It was tied at half.
It was a 10-point game with 8:44 left.
And then Texas stopped playing with the mouse and promptly ate it.
For a 25-point loss, though, a few positives came out of the inevitable drubbing at the hands of a clearly superior Texas.
Of course, in the middle of it all, Texas went on a 47-16 run so there's that.
Cougill didn't look like a scared puppy going up against a man-child in Dexter Pittman. When he was beaten, which was often, he tipped his hat and moved on, keeping on a game face that didn't look frightened. This, my friends, is rare in Iowa basketball world. For an Iowa true freshman, it's positively unheard of.
May, who didn't see nearly enough time last night, is proving to be the kind of high-energy guy that isn't brutally annoying. Rare thing, that. He's going to have to wait for Bawinkel to graduate - wait, he's going to have to wait for Lickliter to understand that "The Bawinkel" does nothing, and I mean nothing, on the court outside of chucking threes for him to see consistent minutes. For a guy who preaches team ball, I can't figure out Lickliter's love for Bawinkel. Somebody please inform me.
Drive-and-kick showed some real progress last night. With Iowa's offense, this is an absolute prerequisite to get open looks. Last night, they showed faint glimmers of hope in that regard. Spot-up, designed plays went off without a hitch on occasion and the offense showed some semblance of rhythm against an very good, athletic team that Iowa gave up seemingly three inches on at each position.
Tucker is now 9-36 (25%) from 3-point range this year and 33% from the floor overall after last night's 3-14 effort. More pointedly, though, outside of his badness from the field is his tendency to get a bit lazy with passes as the game progresses. I don't know if he's tiring, but he seems to shut down in the second half of games and when he takes over a point, he simply doesn't direct the offense. And that's not even the worst of it. On defense, he's brutal. Absolutely awful. Gives up too quickly and looks defeated when he's beaten. He has the posture that encapsulates the posture of a bad basketball team.
Gatens is now 27% from 3-point range and 27% from the field overall this year. In the second half last night, he was chucking up threes off his back foot, something reminiscent of park ball. I know Gatens is an Iowa City guy that seems to represent everything a typical Iowa fan wants to root for, but while he does many things fairly well, at some point, he has to start to do a few things very well for Iowa to be sniffing goodness. On everything, from a steal attempt to a drive to a rebound to a spot-up jumper, he seems to be missing a 5% more explosiveness that separates the good players from the merely average. Everything's just short.
Front-court passing. Ugh. Texas had 12 steals last night and it seems like 20 just in the second half alone, almost all coming from lazy front-court passing that had nothing to do with working into the rhythm of the offense. Just lazy, lazy passing from a front court that looks a little too nonchalant as the game progressed.
I had no illusions that Iowa was going to beat Texas last night. But I didn't turn the game off. The face of resignation that accompanies a team beaten didn't come until late, at least much later than I thought it would.
Now, if Lickliter can just wipe that Lakin look off his face every time somebody does something stupid. You know, that look that conveys, "What the hell are you doing?" immediately followed by a "I can't work with these guys," smirk.
I tryin', Ringo. I trying real hard to care.
Next up: Wichita State (6:45pm - ESPN2 (?)), a .500 team last year that lost in the CBI. You know the CBI. It's the NIT of the NIT. They're 2-1 including a win over Arkansas-Monticello.
Is it just me or are there even more schools this year that you've never heard of?
This Saturday, North Carolina Central. WHO?