Women's Basketball

Williams Blog: Playing a full 40

By Chris Williams

“They are playing like their pants are on fire.”

That is a quote from Dave Armstrong, the man who did the television play-by-play of Iowa State’s 89-84 loss to Oklahoma last night. Armstrong was referring to Iowa State’s play during a 10-minute span in the first half, where the Cyclones committed nine turnovers, allowing the Sooners to go on a 14-0 run.

Well Dave, while your line sure was nutty, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Once again last night, we saw the Iowa State men’s basketball team go through a spurt in which they would have had a hard time beating Gilbert’s varsity team.

But then there was the last 10 minutes of the game. During that timeframe, the Cyclones looked like that group of players that we saw at the beginning of the season. Do you remember the team that we saw in the second half against Drake? The one that played with emotion, passion and executed like one that was going to the big show? That team. They were back!

Why can’t they play that way for 40 minutes? I’m no coach, so I cannot answer that. But you don’t have to be Phil Jackson to realize that if the Cyclones could just avoid those dreadful droughts, they could be 3-2 in the conference right now, with the NCAA Tournament on the brain.

Now, they’re 1-4 and some fans are discussing if the NIT will even be a possibility. I think that it will, but I can’t blame others for doubting.

I still haven’t written off this team, this season, for one main reason. There is just too much talent on the roster to do so, only five games into Big 12 play.

Do I think they’ll somehow catch fire and work their way into the NCAA Tournament? Not really. But anything can happen I guess. I don’t think that this particular group of Cyclones will roll over and die either. I’ve been around these athletes too much. I covered their recruitments. In the second half last night, this team proved that they indeed do care.

“Don’t give up on us. If we play the rest of the season like we did in the second half, we’ll be all right,” Craig Brackins told Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register after the game.

Craig is right. But can Iowa State play two halves like that? So far, they haven’t.

Enough with the comparisons

“Johnny Orr’s teams wouldn’t have played like this.”

“Eustachy or Floyd would coach this team to a Final Four. We’re wasting talent out there!”

“Floyd would have called a timeout there.”

“Johnny Orr demanded respect!”

If I read one more line like that, I’m going to bust my Macbook Pro over my tiny little head.

Enough with the comparison’s Fanatics. It is a different game, a different team and a different era. Comparing Greg McDermott to Johnny Orr is simply ridiculous. College basketball is a totally different sport with totally different players now. Give it up!

You want to know what comparison drives me even crazier? That’s the Bill Fennelly to Greg McDermott one. Why?

Why do you have to do that? The “our men’s team should take some notes from the ladies” comment simply isn’t cute or productive.

Yes, I agree that that Bill Fennelly is an incredible coach. Coach Fennelly is one of my favorite people in all of sports.

I pose this question to everybody today.

Why not just celebrate the women’s winning streak? Why not just talk about how great of a team Coach Fennelly has developed and discuss the positives? Why do you have to put the men’s team down, in order to compliment the women?

Obviously it is a vocal minority who continues to do this, but it’s just wrong. Enough with it.

Looking forward

Iowa State has a chance to stop the bleeding per se on Saturday when Colorado comes to town. I am pretty sure that we all had a big fat W penciled in next to this one to start the season.

I still think that the Clones will win but listen when I tell you that Colorado isn’t that bad. The Buffs handled Nebraska last night by 12 and they’ve been a tough out for anybody who has encountered them in conference play. In six Big 12 games, Colorado has only lost in double-digits twice. Both of those games were on the road at Texas and Oklahoma State.