Matthew Holst/Getty Images
Iowa forward Tyler Cook is in position to make the Hawkeyes his team next season.

Why Iowa’s NIT loss showed how the future is bright, 5 pressing questions for Kirk Ferentz’s news conference 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 Monday, March 20.


A glimpse at Iowa’s future

Iowa needed a basket. The Hawkeyes trailed by 2 and the seconds ticked away in the final half-minute of regulation.

The ball went to forward Tyler Cook in the post. The coaches showed plenty of faith in the freshman and he rewarded them with a bucket that would force overtime.

However, top-seeded Iowa would go on to lose 94-92 to No. 4 seed TCU in a second-round NIT game at home on Sunday.

But before this season ended, the Hawkeyes gave a glimpse of what next season will look like. Odds are Cook will be the first or second scoring option in 2017-18. And on Sunday, in game in which Peter Jok scored 22 points, it was Cook and not the star senior who took Iowa’s biggest shot in regulation.

This will be Cook’s team before long. He’s a former top-50 high school recruit. His freshman season, in which he averaged 12.3 points and 5.3 rebounds, was in so many ways a warmup act.

Really, it’s that way for the entire freshman class. Point guard Jordan Bohannon and forward Cordell Pemsl, like the team as a whole, wildly exceeded expectations. Those three will help form the foundation of Iowa’s team for the next several years.

Expectations will rise. The NCAA Tournament will be the requirement for a successful season.

Cook and Bohannon looked more than capable of shouldering more responsibility on Sunday. Cook scored 16 points. Bohannon led Iowa with 25 points and 13 assists.

The freshmen didn’t just step up in the postseason. They did it all season for a 19-win team. What they did on Sunday wasn’t a surprise. It’s the biggest reason why the fan base should be looking forward to next season.


The more you know

Iowa doesn’t open spring football practice until Wednesday, but coach Kirk Ferentz will unofficially kick things off with a press conference Monday afternoon.

Here are the five most pressing questions Ferentz will likely face.

  • What must QB Nathan Stanley show the staff?

The quarterback competition will be the biggest storyline of the spring. Stanley enters the No. 1 quarterback and is the odds-on favorite to start. What kind of progress Stanley made in the winter, and what he still needs to work on, will draw plenty of focus during the media availability.

  • What’s up with WR Matt VandeBerg?

This report is why VandeBerg will be brought up and why his health will be monitored from now until the opener against Wyoming in September.

  • What will the new offense look like and how will it help improve the passing game?

Don’t expect the Hawkeyes to give detailed notes on what is different, but a few tidbits could be passed on about what new offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz will do with the offense.

  • Can Iowa get the necessary growth it needs from the wide receivers?

This is a natural, and necessary, follow-up to Questions 2 and 3 because of the play of the position group last season.

  • Who is switching positions and is anyone hurt?

These kind of roster updates occur at every introductory spring practice news conference across the country.


Now that is how you celebrate

The best part of Cory Clark’s run to an NCAA championship at 133 pounds wasn’t seeing his hand raised in the finals. It was the toss he performed on assistant coach Terry Brands in celebration.

The best part of the throw was Brands told Clark to do it, as Clark told the ESPN broadcast. There may be nothing more fitting in wrestling than a celebratory toss that’s enjoyed as much by the coach as the competitor.


Iowa-Kansas State baseball recap

March Madness isn’t limited to college basketball. The Iowa baseball team pulled out a thrilling 12-11 road win against Kansas State thanks to a 10th-inning RBI double by Ben Norman on Sunday. Norman wasn’t the only offensive hero, as Jake Adams blasted 3 home runs and drove in 7 runs in the victory.

The Hawkeyes (10-8) lost the first two games of the weekend series to the Wildcats, 3-0 on Friday and 5-4 in 10 innings on Saturday.


Hawkeye Invitational softball recap

Iowa is 3-1 through three days of the Hawkeye Invitational, getting the event started with back-to-back shutouts. Allison Doocy threw a 3-hitter Friday as the Hawkeyes opened the event with a 3-0 win against Valparaiso, then Shayla Starkenburg tossed a 4-hitter the next day in a 2-0 win against South Dakota State.

Doocy struck out 7 and walked 1, while Starkenburg struck out a pair and walked 3.

The Hawkeyes opened up Sunday with a 4-2 loss to Creighton in 8 innings, with Kaitlyn Mullarkey driving in both Iowa runs. The Hawkeyes wrapped up the day by bouncing back to once again shut out South Dakota State, this time 5-0. Doocy threw her second shutout of the invitational, allowing 7 hits while striking out 9 and walking no one.

Iowa (5-17) wraps up the tournament by hosting South Dakota at 3 p.m. Monday afternoon.


Lots of links