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Schwartz: Hawkeye Fans Have Their Say

February 29, 2016

Written by David Schwartz

Hawkeye Nation

“Don’t write anything you’ll have to apologize for later.”

That was good advice from @webcentrick when I asked Twitter on Sunday night, “What should I write about the Hawkeyes?”

Hopes of a regular-season Big Ten championship for the Hawkeyes are gone following a loss at Ohio State. Iowa has lost three straight games and four of its last five.

One might feel like swearing. That’s cool. Go ahead and swear. I did.

One might feel like playing the blame game. Fran doesn’t know how to calm this team down! Jarrod Uthoff stopped shooting! Mike Gesell panics! Adam Woodbury lacks coordination! Peter Jok needs to learn how to beat a triple-team!

And my personal (least) favorite: Those refs!

I played the blame game. It didn’t help anything. Didn’t change anything. The Hawkeyes are still in the midst of a free fall.

They need answers. They need composure. They don’t need blame.

If you came here looking for answers, I’m sorry. I don’t have any.


Peter Jok 

Howe: Despite Slide, Hawkeyes Decide How They’ll Be Remembered

But when I asked for help on Twitter, many of you chimed in with your own thoughts on what’s ailing the Hawkeyes. Some ideas were great. Others – “It’s the refs!” – weren’t. So I aggregated your responses and included the Top 5 below.

Top 5 was determined purely by quantity. If 75 people wrote, “It’s the lousy training-table food,” then that would have made the Top 5. (It didn’t, obviously.)

So here’s what Hawkeye fans think is troubling Iowa:

5. Iowa has lost its swagger.

The consensus among fans is that this has been a gradual process, beginning with the loss at Indiana and compounded by the narrow win at home against Minnesota on Feb. 14. From there, it snowballed.

The Hawkeyes feel vulnerable. They’ve realized they can’t come back on anyone, like they did Jan. 2 at Purdue. As @hawkhoff wrote:

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4. It’s coach Fran McCaffery’s fault.

This is an obvious place to look, but it’s interesting because one can look at it from a couple of angles. First, is McCaffery the problem because he isn’t making effective late-game adjustments? Second, is McCaffery the problem because of his demeanor.

Translation: Is McCaffery’s tension/anxiety leaking into his players?

This question was best posed by former Daily Iowan sports editor @renboss23:

And bonus points to everyone’s favorite Hawkeye fan, @irrationalhawk:

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3. The Hawkeyes were overachieving.

If I were a betting man, this is where I’d put my money. The Hawkeyes were playing way above their potential earlier this season and have come back to earth.

Hawkeye fans quickly went from, “This team should contend for an NCAA Tournament berth,” to, “This team could win the NCAA Tournament!” I know I did.

Or, as @brewinghawkeye put it:

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2. The Hawkeyes are chokers.

Nope. I hate that word. It’s unfair.

Not even going to entertain this one.

1. Late-season collapses are this program’s calling card.

Some people (sorry, @ThanksSteven) are sick of hearing comparisons between 2016 and 2014, when the Hawkeyes lost seven of their last eight games and lost in an NCAA Tournament play-in game.

It’s an easy comparison, but it’s not a lazy comparison. It’s a logical conclusion.

The 2014 team had Devyn Marble, Aaron White, Melsahn Basabe, and the entire core of this year’s highly touted seniors (when they were sophomores). I’m not ready to compare this year’s team to 2014, but if Iowa loses Tuesday against Indiana and next weekend against Michigan, how can anyone deny the similarities?

Preach it, @natesander1:

If the Hawkeyes want their fans to drop this “collapse down the stretch” storyline, it’s entirely up to them. Beat Indiana. Win a couple of games in the Big Ten Tournament and one or two in the NCAA Tournament.

Or else, for the foreseeable future, Iowa will be known as the program that folds when the stakes get too high.

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

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