Iowa guard Isaiah Moss watches the ball go out of bounds during a game against Purdue University on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. The Boilermakers defeated the Hawkeyes 87-64. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Point/Counterpoint: Can Iowa basketball salvage this season

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With Iowa sitting at one game below .500, two sports reporters debate: Can Iowa salvage its season?

Yes

James Geerdes

james-geerdes@uiowa.edu

 Is Iowa’s basketball season salvageable?

Well, theoretically, yes. But it would be madness.

And we’re going to have to be theoretical throughout this conversation because … well, it’s pretty obvious. Iowa’s single Big Ten win is over Illinois. And it lost to Rutgers. But that’s in the past. And the Hawkeyes will have to put a lot behind them to turn this ship around.

The next game on Iowa’s schedule is Wisconsin. And that’s where the Hawkeyes have to start if they’re going to play in March. Wins are momentum. And Iowa has four unranked opponents in a row. Sounds like momentum.

After that run, they have Michigan State, Ohio State, and Michigan. But we’ll tackle those hurdles when we get there.

Back to Wisconsin. A win in Carver against a struggling Badger team will at least get the Black and Gold ball spinning, which will hopefully keep spinning through Nebraska, Minnesota, and Penn State. That would be pretty cool.

It would be even cooler if Iowa upset the Spartans, then the Buckeyes, then the Wolverines.

Then it’s the homestretch of the regular season: Indiana, Minnesota, and Northwestern. Winnable games. Theoretically.

They said it was impossible to send a man to the moon. They also said it was impossible for Iowa to turn this season around. I’ll let you do your own math.

And if all else fails — which is probable — Iowa could just pull a quick one and tear through the Big Ten Tournament as the very, very, very unlikely underdogs. Then they could ruin millions of brackets around the nation and make a run in March. That would be madness, so why not?

No

Sean Bock

sean-bock@uiowa.edu

It’s safe to say most Iowa fans are looking forward to football season based on how the basketball has panned out.

The Hawkeyes currently sit at 10-11 overall, 1-7 in Big Ten play. Barring a miraculous title run in the Big Ten Tournament, there’s no chance this team will play meaningful basketball in late March, which is disappointing, considering the expectations coming into the year.

With 10 conference games remaining on the schedule, KenPom says Iowa will finish the season at 14-19, 5-13 in the Big Ten.

KenPom is predicting home wins against Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, and Northwestern — all teams that have experienced struggles this season but still have the firepower to knock off the Hawkeyes in Carver.

It’s unfortunate to see how this season has gone, but there have been flashes of potential in the young squad.

Freshman center Luka Garza was magnificent against nonconference foes, but has played like a timid first-year player for a majority of the conference schedule. In the Jan. 20 blowout loss to Purdue, Garza was the only Hawkeye who played with enthusiasm, finishing with a team-high 19 points in 20 minutes.

ESPN’s Dan Dakich called out the Hawkeyes for poor body language during the Purdue contest. It’s tough to stay positive with the current situation, and Iowa fans have started to express their frustration with head coach Fran McCaffery.

This season is a wash, but it will be interesting to see what ensues if next season is a carbon copy of this one.

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