Sunday, November 27, 2005

Kelly Hanfelt Does 'A Very Professional Job' As Men's TV Analyst--Too Bad the Cyclones Didn't Equal Her Performance

It's a shame Iowa State's men's basketball team couldn't turn in a performance to equal that of TV analyst Kelly Hanfelt.

Hanfelt [pictured in the top row, center], a former Cyclone women's player, did an outstanding job last night as a first-time commentator on an Iowa State men's game [game action pictured].

The trouble was, the Cyclones didn't give her enough to talk about.

Iona -- Iona, not Iowa -- saddled Iowa State with its first loss of the season, 89-72, before what I considered a disappointing crowd of 9,305 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames.

"I directed the game," said Bob Helmers, the ESPN guy from Ames who is the coordinating producer for the Cyclone Television Network. "I thought Kelly did a very professional job.

"The true test was during the game. I found myself listening to her commentary and reacting the same way I did the night before to Paul Splittorf's commentary. She had a good handle on the pulse of the game, she was prepared and knew the participants and some of their tendencies, and she communicated it well to the audience.

"I was very pleased. And, oh, by the way, when I asked her what was going to happen in the game, she nailed the performance of the two left-handers for Iona."

Helmers said Hanfelt "will be doing the analysis Tuesday for the Northern Iowa at Iowa State game."


My West Coast Correspondent tore himself away from a post-Thanksgiving cold something-or-other to make an assessment of Iowa State's 24-21 overtime football loss yesterday to Kansas.

"It appears Iowa State was too busy preparing for next season's Iowa game to be distracted by winning the Big 12 North," West Coast Correspondent wrote in an e-mail.

I have no idea why in the world the Cyclones were distracted while frittering away an outstanding opportunity to make a huge football statement in the game at Kansas.

Hopefully, they weren't thinking about the 2006 game against Iowa, even though they've won six of the last eight games in the series. But, in the end, I sometimes have difficulty figuring out what's on the minds of 21-year-old football players--at Iowa State or anywhere else.


I'm still checking, but I'm guessing Kansas' players didn't try to carry Mark Mangino [the guy on the left, wearing sunglasses], their coach, off the field after yesterday's game.

They'd have been better off hoisting Iowa State placekicker Bret Culbertson [lower right] to their shoulders. He's the guy who did a lot to help make them bowl-eligible.


"I cannot believe the Iowa State-Kansas football game," said Bob Helmers, who sees plenty of football games every year because that's also a big part of his job.

"In terms of the outcome....I am going to guess that Dan [McCarney] will spend a little more time recruiting kickers and agonizing over the play-calling in overtimes.

"Has anyone played in more overtime games this season than Iowa State? Will Dan McCarney be forever haunted by the OT hex? Remember his first season and the OT game then? Dan may be the most upbeat and forward-looking person in the world, but this season's overtime efforts have got to haunt him in the future and eventually affect his end-of-game strategies in close games."


When he got the surprising news that his Colorado team would be representing the Big 12 North in the conference's championship game, coach Gary Barnett reprised the old joke: What do you call the person who graduates last in his class from medical school?

"I guess if you can call that last guy ... 'Doctor,' you can call us champions," he told the AP.

Barnett conceded he was so sick about his team's loss, he didn't bother watching Iowa State on TV. For the second straight year, though, the Buffaloes earned their trip to the title game thanks to the Cyclones losing by a field goal in overtime on a day Colorado wasn't even playing.


It used to be that games played by Drake's football team would be relegated to the area "back by the tire ads" in the Des Moines Register, as then-coach Chuck Shelton would say.

Now the Bulldogs' basketball team is often buried deep in the paper, too. And the editors evidently couldn't scrape up enough money to send reporter Rick Brown to Las Vegas for the tournament in which Drake finished third.

But give 'em credit down there. In Saturday's paper, it said Drake would be playing Oklahoma State in the third-place game. Actually, it was Texas Christian.

Close anyway. At least the schools are in adjoining states.


A very knowledgeable central Iowa reader sends this e-mail, titled "Local Paper--faux-pas #1,529:

"On page 4C of the Sunday Register's sports section, Rick Brown's preview of the Upper Iowa at UNI game caught my attention. It wasn't about the throwback uniforms that the Panthers would wear for the game. It was the following paragraph:

"'Upper Iowa, an NCAA Division III school competing in the Iowa Conference, will be playing its second NCAA Division I foe of the season. The Peacocks lost to Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Nov. 21, 93-64.'

"I have read Rick's work in the past and he is usually on target with facts and information. However, I think something is rotten in Denmark because someone in the sports department hasn't gotten around to updating information. Upper Iowa is now competing in NCAA Division II and is an independent until next year when they will join the Northern Sun Conference. Upper Iowa left the Iowa Conference [they were one of the charter members] and Division III a few years ago to move up to D-2.

"Hmmm, I wonder if they still consider Coe a member of the Midwest Conference and not the Iowa Conference, and if Central is a member of the NAIA?

"I also noticed one other thing when I picked up the local paper over at the Grand Avenue Hy-Vee in West Des Moines at 5 a.m. this morning. The exciting UNI-Eastern Washington game was placed on page 6C and nowhere near the first three pages of the sports section. Given that the Iowa State lost at Lawrence was a big story, UNI deserved to be on page 1 [with ISU], page 2, or no worse than page 3.

"The Panthers rallying from 14 points down to a pass-happy Eastern Washington team, and listening to Gary Rima screaming for joy every time the Panthers made one phenomenal play after another, how the brain trust at 715 Locust pigeon-hole a team that upset three consecutive nationally-ranked teams in their conference to win the Gateway outright and win a 1st round playoff game is beyond me!

"Did the Gannett tribe think that UNI was a member of the Illini-Badger Conference in Division III and shouldn't deserve a full page story? Consider this as reason #1,529 that our local paper is on the verge of going the way of the Do-Do bird.

"Finally, is it me or is Iowa State football cursed?"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Thanks for the very interesting comments. My friends at the Register read this column regularly, so they'll see what you wrote. And, yes, I think maybe the Cyclones' football program is cursed].


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