Even with the U.S. hockey team battling for a gold medal against Canada, my mind is still lost in the black hole that is the Hawkeye basketball team. They have sucked me in and condemned me to a life of misery while leaving me lost in an unholy abyss. An abyss so dark, so tantalizing, and so exasperating. An abyss, that by contract, is going to last four more years.
My mind is completely consumed in this afternoon’s game against Indiana; a game that at the end of the day means nothing to college basketball, but everything to Iowa, Todd Lickliter, Iowa basketball fans, and the (non)progress of the program. At 5:05, Iowa will be trying to avoid and delay what will go down as the worst season in Hawkeye basketball history.
In 2007, Lickliter in his first season coached the Hawks to 19 losses, which was and is the worst season to date. Now only two short years later, he has his team sitting at 9-19; and will eventually break his own record.
With only three games on the Hawkeye schedule before the Big Ten Tournament, the teams Iowa has left to face are no friend to Lickliter. His Hawkeyes will play Indiana tonight (Lickliter has a 2-3 record against the Hoosiers as the coach of the Hawkeyes), Wisconsin (1-3 as the Hawkeye coach), and Minnesota (0-3 as the Hawkeye coach) to finish out the regular season. Which is not looking like a good end for the Hawkeye faithful and the overall state of the Iowa basketball program.
Perfection is no friend of the Lickliter and depending on how this game goes tonight, Iowa could be in a two way tie for last place in the Big Ten standings. To make matters worse, it looks like Iowa will be matching up against Northwestern or Lickliter’s personal kryptonite, Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament (the Hawkeyes are 0-3 against Michigan in Big Ten Tournament play during the past decade and 2-6 in the Lickliter era).
Which has me asking, haven’t us Hawkeye fans gone through enough physical and mental pain from our basketball program? Isn’t two losing seasons enough to deal with? Is it not bad enough that our fan section is thrown in the corner like a satanic ginger child? Can’t the basketball gods please just bless Hawkeye Nation with just a sub .500 team? Is that to much?
Can’t a guy get the bitter taste of the 2006 tournament loss to the #14 seeded Northwestern State out of his mouth? It’s been four years since Jermaine Wallace sold his soul to the devil to make his last second heave and the Hawks have been trying to mend that wound ever since.
Can’t Iowa please just get back to the big dance so I can stop thinking about what would be if Alford would have stayed (and how I wish I was a Lobo)? Can’t the Hawks win just one game in the Big Ten Tournament (and if it could come against Michigan that would be marvelous)? At the very least can the Hawks please just get an invite to the NIT? Is that so much to ask?
For the Hawkeyes who are plagued by Todd Lickliter’s atrocious offense and cursed by Jermaine Wallace and his demons (which is ironically the mascot for Northwestern State) the answer is a definitive YES.
Maybe next year?