Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts

Jan. 14, 2013

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Random thoughts on a Sunday in January in the Heartland…

Tom Brands’ squad has another opportunity today at 2 p.m. down in Stillwater, Okla., when the Hawkeyes square off against No. 2 ranked Oklahoma State. So, too, does Iowa’s undefeated 174-pounder, Mike Evans. If you didn’t read this short and sweet piece on the red-shirt sophomore from Pennsylvania, you can do so HERE.


I was reminded again this week that “fan” is short for “fanatic” when I visited one of the black-and-gold themed message boards shortly after the Hawkeyes’ tough-to-swallow loss to Michigan State Thursday night on Mediacom Court. C’mon, folks. Do some of you really think Fran’s squad won’t win another game this season? I have to believe membership in that club is pretty small if not minute.

That same night, I was reminded just how much I like Fran McCaffery. He knew his shorthanded squad missed an opportunity against the nationally ranked Spartans and he proceeded to, in my opinion, strike a pretty solid balance in his post-game visit with the media of what he thought went well and what he thought didn’t, and he was his usual self in terms of how frank/direct/candid/honest with both. It’s been my experience that you don’t always get that with a coach who was on the losing end of a tough ball game.

Meanwhile, Bluder’s Bunch continues to march toward March, another 20-win season seemingly in sight and, presumably, another opportunity to dance. Have you purchased your tickets to the NCAA first and second round women’s basketball tournament games that will be played in Carver-Hawkeye Arena? If not, you can do so HERE.

Here’s an idea. I hear it’s supposed to stay pretty cold if not get colder over the next two weeks or so here in the Heartland. I suspect those of you with children might soon be thinking of gettin the little ones out of the house to let loose a little bottled up energy. Consider this option: On Saturday, Jan. 26, Marc Long’s Iowa men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will entertain Northwestern in dual meet competition at UI’s beautiful Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. Pretty cheap entertainment with lots of running room nearby. Just a thought. Here’s a link to information about the facility: HERE.

The UI will honor the memory of Chris Street next Saturday night when Fran’s squad entertains Wisconsin. It’s hard to believe 20 years have passed since that tragedy. I’m sure it will be a memorable evening for the fans and the former Hawkeyes in attendance…and there will be lots of them because it’s also the Hawkeyes’ annual Lettermen’s Game. You can order game tickets HERE.

Iowa plays Penn State in men’s basketball on January 31 and the first 1,500 fans through the turnstiles will receive a souvenir Iowa Basketball Herky bobblehead. And, speaking of bobbleheads, there was some discussion online last week about how many bobbleheads are actually available for fans of the Hawkeyes. Apparently, one fan who attended a bobblehead game recently noted that members of the media were provided the souvenirs and he suggested that that practice reduced the number available for the paying customer. For the record, those and those provided to certain volunteer staff like the men and women who work the scorer’s table are above and beyond those that a produced for distribution to those fans who are among the first to arrive at Carver.

Truth be told, I don’t listen to a lot of ESPN on the radio. Nor do I listen to a great deal of local ESPN or local radio. Some…but certainly not all of the time. No, typically, when I’m travelling to and fro, more times than not, I’m tuned in the National Public Radio. Yeah, NPR. So, when you stop chuckling, let me give you a recommendation. Next Saturday morning at 9, tune in for “Car Talk” with Tom and Ray Magliozzi. You may learn something about maintaining your car. More than likely – like me – you’ll spend the laughing so hard you start to cry. It’s just one example of the great stuff available each day on NPR, which is available on the web HERE.

Lastly, in case you missed it, our good friends at Mediacom are now offering free to their cable television customers access to the very popular BTN2Go product. You can learn about that slick service HERE.

From the “It’s never to early…” file: Before you know it, spring will spring around here. So here’s a peek at the schedules for the baseball ( HERE) and softball ( HERE) Hawkeyes.

Speaking of Iowa softball, here’s a link to a nice introduction to freshman catcher Holly Hoffman: HERE. It’s part of a series called, “Softball Countdown.” Pretty good stuff, me thinks.

And, speaking of schedules, here’s a link to next year’s football schedule: HERE. I’ve learned we can never make this available too often.

We offer this feature called “24 Hawkeyes to Watch” on hawkeyesports.com, the official world wide web site of the Iowa Hawkeyes. The latest addition is HERE. It profile Annemie Smith, a member of the field portion of the UI women’s track and field team. She came to Iowa via South Africa. Watch the video…you’ll enjoy Annemie’s story and her accent.

As most of you know, I’m a big fan of Melsahn Basabe. As such, I was delighted for him for the performance he had Thursday night against the Spartans. Fran like it, too – and ditto for the effort of Zach McCabe — and you can read his comments on those two Hawkeyes HERE. Let’s hope they are even better today when the Hawkeyes look for their first win of the 2013 Big Ten season. Game time at Northwestern is set for 4:30 p.m. You can watch it live and in the best HD in the land on BTN.

Yesterday I scanned the then current Big Ten men’s basketball standings and, then, the remaining schedule. I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that what we see today on that list of No. 1 to No. 12 will be significantly different than what we’ll see when the teams are preparing for the 2013 Big Ten Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament in Chicago’s United Center. By the way, have you purchased your tickets to that event? You can do so HERE. Tickets to the women’s tournament at the Sears Centre Arena are available HERE.

Lastly, in case you missed it, our good friends at Mediacom are now offering free to their cable television customers access to the very popular BTN2Go product. You can learn about that slick service HERE.