It has been excruciatingly painful to watch Iowa basketball this year.
And by excruciatingly painful, I mean it has been comparable to what I would imagine it feels like to have hot lava poured directly on my eyes.
The recent loss to Michigan State is Iowa's third straight home loss and fourth straight Big Ten defeat. They are 5-11 overall and in sole possession of last place in the conference. They have lost all of their conference games by double-digit margins.
The loss also brings Iowa's all-time Big Ten record (695-695) an inch away from going into the negative.
"This has been a nightmare for Todd Lickliter," sighed Gary Dolphin during his radio broadcast of the game. What he really meant was that this has been a nightmare for the entire Hawkeye nation.
"I worry about my staff, I worry about the team, I worry about the fans," Coach Lickliter told reporters before the game against MSU. "As I said before, the idea is to compete and be successful. If that's not happening, absolutely it's going to hurt."
That's the idea, anyway. The reality of the situation is far different for Iowa.
And it doesn't just hurt; it's excruciatingly painful.
As a result, attendance at games continues to drop. Attendance at the Michigan State game might have been why Coach Tom Izzo felt the need to comment on the situation after the game.
"I look at this program and I look at Todd personally, he was three and a half hours from us down at Butler, and I saw the job he did there. I know the respect people have for him. This system is going to work. In fairness to him, he’s got to keep guys. And some of the guys that left, there were other reasons. It wasn’t Todd. It wasn’t Iowa’s program.
"Be patient with him. He's got to just keep getting young guys older and add a few more bodies. He'll be a winner here. It's not his fault what happened. It really isn't."
The vote of confidence from Izzo is nice to hear, but does little to change the fact that Iowa's basketball program is in shambles, something that doesn't look to improve anytime soon.
Hawkeye fans are patient, but the endless loop of rebuilding and losing is wearing their patience very thin.
Attendance isn't dropping because the economy is bad. It's dropping because some people are not as patient as others.
We can only handle so much hot lava poured in our eyes.
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