Seventeen years ago—on January 24, 1987—the Buckeyes of THE Ohio State University came into Carver-Hawkeye Arena and knocked off the #1-rated Iowa Hawkeyes, 80-76. Iowa was 18-0 at the time in Coach Tom Davis' first season at the helm and on its way to a 30-5 season, which included a trip to the Elite Eight.
But that Saturday afternoon game back in 1987 was a frustrating defeat. And it's one of the reasons why I always think it's sweet to beat the Buckeyes in any sport…by any score.
There are teams that are natural rivals for the Hawks (Iowa State and Minnesota, for example) based on proximity…but then there are teams that you dislike for the mental scars they have created for you. That's where "THE" Ohio State University falls into the mix for me.
First of all, what's with the "THE"? Who are they trying to kid? And Ohio State fans seem to think that having a "THE" at the beginning gives your university some sort of prestige or something. Uh…good one.
From the days of Kelvin Ransey (who was traded from the Bulls for Ronnie Lester on draft day in 1980) to the imposing physical presence that was Brad Sellers (who was on the floor for the Bulls when Jordan hit "the shot" over Craig Ehlo in Cleveland…OHIO) to the all-right-hand-all-the-time Brent Darby (who is the same age as Phil Jackson, even though he completed his playing days for "THE" Ohio State University last spring), I have never been fond of the Buckeyes.
Lest we forget the immortal Clark Kellogg, the scoring machine of the early 1980s. He certainly didn't drop too many "dimes" during his career, that's for sure. But I think he definitely had some "spurtability."
Or Lawrence Funderburke? Nice name, buddy. Speaking of which, can't you order a "Scoonie Penn" at a bar in Sioux City?
Nevertheless, I remember quite clearly that Saturday afternoon in January of 1987 when Dennis Hopson (another former Bull) & Company ended Iowa's 18-game unbeaten streak to start the season. I was a senior in high school at the time and that game was one of the most frustrating that I can remember. It made no sense.
The Ohio State lineup that day was Jay Burson, Curtis Wilson, Dennis Hopson, Jerry Francis and John Anderson (of Linn-Mar). One NBA player (Hopson), one 140-pound guard who would be wearing a Joan Cusack neck brace after a "collision" with Ed Horton later in his career (Burson), an Al Lorenzen-lite (Anderson) and two guys you haven't thought of in at least 15 years (Wilson and Francis).
Iowa's lineup included:
- BJ Armstrong (NBA)
- Kevin Gamble (NBA).
- Roy Marble (McDonald's All-American and first-round NBA pick)
- Gerry Wright
- Brad Lohaus (McDonald's All-American, NBA)
Off the bench were guys like:
- Michael Reaves
- Bill Jones (played a little in the NBA)
- Jeff Moe (1,248 career points)
- Ed Horton (McDonald's All-American)
- Kent Hill
- Al Lorenzen (McDonald's All-American)
Did I mention this loss made NO sense?
Can you imagine an Iowa roster that includes FIVE future NBA players and FOUR McDonald's All-Americans? Or how about a bench that includes a pair of McDonald's All-Americans and a guy who scored 1,200+ points at Iowa? THAT'S how talented the Hawkeyes were 17 years ago.
We certainly have never seen an Iowa roster anywhere NEAR that talented again.
And guys like Jay Burson, Curtis Wilson and Jerry Francis knocked them off in Iowa City. I guess that's part of what makes college basketball so great.
But, that doesn't mean that I have to like guys like Granville Waiters, Herb Williams, Tony Campbell, Ron Stokes, Troy Taylor, Perry Carter, Chris Jent, Ken Johnson, Brian Brown, Boban Savovic or Sean Connolly. Because I don't.
(Writer's note: Waiters remains the only player in Big 10 history to participate in games after his 60th birthday.)
And one more thing while I'm railing away at THE Ohio State University. I still can't believe the 28-26 loss to the Buckeyes in November of 1990 in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes COULD have been rated #1 in the country if they had not been beaten in the waning moments at Kinnick Stadium on a Greg Frey (who?) to Bobby Olive (huh?) touchdown pass.
All of these thoughts put me in a perfect mood to watch Iowa drill THE Ohio State University, 79-65, on Saturday night.
The lopsided victory reminded me that there have been some GREAT moments against the Buckeyes. Some of my favorites include: the ‘Marv Cook Game' (which also took place in 1987), the 67-64 victory over the fifth-ranked Buckeyes when Kyle Galloway drilled a three-pointer in the last few seconds and the 16-7 "black helmet" victory in 1991 at Columbus (Alan Cross rambled about 300 yards on a tight end screen).
Hopefully, the Hawkeyes can make it a clean sweep over the Buckeyes in basketball this year after a visit to Columbus on February 18.
"THE" Ohio State University deserves every defeat "THE" University of Iowa can serve up.
(Marty Gallagher founded the popular web site IowaSportsOpinions.com. You can e-mail him at Marty@IowaSportsOpinions.com.)