The story coming out of Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday evening had nothing to do with the basketball game being played on the floor and everything to do with honoring No. 40.
Twenty years ago Saturday, Chris Street was killed when a snow-plow struck the car that he was driving. If you don’t know the story, watch this. In short, Street was a typical Midwestern sports star: humble, hard-working and a fan favorite. He was averaging 14.5 points and 9.5 boards as a junior when he died.
Iowa honored and celebrated Street’s life at halftime, as the 20 players that have won the Chris Street Award since his passing and more than 50 members of Street’s family were in attendance. They all wore matching t-shirts that the team had on during warm-ups. A video tribute was played in the arena as well.
And you can’t help but think that the added energy and spirit in the building had something to do with what happened on the court, as the Hawkeyes jumped out to a 30-10 lead on the Badgers on Saturday night. Wisconsin hit just three of their first 19 shots from the field, digging themselves a hole that was simply too big to climb out of.
This was an enormous win for an Iowa team looking to change the direction of their program. Fran McCaffery has as much talent on the roster as the Hawkeyes have seen in a decade, and after a couple of close calls, they finally notched a win over one of the Big Ten’s elite. Aaron White led the way with 17 points and seven boards, hitting the final two free throws to seal a 70-66 win.
The outcome throws a wrench into an already-complicated Big Ten race. Wisconsin entered as the league’s last undefeated team, having knocked off Indiana in Assembly Hall on Tuesday and whooped up on Illinois in the Kohl Center last Saturday. They were playing their best basketball of the season and looked like a serious contender for the Big Ten title.
Until they rolled in Carver-Hawkeye Arena as Iowa honored a fallen member of their program.
You don’t have to be one of our more spiritual readers to see how much Saturday night’s performance resembled the move “The 6th Man”. The only difference? Chris Street was probably a better player than Kadeem Hardison.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.