Co-Gamewatch with Wisconsin Alumni at Bruhaus in Santa Monica
After finally cracking the top 25, Iowa is now on the outside looking in again. It was a tough week for Fran McCaffery’s Hawkeyes as the Kohl center proved too much; and Wisconsin had their way. That was followed by a heartbreaking loss to Purdue, while making a strong second half push; after losing All Big 10 senior Aaron White to injury.
Hawkeye nation stood in silence watching White cling to his shoulder, fearing the worst news to come. Coach McCaffery says the injury is more of a stinger and he is day to day, with a chance to play this Saturday against #5 Wisconsin. When you take a thrashing, all you want to do is get another chance at your opponent; and Iowa’s chance is already here. Wisconsin is simply loaded with talent, and this is with losing star senior Traevon Jackson. The Badgers have their sights set not only on a Big 10 title, but also a deep run in the NCAA tournament. No other team in the nation scores like the Badgers and Frank Kaminsky is a big reason why. In their first meeting, Kaminsky was challenged often and heavily by both Senior Adam Woodbury and Gabriel Olaseni standing toe to toe with the big man, and more often than not; his shot could not be contained. Forward Sam Dekker can run the floor well and his offensive production wreaks havoc on anyone focused on shutting down Kaminsky.
Any injury to a team’s star is deflating, but for Iowa; there has to be some motivation seeing guys step in and take over. It’s hard to count the amount of times Iowa fans have had to shake their heads after a Mike Gesell attempted layup, but no one can fault his effort against Purdue. Someone had to step up for the Hawks, and it was clear Gesell thought why not him. Fearless, he drove the lane time after time dropping in the bucket over a swatting defender. Anthony Clemmons hit a clutch 3-Pointer and suddenly fans were reminded that this team is made of more than just one player. Taking down the Badgers is one giant mountain to climb, especially without White, but maybe they proved more to themselves in that lose; than any previous win. Coach McCaffery recruited them because they could play, and at times it feels like they’ve forgotten that. They didn’t have their usual leader and that effect was noticeable, but it was also noticeable that they had a different belief in the second half. Just as much as the players will need to stay confident, Coach McCaffery will need to utilize his players at the right time for maximum performance. McCaffery believes in his bench, believes in his players; but he needs to recognize who is on and who is not. And that will change from game to game, so awareness of that is extremely important. The right balance at the right time is what will separate the notch in the win vs the loss column.
The Badgers are riding high right now, and their dominance a week ago will only reinforce to themselves what they can do in Iowa City. Talent ultimately separates the teams, but sometimes you just simply need your opponent to miss. You don’t always have to play perfect, just better than your opponent on that night. Wisconsin has the talent, but Iowa has “white magic”. And Fran “White Magic” McCaffery needs to pull one out of his hat!
This week’s gamewatch will be at the Bruhaus in Santa Monica location only. Bruhaus is located at 11831 Wilshire Blvd.
We look forward to seeing everyone. GO HAWKS!!!
LA Iowa Board of Directors