In college basketball, the months of November and December should have an exemption from that statement. With seasons being 30 games long, there is rarely a time when teams emerge in late February and early March with an unblemished record. Most don't make it through December without a loss; it's just the way the game is.
Iowa was not going to go into January without a loss, not with the schedule that it has before it.
Which makes Tuesday night's loss to #2 Texas a little easier to swallow, but it doesn't totally erase all of the pain.
Especially when Iowa had such a great chance at beating Top 10 teams on back to back nights, something that the program has possibly never done.
Iowa led for all but 2:57 in the first half and 6:32 in the second half.
With Cartlon Reeds first jump shot of the year going through the well at the 12:11 mark of the second half, Iowa had a 47-39 lead.
Then Texas went to a 2-3 zone defense and Iowa would score just 11 points the rest of the way. It looked disorganized against the zone, much the way it did against Wartburg in the exhibition season.
Unfortunately for Iowa, Texas is not Wartburg; they are one of the best teams in college basketball.
Back to the moral victory card. When looking at Monday and Tuesday in total, one can find more than just a silver lining.
"Coach Alford challenged us to attack the glass," Greg Brunner said after the game. "We were outrebounded by Kentucky on Monday, and we wanted to come out and prove that we could take care of things down low."
With that, Iowa outrebounded Texas 41 to 31 and 15-5 on the offensive glass. The Longhorns might have the best front line that the Hawkeyes face all season.
After Brunner's interview session concluded and the reporters dispersed, Brunner asked me just how badly Iowa had beaten Texas on the boards. When told of the disparity on the offensive end, he shook his head had a clear look of exasperation, perhaps even confusion, as if the impact of the lost opportunity had struck him anew.
Iowa held Texas to just four fast break points one night after they held Kentucky to zero fast break points. A good reason for that is how well Doug Thomas and Erek Hansen run the floor, in addition to Mike Henderson and Tony Freeman being able to recover and pick up their men before midcourt.
Iowa had 11 turnovers against Texas, a high pressure defensive team. They had five in the first half and six in the second half. For the trip to Kansas City, they averaged 13 turnovers in the two games against great pressure. That is in line with where they want to be.
Texas only outscored Iowa by two points in the paint and Iowa's bench outpaced the Longhorns by 10 points.
Texas made five more trips to the line than did Iowa and was +6 on the scoreboard in that department. They also had one more three-pointer than did the Hawkeyes, and Iowa was just 5-24 from beyond the arc. Expect to see more zone defense against Iowa this year, something we have been talking about since October.
Adam Haluska: "We just didn't make enough plays down the stretch. We let their zone dictate our misses and we didn't do a good enough job of attacking their zone. They ran a little zone in the first half and we handled it better. We were in this game right until the end, so that is disappointing to lose. Overall, we let our guard down."
"Jeff and Greg were giving it their all out there on the defensive end. Right up until the end of the game, they were diving on the floor for lose balls and doing the things it takes to win."
(On if Iowa sent a message that they are for real): "We just battled out there. We will come out and do that every night; we will play hard. We have a real hard schedule ahead of us before Christmas, and now we will have a target on our backs for how well we did here against two Top 10 teams. We have to keep going hard."
Doug Thomas: "Their big men are very good. Aldridge is so long in the post and he is big. Buckner is a banger inside. They showed us some phenomenal post play."
(On if the team had weak legs down the stretch): "We are in good condition; I just think we let our guard down. They are the #2 team in the nation for a reason and we fought them to the end."
(On his confidence in his jump shot): "After the Kentucky game, Coach Alford told me that I had a few open looks near the free throw line, and that I should shoot it. He has confidence in my game and so do I, so tonight I took advantage of the space they gave me. I hope that I continue to do just that. But I only had four rebounds, and as good of an athlete and jumper that I am and as big as I am, I should never just have four rebounds."
Steve Alford: "We have seen them play a zone defense before on tape. They played a little in the first half, but when they got into some foul trouble in the second half, they went to it exclusively. And they are a big zone team (as in size). Aldridge might be the best post player we will see all year. We just could not get our shots to fall in the second half and we were shooting too many three's."
"We did great on the boards and that is encouraging, especially against Texas. I know what Top Five teams look like and Texas is definitely a Top Five team. I don't know if we are a Top 20 team right now but I think we are capable of that. We just did not have a good shooting night."
"I was encouraged that we were playing our second straight game against a Top 10 team in two nights and we have just 11 turnovers. We just were not good enough defensively in the second half and they did a better job than we did of getting to the line."
(On the play of his bench): "Doug had a real good fall and that is carrying over. Alex and Carlton will give us a lift and Tony fights like crazy. When you look at what their bench did compared to our bench, I like what we are doing."
"Mike Henderson directed the offense well. It's a bit of a learning process for him and now he is going to be on the bulletin boards of our future opponents because of the Kentucky game and how well he played. Texas did a good job of keeping him in front of them and they took away his penetration, but a zone will do that to you."
"It's also encouraging that Jeff can have a couple of off nights shooting the ball, or get into foul trouble, and we have players that can come in and things don't fall apart. Jeff is going to get going, but it's nice to see that we are not a one man team."
Tuesday's crowd was definitely pro-Iowa and they were very loud and into the game. Kansas City has a great Iowa Club and a fantastic Hawkeye following. The six years that I lived in Kansas City are full of great Hawkeye related memories.
Mike Henderson and Tony Freeman guarded Daniel Gibson in the first half. The talented Gibson managed just five points and had two turnovers to one assist in the first stanza.
Texas did not score any points on fast breaks in the first half, meaning Iowa played 60 minutes of action against Kentucky and Texas, two traditional transition heavy teams, to zipola on the break. The backcourts that Iowa faced the last two games will prepare them for upcoming games at UNI and Iowa State, teams that feature outstanding guards.
Jeff Horner was just 3-22 from the floor for the two game stretch, including just 2-15 from three-point range.
Though Adam Haluska scored 23 points on the night, he was just 4-12 from three point range. He was 11-31 from the floor over the two game span, including just 5-17 from three. Greg Brunner was 2-11 from the floor against Texas.