Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan got his 400th career victory Tuesday night at the expense of Steve Alford and his humbled Hawkeyes. Ryan, a veteran of many different NCAA battlegrounds, is in his first year as head coach of the Badgers. He should receive strong consideration as Big Ten Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the season. He only has 7 scholarship athletes and is devoid of a 'superstar' player. However, he has continued somewhat in the Dick Bennett mold by stressing defense and careful possessions of the basketball on offense.
Iowa's pre-season Wooden Award candidates were both riding the wood as the game began. For the second straight game, Iowa coach Steve Alford benched Reggie Evans and Luke Recker from the starting lineup.
Reggie Evans must have found his way to class this week after being disciplined for non attendance last Saturday. He found his way to the court after three minutes of the first half. Reggie, tired of seeing Iowa's donut lineup, brought a dozen points and a dozen rebounds to the party. However, even two dozen Krispy Kremes would leave a bitter taste after another defeat.
Luke Recker also was inserted after three minutes in the first half. Luke had suffered a gash over his right eye in the second half last Saturday against Ohio State. The six stitches he received may have affected his eyesight as he was only 5 out of 16 from the field. Recker led the Hawks in the scoring column with 13 points.
No other Hawkeye was in double figures.
Both teams were an identical 23 of 48 from the field. However, free throw shooting was not even close. Wisconsin hit 82%(14-17)from the line while Iowa found almost no charity at all by hitting on only 4 out of ten chances.
Devin Harris led the Badgers with 20 points, while Kirk Penny coined 13 and Travon Davis had 12.
The sellout crowd of 17,142 had the Kohl Center rocking in support of the Badgers' fifth straight win in the Big Ten. The loss also marked the fifth straight conference defeat for the Hawks.
Wisconsin never trailed in the first half. Iowa's only lead, albeit brief, occurred in the opening seconds of the second half when a basket by Reggie Evans made it 24-23.
The Hawks have failed to cover the Las Vegas spread for 14 straight games, every one played in 2002. Could the poor performance this year be from fear of the palindrome 2002? If so, you don't need to ask 'Jimmy the Greek' the meaning of the origin word 'palindromos' as 'running back again'. As Yogi Berra might say "they ain't running back far enough!"
So let's all say it "back, back, back, back, back...................all the way to 2001. Back to the Future looks to be the only way out of the downward spiral for the pre-season top ten Iowa Hawkeyes.
Iowa hosts Michigan on Saturday at Carver Hawkeye Arena.