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COMMENTARY: More being lost than games (premium)

Posted on 23. Nov, 2011 by in Iowa Basketball

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By Brendan Stiles

HawkeyeDrive.com

IOWA CITY, Iowa — At this point in the 2011-12 season, games aren’t the only thing the Iowa Hawkeyes tend to be losing.

Iowa lost its second straight contest of the season Wednesday to Campbell, 77-61. How a middle-of-the-pack Big South team can come into Carver-Hawkeye Arena and leave with a double-digit victory is beyond me and I can only imagine how beyond Iowa fans this is.

This is a program that has sadly built a reputation for losing these types of games though. This was quite obvious during the three seasons Todd Lickliter coached this team, and even last season began with Iowa losing at home to South Dakota State.

With all due respect to Campbell, who played a phenomenal game Wednesday, the teams that distinguish themselves from everyone else would be the ones winning a game like Wednesday’s by double digits as opposed to losing by double-digits like the Hawkeyes did. After the way this team was embarrassed by Creighton at Wells Fargo Arena last weekend, to come out and lay and egg like this was inexcusable.

It’s inexcusable in part because both players on this team and McCaffery himself have voiced displeasure in how things just went array in this game. There were moments Wednesday evening where I had never seen McCaffery get as angry as he did. He had good reason for being upset — his team stunk — but this was far from a night where emotions were kept in check.

Frustrations continued to mount with every Campbell bucket, every missed shot by Iowa. There was even a point in this game where Iowa finished the first half on a 9-0 run and still trailed by seven points at halftime, only to watch the Camels further separate themselves from the Hawkeyes in the second half.

As the deficit grew larger and larger, this team began to lose confidence, and those on hand at Carver-Hawkeye Arena could sense it. Even when Iowa would trim Campbell’s lead down to as little as five points in the second half, there never seemed to be a doubt in the Camels winning this game.

Now the question becomes where does this team go from here, because some of the guys it looked to be depending on heavily this season just haven’t produced. The most obvious example of this is sophomore forward Melsahn Basabe, who had a second straight showing that consisted of two points and three rebounds. This was a player McCaffery said back at the team’s Media Day he wanted to become a player that could average a double-double in conference play. That might still happen, but Basabe has a long ways to go still.

Even players like senior guard Bryce Cartwright haven’t been themselves. Really, other than guards Matt Gatens and Devyn Marble, there wasn’t really much for McCaffery and his staff to be thrilled about Wednesday.

Now what McCaffery will have to answer is how he goes about solving this current dilemma the Hawkeyes have put together. Will changes be made to the starting lineup like there was at the start of the second half Wednesday night? Will minutes be cut or added on for specific role players? These are the types of issues that needed to be addressed.

Because if they aren’t, games aren’t going to be the only thing lost around here.

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