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November 22, 2012
Hawkeye Road Trip
Day 6 of the Ultimate Hawkeye Road Trip is officially in the books.
With a bus to the airport coming in about five hours, today's update will be a short one.
It was a pretty quiet day today at the Moon Palace. In previous days we saw the Iowa team out a little bit from time to time, but today they were very quiet. I didn't see an Iowa player until they were headed to their "locker room" before the game and the Iowa coaches were also spending most of their time preparing for the game against Wichita State.
This has been a business trip for me as well. I've been able to get out a bit from time to time, but today was the first time I could actually enjoy the wonderful Moon Palace resort and their pools and the beach for more than an hour. Actually a boring day unless you call lounging around exciting. About the only fun moment was when the guy in charge of the music by the pool started blasting "Back in Black" and I started looking around wondering if the Hawkeyes were going to come charging out of a tunnel.
The Cancun Challenge championship game was a somewhat interesting contest until Wichita State pulled away in the final few minutes. The end of the first half felt like a heavyweight title fight with both teams landing haymakers. Josh Oglesby and Sapp Clemmons knocking down three's and Wichita State responding right back. That was some fun basketball.
Then the Shockers just imposed their will at the start of the second half. Iowa fought back and then the Shockers basically put things away. I really felt for Mike Gesell. After the game, Fran McCaffery said he felt like Gesell probably showed Malcom Armstead a little too much respect early and to borrow from Fran, he got sideways. He did play a little better in the second half and on a few trips he took it to the Wichita State guards, but fouls really hampered Gesell and Woodbury tonight.
Devyn Marble got off to a great start tonight and then when Gesell had to go to the bench, Marble had to move to the point. He said after the game it impacted his hot start because instead of coming off screens and looking to score, he had to run the offense. The positive is that Marble looked more comfortable at the two guard spot and I thought Aaron White also looked more comfortable at the three.
Iowa's offense hasn't looked smooth in recent weeks and I think we all probably discount the adjustments that the Hawkeyes two biggest scorers are going through by moving to new positions. Couple that with two freshmen in the starting lineup and it's four players getting comfortable either at the college level or at a new position.
The good news is that while they certainly don't like losing, the Hawkeyes are sitting at 5-1. The team will get some time to sleep in and relax tomorrow before flying back early on Friday morning. Then it will be back to work and preparing for Virginia Tech and a trip to Blacksburg on Monday for a game on Tuesday evening.
I'm packed and ready to head back to Iowa and hopefully see some of my family members late tomorrow afternoon to celebrate Thanksgiving. I hope everyone enjoys Thanksgiving Day with their family tomorrow. We all have a lot to be thankful for in our lives. Time for a few hours of sleep.