In the 2004-2005 season, the Siena Saints finished 6-24. Fran McCaffery took over the Siena Saints in their 2005-2006 season, a year when they were projected to finish dead last in the MAAC. They also came up with major victories against cross-town rivalry, Albany, and against Niagara on Senior Day. That season their record was 15-13. Then 20-12. In 2009-2010, they set a school record 17 MAAC wins during their 27-7 season. Then McCaffery left and came to coach the Iowa Hawkeyes.
He's only been at Iowa for one season, but it already seems that he might be doing the same thing he did for the Saints to the Hawkeyes. Under Todd Lickliter, the 2009-2010 Hawkeyes finished 10-22, 4-14 in the Big Ten. Last season, they ended 11-20, 4-14 in the Big Ten, 10th place once again. But they also came up with two huge victories during the season - one was a twenty point victory win over Michigan State (which, in retrospect, wasn't as impressive as it might have appeared to be at the time) and a two point home upset over Purdue on Senior Day. These two victories strangely parallel Siena's two most significant victories during McCaffery's first season.
The Hawkeyes have started this season 8-5. They open up Big Ten Conference play Wednesday night at home against Purdue. According to ESPN.com, Iowa ranks higher than Purdue in rebounding, scoring, field goal percentage, and assists per game (all based on their games and opponents so far this season). The last time these two teams met, when Purdue was, in my opinion, a much stronger team, Iowa won. Iowa is stronger this season and Purdue is weaker; this should be a good game and I think Iowa has a good shot at winning. If McCaffery's second season at Iowa imitates his second season at Siena like his first season did, Iowa will improve this year. Admittedly, it's not hard to improve on an 11-20 season and I'm not suggesting that Iowa will be in the running for the Big Ten, but, under McCaffery, that could be a possibility within the next few years. The Saints were projected to finished dead last in the MAAC when McCaffery took over in 2005. By the time he left in 2010, they were coming off their third straight conference championship. Iowa was in a better starting position when McCaffery got them - 2nd to dead last - so who's to say McCaffery won't do the same for them?
Blog #22 is named after Roy Finch, the #22 sophomore running back for the Oklahoma Sooners football team, who has played in all but one game this season. On December 30, the Iowa Hawkeyes football team will play the #14 Oklahoma Sooners in the Insight Bowl. Oklahoma started their season 6-0 before dropping 3 of their last 6 games. They rank in the top 50 for passing yards, rushing yards, points scored, and points allowed (meaning they don't allow a lot). Iowa ranks in the top 50 for points allowed. Iowa is returning to the Insight Bowl for the second straight year and hoping to extend their Bowl winning streak to three against the pre-season #1 team.
I have to go,
The Sports Nerd