Iowa Men's Basketball Off to its Worst Start in 80 Years

B.Senior Analyst INovember 25, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 24:  Cully Payne #3 of the Iowa Hawkeyes battles Gabe Blair #32 of the Wichita State Shockers for a loose ball during the CBE Classic consolation game on November 24, 2009 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Hawkeye basketball continues to make history this season. 

Unfortunately, it's for playing basketball they would rather forget. 

Iowa started off the season by losing its first two games, something the team had not done since 1970. Then, they gained their first win of the season with a 68-46 throttling of last year's Mid-American Conference champions, Bowling Green. 

Freshman Eric May went 4-for-4 from behind the arch and led all Hawkeyes with 16 points.  Anthony Tucker picked up 13 points and nine assists in the win, as well.

The victory was a turning point for the team, Coach Todd Lickliter said.

Sadly, that turning point resembled a car turning into oncoming traffic at a high rate of speed.

After the victory over the Bowling Green Falcons, Iowa headed to Kansas City for the second portion of the 2009 O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic, where Texas and Wichita State awaited.

The trip to Kansas City started with a loss to No. 3 ranked Texas by a score of 85-60.  Iowa kept it close in the first half, and even tied the game with a 70-foot buzzer-beater from freshman point guard Cully Payne to make the score at 38-38 at halftime.

But, Texas hit 66 percent of its second-half shots and went on a 17-0 run during the game’s final 20 minutes to seal Iowa's fate.  The Hawkeyes shot just 32 percent in the game.

Texas's Damion James and Dexter Pittman combined for 25 points, 20 rebounds, and six blocked shots against the Hawkeyes. 

The day after the Texas loss came the 74-57 loss to Wichita State in the consolation game.

The Shockers made five three point baskets in the game's first 10 minutes and grabbed nine offensive rebounds to help them maintain a comfortable lead for most of the game. Their bench outscored Iowa's 29-9.

The Hawkeyes lost all four of its CBE Classic games, averaging just over 54 points a game and shooting just over 35 percent.

"This has been a very, very demanding opening schedule," Lickliter reminded reporters after the Wichita State game.

Lickliter has a point.  The Hawkeye Nation will need to have a little patience this year and remember that the bulk of Iowa's team is in their first year of college.  While it is clear the freshman have some talent, they are still very green to college basketball and are learning as they go. 

Iowa is now 1-4 on the season, its worst start since 1929 when the Hawkeyes began the season 1-6.

The Hawkeyes return to action Saturday, November 28 against North Carolina Central, when former Hawkeye basketball legend Kenyon Murray makes his debut as Basketball Analyst for the Big Ten Network while calling the game.

Hopefully Iowa can give Murray a memorable game to call.