Who had a worse weekend — Iowa men's basketball or Iowa wrestling?

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 26, 2013 5:00 AM

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Yes, wrestling had an off weekend placing fourth at the National Duals, but it isn’t half as bad as Iowa basketball’s loss to Nebraska.

Let’s put things into context.

Wrestling lost to No. 4 Minnesota and No. 6 Missouri. Two top-10 teams in the country — much greater competition than the lowly 13-14 Husker team.

Yes, Iowa’s two No. 1-ranked wrestlers Matt McDonough and Derek St. John both lost matches against Mizzou, but they’ll get their chance at redemption in a competition in which the basketball team won’t find itself — the NCAA Tournament.

Iowa dropped the ball in a can’t-lose game and has all but sealed its NIT fate. The squad’s schedule before the game was an easy one to get to at least 9-9 and possibly 10-8. Now, the Hawkeyes face no chance of reaching the Big Dance unless they win (gulp) at Indiana. Going 9-9 can even be difficult with an upward-trending Illinois team coming to town next week.

The Hawkeyes gave away a 19-point lead to a team that looked completely outmatched in the first half, causing the Nebraska commentators on the broadcast to say that they hoped no one left at halftime. The only people that left were Fran McCaffery’s Hawkeyes.

The squad only managed 19 points and seven field goals in the second half; Nebraska scored 39 points. On top of that, Nebraska shot a dismal 50 percent from the free-throw line and still managed to win.

This was a gut-wrenching loss that Iowa could ill-afford after putting itself in bubble territory. Iowa only has two road wins on the year, and it desperately needs to win the ones in which it is the clear favorite. After narrowly escaping at Penn State, maybe Hawk fans should’ve seen this coming.

Yes, wrestling had a bad weekend, but it still has a chance at the highest national stage. The basketball team, however, does not.

— by Kevin Glueck


The Iowa wrestling team, without a doubt, had a worse weekend than Fran’s Crew.

Kevin is probably going to make a case regarding the wrestlers’ chance at redemption, that the Hawkeye grapplers will still perform well at the NCAA meet next month and that Iowa’s basketball team had its NCAA hopes dashed with a gut-wrenching loss to a lowly Nebraska team.

But let’s be honest, Hawkeye basketball fans. The NCAA expectations that were placed on Iowa this season were both premature and, as the season has shown, unrealistic. This is a young team that needs another season to mature and grow together before a deep run in March is in legitimate sight.

Iowa wrestling, on the other hand, is routinely among the nation’s top four teams. This is a program that has expectations of a national championship every single season — whether it is at the NCAAs or the National Duals.

This weekend saw a both veteran and decorated Black and Gold wrestling team lose to a No. 4 Minnesota team they previously beat this year. Should I mention they also lost to a team they had never previously beaten in No. 6 Missouri? Imagine letting David win when you’re the Goliath in the matchup. That’s extremely disappointing.

Both matches were easily winnable, too, but Tom Brands’ boys seem to have found themselves in a late-season funk — something that may or may not carry over into March’s bigger, more important tournaments.

The Iowa basketball team has been abysmal on the road all season long — it has won just two road games all year — and should I mention its continual struggle to finish games? Because that’s been apparent since New Year’s Eve.

Wrestling has been the long glimmer of hope for major Iowa sports this winter, and this past weekend showed that the grapplers could be on the verge of a major collapse unless they fix something quickly. But the basketball team? Please. Losing on the road to beatable teams has become the norm.

—by Cody Goodwin

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