What Iowa can learn from Big Ten Tournament loss, ex-Hawkeyes’ big NFL paydays and more
The best way to start your day is right here at Landof10.com as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Iowa Breakfast Club here with you at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
So let’s get to it. Here is the Iowa Breakfast Club for Friday, March 10.
Iowa men’s basketball started Thursday on the NCAA Tournament bubble. The Hawkeyes found themselves there, in large part, due to their defense. Inconsistencies defending their basket led to odd losses both in nonconference play (hello, Omaha) and against Big Ten foes (hello, Nebraska).
In the end, defense was the reason Iowa saw its big dance dreams dashed by Thursday night. Indiana put on an offensive clinic in a 95-73 Big Ten Tournament win against the Hawkeyes in Washington, D.C.
Yes, the Hoosiers, were good offensively, looking like the early-season top-10 team they once were. But the Hawkeyes made it too easy for them by not contesting enough shots and failing to play consistent help defense.
Iowa improved its defense as the season went along. It was the biggest reason the Hawkeyes won their final four regular-season games.
Yet on Thursday, Iowa looked like the defensive team from November. It was the worst time for it to happen.
With how they played, the Hoosiers were winning regardless of what the Hawkeyes did. Indiana played that well. That, though, won’t register with the players. They’ll think back on what they didn’t do.
It will start with defense. The biggest game of the season served as a reminder of what the Hawkeyes can’t let happen, be it in the NIT next week or when chasing the NCAA Tournament again next season.
In retrospect, the most obvious move of the first day of NFL free agency was former Iowa OT Riley Reiff signing with Minnesota.
Vikings had to address their shortage in Hawkeyes after Greenway's retirement. Reiff is a much-needed addition.
— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) March 9, 2017
Reiff unofficially replaces former Iowa LB Chad Greenway on the roster. Greenway retired earlier this week.
Playing for the Vikings is as close to a homecoming as the South Dakota native can get. Reiff headed to Minnesota after the Detroit Lions signed OT Rick Wagner. The Lions drafted Reiff in the first round in 2012. Details of Reiff’s contract weren’t known and he could play either left or right tackle, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The Vikings need a starter at both tackle spots.
Also, former Iowa DB Micah Hyde signed with Buffalo.
There’s a new face in the secondary. Welcome to Buffalo, Micah Hyde!
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) March 9, 2017
Hyde, a fifth-round pick by Green Bay in 2013, inked a five-year $32.5 million contract with $14 million guaranteed, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. It’s good pay if you can get it. Hyde was part of a defensive backfield overhaul by the Bills in free agency.
Sports Illustrated put out its Big Ten spring football primer earlier this week. Iowa fans won’t be, well, fans of it. SI ranked the Hawkeyes ninth in the league entering spring workouts. SI doesn’t expect the strong finish in league play last season to carry over into 2017.
The one thing SI is looking forward to is the one thing everyone wants to see with the Hawkeyes. What happens as Iowa transitions from offensive coordinator Greg Davis to Brian Ferentz. Unfortunately, the spring probably won’t provide much of an answer. Teams run vanilla plays in spring games, regardless if a new offense is being installed or not. Definitive answers on Ferentz and his offense won’t arrive until the fall.
Greatest Iowa Basketball Player Update
Land of 10 is trying to figure out who the best Iowa basketball player ever is. Readers are voting each day in the latest bracket matchup. The first round consists of four players, with two advancing to the second round.
Acie Earl, Jeff Horner, Steve Carfino and Glenn Vidnovic were up in Day 9. Earl and Horner will be advancing to the second round.