GN NOTE: I think this is a good post and maybe it is best to get another perspective on this Monday afternoon. So I'm bumping this up to the cover. Enjoy and I encourage more bourbon drinking, less jumping off bridges.
As regular readers may know, now is about the time I would normally be urging calm and patience, and noting that things aren't as bad as they seem. After all, we dropped a bad game and Northwestern and Iowa really isn't that bad of a team. We lost at home to Illinois too, but we also beat them on the road, so that's sort of a wash. So far, those two games are the only two that we should have won but didn't. Sure, early season expectations might have lead to hope for beating Wisconsin on the road too, but that's hard for anyone to do.
And while all that is true, I feel like Tubby made a big gamble yesterday. I'm really bothered by the apparent decision to just give up on the game. Whether you want to say that happened when he pulled Rodney in the first half, or when he started giving extra minutes to bench guys in the second, or when he pulled Dre from the game with four fouls and about nine minutes to play and a significant deficit to overcome, or when he decided that he didn't need Dre after all and would just sit him for the rest of the game, it was clear that Tubby decided he wasn't going to try to win that game. You're already playing without one of your special athletes. How can you afford to play without your best player?
I assume he thought it would send some sort of message to his guys, but it's a risky move. It says that sometimes it's okay to quit, and I hate that message. It's fine to get beat, but guys need to know that they always fight to the end. Whether you are Kendal Shell or Trevor Mbakwe (who gets it), you hustle until the buzzer sounds.
Instead we got Mav and Oto and Mo and no chance at all to come back with a lot of time to play. And heck, if we're giving up, why not see what Wally can do (although he may be injured again)?
I'm as frustrated as anyone that we struggled, again, against the zone defense. But it was hardly a surprise that Iowa made a counter run after we started the game so well. What's surprising is that we didn't have another run of our own, in part because coach didn't have his best guys on the floor.
I've been as insistent as anyone that changes coaches was riskier than the potential return, but if Tubby's big message gamble doesn't pay off, I won't shed any tears about him going. This team probably needs to win three more regular season games (perhaps two is one of the wins is Indiana or Ohio State) to salvage a respectable season and a decent trip to the NCAAs. Right now that looks like it requires two road wins. That's a tough spot to be in with a demoralized team.