With Iowa in the hunt for a Big Ten football championship late last week, you will have to forgive us here at HawkeyeNation.com for being a couple of games late with our pre-season game by game prediction for the Iowa Men's Basketball team.
I think most of you know that I am an honest person, so you will have to take my word that I was going to pick Iowa to beat Western Illinois. I also had them losing to Louisville and going 1-2 in the Maui Classic.
So let's pick it up right there, with Iowa being 2-2 in my annual attempt to predict the Iowa Men's Basketball season.
November 30th @ Drake: This one should be a good contest. Dr. Tom Davis will have his troops ready, and the crowd inside the Knapp Center should be pro-Bulldogs. In the end, Iowa has too many weapons and I see the Hawks winning this game, but it should be entertaining…more entertaining than Steve Alford would like. (3-2)
December 3rd, Centenary: Iowa will cruise to a win in the opening game of the Gazette challenge. The game two matchup that everyone wants to see is that logo-stealing, Larry Eustachy led Southern Mississippi team. We think Alford wins his second straight over Larry. (5-2)
December 7th, UNI: It's payback time for Iowa, as their loss at the UNI Dome last year was more than just a wet blanket for the season. Jared Reiner got hurt in that game, an injury that would put him on the sidelines for the year a few weeks later. (6-2)
December 10th, ISU: This should be one of the best games of the year in Carver Hawkeye Arena, and it should be a sellout. Hey, even if you are not as excited about Iowa basketball as you once were, show up; the biggest recruiting weekend in the Kirk Ferentz era will be in full effect, and those prospects will be in attendance. I am guessing that Iowa might have a Big Ten Title trophy presentation that night, as well as reminding those recruits that Kirk Ferentz won the Big Ten's Coach of the Year Award…wait…they have not announced that yet. I like Iowa in a dogfight. (7-2)
December 18th, Western Carolina: I didn't even know there was a Western Carolina. (8-2)
December 21st, Texas Tech in Chicago: Teacher against Pupil; let's just hope they don't have any Bobby Knight-Steve Alford interviews this time around. Texas Tech is not what they were last year; neither is Iowa. Iowa gets a game in at the United Center, where the Big Ten tournament will be played this year (9-2)
December 28th, Air Force: They made it to the Big Dance last year, but Iowa cannot lose to them at home, and won't. (10-2)
December 31st, St. Louis: Payback time against the Billikens. Let's hope the Iowa game clock operator won't have to sneak a few extra seconds for the Hawks in this game, like what happened in St. Charles last year. Will this be the season low for home attendance? It's New Year's Eve and 25,000 or more Hawkeye fans will be in Orlando. (11-2)
Did I just pick Iowa to go 11-2 before the Big Ten season? I guess I did…gotta go with the gut. And writing this after Iowa's win against Louisville, meaning they might sneak out of Maui with a record of 3-1 or perhaps even 4-0, that might not be too bad of a guesstimate.
January 5th, Michigan: Well, I guess the honeymoon is over. Michigan has talent, perhaps as much as any team in the Big Ten. But we don't think Tommy Amaker is a big time coaching talent. Iowa wins in a close one. (12-2)
January 8th, @OSU: If Iowa loses this game, then it will be a long season. They won't lose this game. (13-2)
January 15th, Minnesota: Dan Monson and Steve Alford are good friends. Both coaches entered this season with a lot to prove and needing to put together solid seasons. One will (Alford) and one won't (Monson). (14-2)
-If Iowa is 14-2 at this point, they will be ranked near the top 10, setting up a great game…
January 20th, @Illinois: Here is that great game, or at least, on paper and in the rankings. For however long I do these things, I probably won't pick Iowa to win at Illinois. (14-3)
January 22nd, Purdue: Gene Keady deserves a better Big Ten sendoff than what he will get this year. (15-3)
January 26th, @Northwestern: This is going to be a good game. Northwestern returned a lot from last year's salty team. Iowa has not fared well at Northwestern since the 2001-2002 season, but I think Iowa gets it done this year. (16-3)
January 29th, Indiana: The one and only meeting between Steve Alford and his alma mater this year…thank goodness. I grow tired of hearing about Alford's Hoosier past, though I understand we are all a product of where we come from. It's just a minor pet peeve of mine, this far into the Alford era. (17-3)
February 5th, Michigan State: I think Iowa can win this game, but I just don't feel comfortable having Iowa at 18-3 after this game. (17-4)
February 9th: @Wisconsin: The Badgers are next to impossible to beat at the Kohl Center. (17-5)
February 12th, Northwestern: Now that Iowa's record seems to be balanced again, time to start another win streak. (18-5)
February 16th, @Purdue: Iowa's last game against Gene Keady, at least in the regular season. The Boilermakers are tough at home, and I am glad this is not their senior day. (19-5).
February 19th, Illinois: This should be another game between two teams in the top 20. I hate giving Illinois the nod in Carver-Hawkeye. (19-6)
February 23rd, @Minnesota: I am sure that Dan Monson will land on his wallet. (20-6)
February 26th, @PSU: I don't really like this game, and I don't like playing at Penn State. But let's hope that these Hawkeyes, who I have with four losses, still smell an outside shot at a Big Ten title. (21-6)
March 2nd, OSU: No way Iowa loses this game. (22-6)
March 5th or 6th, @Michigan: THIS place is actually Iowa's biggest house of horrors over the last quarter century. Really, I looked it up. (22-7)
22-7? No way, right? Can't happen, can it? Can Steve Alford really put together a 22-win regular season? Most will disagree with me, and I might have disagreed with me, had I not just done this game by game thing.
I go with my gut, and sometimes I get punched in the gut. Jim Zabel tells me that he is terminally optimistic. Maybe I am that way when it comes to Iowa basketball.
But a record of 22-7 means 12-4 in the Big Ten in my preseason world view, and that should be good enough for a third or second place finish, and (gasp) perhaps a shot at a Big Ten title.
It also means a birth in the Big Dance, and perhaps a record of 23-8 prior to selection Sunday, which would give Iowa about a four seed.
OK, I am nuts.
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