Touring the Hawkeye Nation

Just how long has it been since the Iowa Men's basketball team played in the NCAA tournament? Of course, the calendar will tell you that we are approaching four years since that miraculous run of winning four games in four days back in March of 2001. But that doesn't ram home just what has gone on in the world, both Hawkeye and abroad, since the Hawks made it to the round of 32 in March of 2001. We take a look at that, as well as taking a spin around the Hawkeye Nation.

When it gets past midnight, the creative juices can either begin to flow or they can dry up. You make the call.

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Let's play, 'The Last Time Iowa's Men's Basketball team was in the NCAA tournament (TLTIMBWITNT for short), (fill in the blank)'

(cue cheesy trumpet music, think tab collars, bell bottoms and Don Pardo, but do not use the word ‘whoopie'

Well, I will start things off. TLTIMBWITNT, I lived in a 28 x 80 manufactured home in West Branch, Iowa, I had only been married for three years, I did not have a child as of yet, I had just turned 30 (I will be 34 on March 14th), I had a flat top (the wife does not allow that any more), I weighed around 205 pound (glad to see that some things don't change) and I was still writing content for SuperHawkeye.com.

That's right, HawkeyeNation.com did not exist in March of 2001, when Iowa won four games in four days to secure the Big Ten's automatic bid in the NCAA tournament.

Scout.com did not exist back then, nor did Hawkeye Nation, the magazine. The Internet, at least in this genre, was still in its infancy. Broadband was a term that made you think of really big boxer shorts.

Around the nation, the rolling blackouts in California were ongoing, and the talk about price fixing was all the rage. President Bush had been on the job for two months. The Twin Towers still graced the New York City skyline.

Jason Smith was a household name in the Hawkeye State.

Kirk Ferentz's Hawkeyes were coming off of a 3-9 football season, and Matt Roth and Blake Larsen were the headliners in Iowa's recruiting class of 2001. That's right, Matt Roth was just weeks removed from his Illinois wrestling state title and had not yet played a snap of college football. That would not happen for another six months. Other members of Iowa's 2001 recruiting class that signed letters of intent a month and a half before Iowa's hooper's won four in four days were Antwan Allen, Brian Ferentz, Chad Greenway, Abdul Hodge and Brad Banks.

In March of 2001, TLTIMBWITNT, Drew Tate was only five months removed from obtaining his drivers license (Lebron James was 16 years and three months old), and Dan Doering, Tony Moeaki, Dace Richardson, Jake Christensen and other members of Iowa's class of 2005 recruiting class were still in junior high.

Yes Virginia, it's been a long time since Iowa was in the NCAA tournament, and unless Iowa wins its final four regular season games, at the least, or again wins four games in four days in the Big Ten tournament, this coming March will be the fourth straight post season without an NCAA tourney invite.

I think it bears repeating that under Steve Alford, Iowa has never won four regular season conference games in a row, so the task that sits before this year's Iowa team does not have the odds in their favor.

I am not saying that they cannot do it, as they will play two struggling teams in Penn State and Michigan and another team that has floundered in recent weeks in Minnesota. But all three of those games are on the road, a place that has been unkind to Iowa this season as the Hawkeyes are still seeking their first conference road game.

Iowa's last road win in conference play came on March 6th, 2003, some 352 days ago.

For those of you expecting me to give my $.02 on Alford's future at Iowa, I will say again what I have said since the season began; I will reserve judgment until Iowa's NCAA tourney status is known. That won't be known for certain until Iowa either loses in the Big Ten tournament or until selection Sunday. There will be plenty to write about at that time.

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Edgyhawk posted in the HN Clubhouse on Sunday that he had learned that Shonn Greene had received a qualifying score on his SAT. We will attempt to reach Greene's prep school coach today to confirm Edgyhawk's post, but we had no reason to doubt him on Sunday.

If Greene will indeed be in Iowa City this summer, he is going to be in the mix for playing time in 2005. One Iowa assistant coach told me last winter that Greene was the most ‘pro-like' back that Iowa would have in 2004. But Greene did not make it to campus, and instead turned in an outstanding season at Milford Prep, gaining nearly 1400 yards in 11 games against JV college teams such as Navy.

If Albert Young is 100 percent, he and Marques Simmons will also be in the mix for major carries in 2005, but I have felt for a long time that if Greene qualified, he would have his nose in that battle as well. It will be fun to watch what unfolds in August.

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The Polk County I-Club held it's annual football recruiting function last Wednesday in Clive, and On Campus Recruiting Coordinator Jon McLaughlin and Offensive Coordinator Ken O'Keefe were the featured speakers.

O'Keefe said that Ankeny wide out Andy Brodell was ‘better than advertised', which is good news for Iowa's future. As you all know, the 6-foot-3 Brodell was a standout running back for Ankeny and made the move to wide out upon his arrival in Iowa City.

It remains to be seen how much he might figure into the mix in 2005, as Clinton Solomon, Ed Hinkel, Matt Melloy and Calvin Davis will be the likely members of Iowa's two deep. Don't count out Eric McCollom in that mix, and James Townsend showed some flash in spot action in 2004. Herb Grigsby might also make his move this off-season.

McLaughlin shared a story on Iowa fullback recruit Kalvin Bailey, a story that Josh Clark reported in the HN Clubhouse back in December.

McLaughlin said that after seeing tape of Bailey and later seeing him in person, Iowa Strength & Conditioning coach Chris Doyle said that Bailey reminded him of Jerome Bettis when Doyle and Bettis were at Notre Dame together. Bailey is likely going to be one of Doyle's prized pupils, as he can already put up over 400-pounds on the bench press.


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