Iowa City, Ia. – Dan Dakich has been to Carver-Hawkeye Arena many times, as an Indiana basketball player, assistant coach and now ESPN analyst.
He had a message for Iowa basketball fans after a 69-65 loss to No. 5 Indiana Monday
at sold-out Carver-Hawkeye Arena: stick with this team.
“I think they’re going to be really good,” Dakich said. “They had a tough shooting night (33.3 percent). When your best player (Devyn Marble) is 1-for-14, it’s tough. But I really do like their team. I told (Indiana coach Tom) Crean that before the game. I said, “Iowa is a really good team.’ My hope for Iowa is the fans understand and keep coming out, because this is a helluva environment.”
The 15,400 on hand saw Iowa fall back, then rally. But the Hawkeyes couldn’t make the key play at the right time against a team that was ranked No. 1 in the nation until losing in overtime to Butler Dec. 15.
Crean echoed some of Dakich’s comments when he met with the media after the game.
“We know this is a huge win for us, coming in here,” Crean said. “I like watching Iowa play. They play so hard. They’re competitive. He (Iowa coach Fran McCaffery) mixes his lineups. He’s got a lot of versatility. He’s an excellent coach. We kept saying, if we get a win in there it’s a big deal.”
Crean coaches in Assembly Hall, one of college basketball’s greatest venues. But Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which turned into a ghost town in recent losing seasons, has a pulse again.
“That was a great atmosphere,” Crean said. “I hope their fans continue to pour out like that all year long. Because that team deserves it. I think they’re going to be really good.”
Rebuilding is a tough challenge, especially in a conference that is as strong as the Big Ten this season. But Dakich said that McCaffery is on the right track.
“He’s got enough guys now,” Dakich said. “He has to get better play out of (Melsahn) Basabe and (Gabe) Olaseni, who didn’t look ready. He looked behind everything. But they had a real chance today.”
Basabe injured an ankle in the first half and played just 9 minutes. He had 20 points and 10 rebounds against Indiana at Carver-Hawkeye as a freshman and 13 points and seven rebounds here against the Hoosiers last season.
“He was playing well I thought,” McCaffery said. “And I thought in this game, he would have been very effective. He's always played well against Indiana and played really well last year and he was ready to go. So that was disappointing.”zp8497586rq
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball