Monday, February 20, 2006

The Alford/Iowa Scenario Isn't Critical Yet, And Won't Be Until Indiana Loses Interest in Our Guy Steve; Good NIT Matchup: Gophers At Iowa State

Regardless of how you might feel, things aren't critical in the Steve Alford /University of Iowa basketball situation.

Not yet anyway.

It could be a lot worse.

A guy I know says the saddest scenario would be this:

Iowa falls out of first place in the Big Ten standings.

The conference's regular-season championship is won by Ohio State, Michigan State, Illinois or Wisconsin.

Indiana loses interest in hiring Alford for its coaching job.

Alford returns to Iowa next season.

Now, that's what the guy is calling a very bad ending to the story.

* * *

Ideal first-round matchup in the NIT:

Iowa State [14-11] vs. Minnesota [13-10] at Hilton Coliseum.

Ames is just a bus-ride away for the Gophers.

Everybody saves money, including the tight-fisted NIT.

Just think, last season Iowa State beat Minnesota in the NCAA tournament.

* * *

Speaking of Iowa State, Cyclone fan Travis Simpson of Des Moines writes in an e-mail:

"What a choke job over the weekend, huh? Hope Blalock and Stinson ate some crow after the game for ripping on the big guys earlier in the week. I would have rather had one of the big guys at the free throw line late in the game since three of the four have better free throw percentages than Stinson and Blalock.

"They can call this a lost season, but if everyone is back next year and this happens again, you can bet Morgan is going to feel the heat coming from his seat where he normally spends most of his time during the game. With the game on the line, you’d think the experienced and touted backcourt would seal the deal, but they really haven’t done the job when they’ve been counted on to close the game out."

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: No team wins a championship with two guards. Blame Morgan for this -- or maybe Damon Archibald, his No. 1 assistant. They didn't find a way to replace Jared Homan in the front line, and now Iowa State is paying a bigtime price for it. Unless, of course, you're an NIT fan].

* * *

I'm sorry to hear of the death of broadcaster Curt Gowdy, 86, of leukemia.

Gowdy [left] was a class announcer, but made mistakes just like the rest of us.

The guys who played on Drake's 1968-69 basketball team still laugh when recalling how Gowdy kept calling them "Duke" in the big game against UCLA in the Final Four at Louisville.

* * *

Hmmm. You wonder if this is the start of something that's going to spread.

The Southeastern Conference today fined the University of Arkansas $5,000 because Razorback fans stormed the court after a game last week against Florida.

Iowa's student fans, of course, have rushed the court after a number of victories this season. Hawkeye officials have recently attempted to stop the fans from coming onto the floor by having the players run over to the student gathering and celebrate with them after games.

It'll be interesting to see what takes place in the Hawkeyes' final two home games.

* * *

Strange happening tonight at Lubbock, Texas, during the Oklahoma-Texas Tech basketball game.

When some Texas Tech fans began chanting, "Bullshit! Bullshit!" in the last half to protest an officials' ruling, Red Raiders coach Bobby Knight attempted to wave off the shouting.

Knight, of course, is the master of profanity during games, and always has been.