To say that Iowa basketball has been painful to watch this year would be an understatement.
The Hawkeyes are off to one of the worst starts in school history and have lost their last 13 games on the road. Their three wins on the season were far-from-impressive performances over teams nobody has heard of.
Things aren't getting any better, either. The terrible chain of events this week has been like rubbing salt in an open wound.
In the span of the past week, the team lost to in-state rival Northern Iowa, then were stranded in a hotel by a blizzard for two days before being beat down by in-state rival Iowa State, all while their head coach recovered from emergency surgery.
Hollywood couldn't script drama like this if it tried.
The dreadful week started last Saturday, when doctors performed surgery on Todd Lickliter to place a stent inside his carotid artery to repair a tear. Lickliter is expected to make a quick and full recovery, and should be back in action next week, but it was a scare him and the young team could have done without.
It scared Andrew Brommer so bad that he was only able to play 10 minutes against Prairie View A&M before fouling out.
On Tuesday, the Hawkeyes traveled north to play Northern Iowa of the Missouri Valley Conference. They lost by a depressing 17 points to the Panthers, 67-50.
The players were forced to wallow in the defeat while stuck in a Holiday Inn in Cedar Falls, the result of one of the worst near-blizzards Iowa has seen in the last 50 years. Without being able to travel, practice drills and watching game tapes were a challenge.
That meant limited preparation for the annual Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series match-up at Hilton Coliseum against Iowa State.
Subsequently, the Cyclones crushed the Hawkeyes in an 81-71 loss, with probable All-American Craig Brackins scoring 28 points in the dominating performance. Iowa State shot 58 percent and had 16 assists.
As a Hawkeye fan, losing to Iowa State is never a good thing. Losing to them badly, after already having lost badly to another instate rival, is just downright depressing.
Rebuilding a basketball program from the ground up is never easy. Hopefully fans have patience and don't lose their faith.
For anyone trying to look for a silver lining on the week, senior Devon Bawinkel attempted and made the first free throw of his Hawkeye career .
Congratulations, Devon, it only took three-and-a-half years to make it to the free throw line.
The Hawkeyes, with Coach Lickliter, return to action at home against another in-state rival, Drake, on Dec. 19.