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Schwartz: Ten Sentences – ‘Yes We Believe In You’ Edition

January 12, 2020

Written by David Schwartz

Hawkeye Nation

Lose to Nebraska? Beat Maryland? The only sure thing about Iowa basketball is this weekend’s Ten Sentences.

1. I thought a day might help, an extra 24 hours to get my head around an Iowa men’s basketball team that loses to Nebraska but just a few days later blows out a ranked, vastly talented Maryland squad.

2. But, nope, this year’s squad doesn’t make any sense, whether you’re evaluating them player by player or collectively; the game results confuse almost as much as their mindset.

3. “Nobody expects us to be any good this season,” Fran McCaffery said, inexplicably, about a team that lost only their hustle guy from last year’s team and their streaky three-point shooter to injury, while gaining Luka Garza in a season that he was able to enter in reasonably good health, a more experienced Joe Wieskamp, and two talented freshmen.

4. Coaches have exhausted the “nobody believes in us” card at this point; it’s a miracle it still works, especially in situations such as Iowa’s, when there were plenty of people who believed in them.

5. That’s why last week’s loss to Nebraska was so weird, because quite genuinely lots and lots and lots of people expect the Hawkeyes to continue to be good, especially after their strong non-conference season; that’s also why everyone who either covers Big Ten men’s basketball or watches Big Ten men’s basketball fell out of their seat dumbfounded that a team as solid as Iowa lost to Nebraska – it’s the very definition of people expecting the Hawkeyes to be good.

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6. College coaches are an odd breed of human who think so little of their fanbases that they can say literally anything, no matter how stupid – “Nobody expects us to be any good this season” – and they will expect people to actually believe them.

7. No one expected Iowa to win the Big Ten – that requires some level of consistency – but a 10 second Google search with the right keywords reveals that pretty much everyone saw Iowa as a possible NCAA Tournament team before the season began.

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8. Why is McCaffery so concerned with perceived expectations, anyway – just coach and don’t worry about what a bunch of people predicted in October, before the season tipped off; the dirty little secret about preseason predictions is that many of us hate making them – we do it for clicks, well aware that many readers will never say no to a good (or not good) predictions column.

9. Friday night’s win over Maryland was something special, but then again, no, actually it wasn’t, because the Hawkeyes have showed their fans all season that when they’re at their best they play like a top 10 team, and when they don’t they’re not even a top 10 team in the Big Ten.

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10. So yeah, 2-3 months ago we thought the Hawkeyes would be just fine, a week ago after the Nebraska loss I started to look for silver linings, then we’re back to optimism after beating Maryland as McCaffery complains about who whoknowswhat, which hints that the final 6-8 weeks of the season will be anything but sane, calm, and predictable.

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

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