Rough day for Iowa fans

Do they look happy? Not really . . .

Iowa fans took a lot of grief last year as they tried to defend their undefeated team against all the critics, and then had to watch the Hawkeyes get demolished in the Rose Bowl against Stanford.

Today things got even worse as 13th-ranked Iowa lost 23-20 against FCS power North Dakota State.

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North Dakota State is going to the Dance

In their first year of Division I eligibility, the North Dakota State Bison (26-6) won the Summit League Championship, 66-64, earning a berth in the NCAA tournament. NDSU trailed for much of the game, and was down by 12 with 9:05 to play before going on an 18-4 run, capped by Ben Woodside’s leaning jumper with just three seconds remaining. That gave the Bison the lead for good.

Why am I blogging about the Summit League Championship? Well, two reasons: a) it was an exciting game that deserves attention, and b) I played college ball with the NDSU coach, Saul Phillips. Saul is the kind of guy that had “future coach” written all over him even then. He was an assistant under Bo Ryan at UW-Milwaukee for two years and was an assistant at NDSU for three seasons before getting the head job in 2007. He’s a great guy and clearly a very good coach.

When the two teams played in early January, Oakland hung a loss on the Bison. NDSU was 8-5 at that point, so they have rattled off 18 wins in the 19 games since. Transitioning to the D1 level is tough, and Phillips has handled it well. With the job he’s done at NDSU, he’s a rising star in the coaching world.

Go Bison!

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