losing two. Tonight, it was the inside/out combination of Skaar and Rathmacher that proved to be too much for the Royals. Roland-Story led the entire game, and the Royals couldn’t find a second scorer or buy an outside basket. After trailing by as many as 14 points in the first half, the Royals went on a 10-0 run to end the half, trailing 26-22 at the break. They pulled within two by the end of the third, 35-33, and we had a barnburner on our hands. Colo-Nesco pulled within one, 39-38, before the Norse went on another run. Trailing by 5 with 1:29 to go, a questionable foul was called on Brandon Eley fouling him out of the game. The wheels fell off after that as the Norse hit seemingly every free throw they had (and they had a lot of them).

No rest for the weary. Bondurant-Farrar comes to town Tuesday night as the Royals play their third game in four days.

Scoring: Eley (25); Neuendorf (8); Guy (4); Larsen (4); Jamison (2); Warren (2).

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Basketball Saturday

I committed the better part of the day on Saturday to attending basketball games. I was able to take my daughter to the Iowa State/North Dakota State game Saturday afternoon, fully expecting to leave the game midway through the second half with no doubts about the outcome. After all, my daughter is only 4 years old, and popcorn and ice cream can only keep her attention for so long. Only problem was, the Cyclones decided they weren’t going to play defense, or rebound, or run an offense. Again. The game wasn’t decided until the final seconds, with NDSU missing a three-point basket that would have won the game. Final score, 73-71, ISU.

You can read my rant about the Duke performance in my last blog, and then you can apply the exact same principles to this game. Only problem is, North Dakota State isn’t exactly Duke. Not even close. NDSU is 5-10, with losses against teams named Utah Valley, IUPUI and Southern Utah. The Cyclones have now given up at least 18 offensive rebounds the last three games in a row. Sure, one of those was the Duke game, but the other two were Houston and NDSU. Craig Brackins may be the worst defender in the Big 12. Good thing they don’t play defense in the NBA. As for the offense, I was sitting in front of two older ladies who carried conversation as though they didn’t know a lot about basketball. At one point, they commented, “Why does everyone stand around on offense?” Enough said.

After the game was over, I drove to Colo--to see a REAL basketball team. The Colo-Nesco boys improved to 9-1 with a convincing 60-24 win over East Marshall. The Royals performance was a breath of fresh air with stifling defense, great rebounding, good movement on offense, and great teamwork. The first half was the Travis Guy show, as he hit his first 4 consecutive three-point attempts. He had 12 points in the first half. The second half was the Brandon Eley show. Eley scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half, mostly off turnovers and fast breaks. Bondurant-Farrar comes to town on Tuesday with a 5-2 record.

Royals Scoring: Eley—24; Guy—12; Neuendorf—6; Warren—4; Jamison—4; Larsen—4; Angel—2; Thompson—2; Lawson—2.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Performance Against Duke An Embarassment

Performance Against Duke An Embarrassment

Ten thoughts about the 21 point loss to Duke:

1. Craig Brackins is NOT ready for the NBA--too soft, doesn't attack basket, doesn't rebound.
2. Our offensive strategy is worse than a junior high team--I'll get to this at the end.
3. Nobody hustles
4. Nobody rebounds—It’s not for lack of size: Hamilton—6’11; Brackins—6’10; Gilstrap—6’6. Even our guards are big! Staiger—6’5; Garrett—6’4
5. There’s no discipline
6. There’s no help defense
7. There’s no heart
8. Why did Wesley Johnson leave, again? Perhaps the only thing worse than watching the Cyclones get crushed last night was watching Wesley Johnson lead #7 Syracuse to victory in the game televised right before it. The announcers were gushing over Johnson and his talent. Not to mention his 18 points and ability to score from anywhere on the court.
9. We haven’t beaten a top 25 team in McDermott’s tenure and it doesn’t look like we’re anywhere close to being able to
10. There’s no adjustments being made by the coaching staff during games

I don’t like to publicly ridicule coaches on message boards/blogs, but I’ve seen enough. I’m a season-ticket holder, and last night’s performance was just an extension of every other game I’ve seen this year. So many of those problems listed above are related to coaching: hustling, lack of heart, rebounding, discipline on offense and defense, lack of adjustments being made during games, and especially our offensive strategy. I can maybe count on one hand the number of times during a game that this team actually runs an offensive set. There’s absolutely no movement, no teamwork, very few screens, and very few cuts. It’s pathetic. When Brackins has the ball, the other four players stand and watch, literally. Maybe the answer to thought #8 lies in everything I’ve just complained about. Maybe, by the end of the season, McDermott can get this figured out? By then, it's another lost season.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sports Smorgasbord

Too many choices to blog about this week, so I'll give you a good variety:

1. Iowa Football--As a Cyclone fan, watching last nights Orange Bowl was downright scary. I'll give the Hawks credit in this one; they dominated that game. I've been skeptical all season long with their unconvincing wins against teams like UNI, Arkansas State and Indiana. But last night, there was no doubt--this defense is as nasty as they come, and the scary part (as a 'Clone fan) is that most of that defense (and offense) will be back next year. Boy, do I hope Adrian Clayborn changes his mind and decides to go pro! On the flip side, that was a PERFECT match-up for the Hawks. Georgia Tech is too one-dimensional, and that one dimension played right into the hands of that tenacious run-stopping Iowa defense.

2. Iowa State Basketball--In the next 30 days, we'll find out if the Cyclone Men's basketball team is good enough to make the tournament. It all begins tonight with a clash against the 12-1 Duke Blue Devils, rated #5 in the nation. Next Wednesday the Cyclones face #2 Texas, and ten days later: #1 Kansas. Doesn't get much more difficult than that. The way I see it, ISU needs to get at least one win out of those 3 games in order to make the NCAA Tournament. Two wins against three of the nations top ten could be the makings of a special season.

3. Mike Leach and Texas Tech--I'm not a Texas Tech football fan, but this story is one everyone is talking about. What Mike Leach did was stupid; plain and simple. You can't lock anyone (especially someone who's suffering from a concussion AND whose dad is a national television analyst) into a "closet" or "shed" in the year 2010 and expect it to go unnoticed. 50 years ago, maybe, but not today. Whether it was a fire-able offense or not is not so plain and simple. Both the "shed" and "closet" were quite large, and the player was in no threat of any kind of danger. From all accounts, Adam James is a spoiled, rich, son of a former NFL running back, who thinks the world should serve him everything on a silver platter. After all the complaining (allegedly) his father and ESPN analyst, Craig James did to Coach Leach to try to get his son playing time, you can't blame Leach for WANTING to give James his college discipline version of a "timeout" by putting him in those places. But wanting to do something like that and actually DOING something like that is what got him in trouble. In my mind, it all comes down to money. Leach was in the first year of a huge contract that Texas Tech decided they didn't want to pay, and this was their "out." Consider this: Texas Tech Athletic Director Gerald Myers is the same AD who HIRED Bob Knight to coach the Red Raider basketball team back in 2001. Talk about a double standard.

4. Colo Nesco Basketball--There was no sluggishness to be found on this basketball team after a long holiday break. The Royals crushed Collins-Maxwell Baxter on Tuesday night, 82-34, behind a season high 27 points from Travis Guy, 20 from Brandon Eley, and 10 points/7 assists/6 rebounds/6 steals from Austin Larsen who had his best game of the season. After a busy holiday schedule, I'm excited to get back and watch the upstart Royals.