Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Horner Won't Face ISU; TV Analyst Majerus 'Showed Us Why Things Work;' On the Other Hand, Dickie V Was, 'Oh, the Dukies, They Were Awesome, Baby!'

It's difficult enough for a visiting basketball team to win at Hilton Coliseum in Ames when the players are healthy.

Iowa is not healthy.

So that makes it very tough when the Hawkeyes face Iowa State at Ames in front of a sellout crowd Friday night.

Jeff Horner [left], who has not had a good season, was diagnosed with a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee today after being hurt in Iowa's loss last night at Northern Iowa.

He's expected to be out of for a minimum of two weeks. Horner was hurt when he was driving to the basket. He was fouled and made two free throws while staying in the game momentarily, but soon was forced out of the game and did not play in the overtime.

“I’m happy and relieved to say that the injury isn’t as serious as we might have feared,” said Horner. “We’re encouraged with the MRI results and looking forward to the rehab process and getting back on the court.”

Horner has played in all 102 Iowa games over the past four seasons, missing just one start. He surpassed 500 career assists in the game at Northern Iowa and ranks fourth in career assists.

Horner ranks 15th in career scoring with 1,203 points and ranks among Iowa’s career leaders in three-point field goals and three-point attempts. Horner through nine games is averaging 12 points and 6.6 assists per game, leading the Big Ten in assists and ranking second in free throw percentage [.906].

The Hawkeyes host Arizona State Dec. 17, Drake Dec. 20 and Robert Morris Dec. 22 before closing the non-conference season Dec. 30 at St. Louis.


Rev. David P. Mumm [right] touches on basketball strategy and the television analysis of Rick Majerus and Dick Vitale in this e-mail:

"Hi Ron,

"I just read [a couple of your recent] columns. My thought on the Iowa vs. North Carolina State game was this: A good team is able to pull out a win when its opposition brings a very different approach to the game than it normally faces. That's what North Carolina State did. Their slow-down 'Princeton' offense is not one the Hawkeyes often see. Average teams, when faced with such a situation, will become frustrated and fold near the end and lose the game.

"Good teams play along with the slowdown game, and even when not shooting well [Iowa wasn't], will find a way to win, as Iowa did. A great team figures out how to take the opponent out of their strategy and wins by forcing teams like North Carolina State to play a style they are not comfortable with, and wins by forcing the opposition into their style of game. Good coaches let their team stay in the opponents' strategy, while great coaches turn the table on the opponent. That's what Coach K and his teams at Duke do so effectively.

"As to Rick Majerus as an analyst. I kept switching between the Duke game and the Iowa game. Majerus showed us why things work the way they do, and educated his viewers in the process. Meanwhile, what we learned from Dicky V, was 'Oh, the Dukies, they are awesome, baby!' [He is an entertainer, not a very good analyst]. I could listen to Majerus' analysis every night and not grow tired, simply because he is a teacher and motivator of people.

"By the way, I would also commend the play-by-play man [whose name I do not remember] on that game. When you have someone as detailed as Majerus working at your side in a fast-paced sport like basketball, it really takes talent to accomplish good play-by-play without cutting off the analyist. I hope we see a lot more of Rick Majerus' style of analysis....."

David P. Mumm
Senior Pastor
Mt. Olive Lutheran Church and School
Des Moines, IA

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Rev. Mumm has proven in the past to be a knowledgeable observer of coaches, managers, athletes and television announcers. By the way, the play-by-play man who worked with Majerus in the Iowa-North Carolina State game on ESPN2 was Dave O'Brien, a smooth operator. I, too, like the work of Majerus, a former collegiate coach who was rumored to be in line to take so many jobs [at times, both Iowa and Iowa State were among them] that he could have formed his own employment agency. There obviously are at least two things Majerus likes -- pizza and job rumors].


Richard Hayman sent this e-mail, headlined, "Sigh:"

"Hello Mr. Maly,

"I hope you're doing well.

"I know it's too early to give up on the Iowa basketball team and I know they lost to a very good UNI team [congratulations to UNI!]. However, my understanding [I didn't get to see it...the game wasn't available in my area] is that during critical moments, we continued to launch treys early in the shot clock. Is it just me, or do you also see lack of coaching when this is a recurrent theme?

"Horner being out will give us a season-long excuse [e.g., we missed him while he was gone, now we're trying to re-establish chemistry following his return, he's not quite 100 percent yet, the knee must have been bothering him, etc.] for underachievement. I apologize to the young men who are working so hard, but I'm about to tune out the rest of this basketball season. Let's see what happens in Ames.....


"Richard Hayman"

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Richard, let's put it this way. I'm doing at least a little better than Steve Alford and Jeff Horner. It's going to be a long night for the Hawkeyes in Ames].