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Iowa’s McCaffery: ‘I’ve turned programs in’ for cheating

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There aren’t a lot of unwritten rules in basketball. One of them, though, is that if a coach breaks a real rule, other coaches don’t speak up. Coaches would seemingly rather lose out on a recruit or transfer rather than turning in one of their own for suspected malfeasance.

Not for Fran McCaffery, though.

The Iowa coach was asked Monday about the FBI investigation into corruption into college hoops, and freely volunteered that he has previously turned other programs in for violations – and that he’ll do it again, if need be.

“I’ve turned programs in and I’ll continue to do that when I know that there’s something going on,” McCaffery said at the program’s media day, according to the Des Moines Register. “But a lot of times you don’t know what’s going on. So can you police yourselves? Only if you know something’s going on. But even then it’s hard for the NCAA to do something.”

Turning in another program for violations is really one of the biggest taboos in the coaching profession. That’s why you get coaches look silly in blocking schools for transfers when tampering is suspected, rather than a coach just reporting tampering.

McCaffery’s tactic, while probably frowned upon by many of his colleagues, is probably the best weapon the NCAA has in combating cheating. If coaches make it clear they won’t tolerate cheating – or that if it occurs, it won’t go unremarked upon – that will go along way in changing a culture and system that the FBI is going to potentially uncover with its wide-ranging investigation that already has resulted in 10 people’s arrest and a Hall of Fame coach’s firing.

“Any time the game is cleaned up,” McCaffery said, “it’s better for all of us.”

Fran McCaffery’s son, a four-star prospect, commits to Iowa

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Iowa coach Fran McCaffery didn’t even need to leave his living room to get his latest commitment.

McCaffery’s son Patrick, a consensus top-50 recruit in the Class of 2019, made joining his father’s program official Thursday, committing to the Hawkeyes.

“it may come as a big surprise,” Patrick wrote on social media, “but i have decided to commit to play for my father at the University of Iowa!! Go hawks”

Patrick becomes the second McCaffery boy to commit to Fran’s program. Connor joined Iowa this year as a freshman, though he’ll redshirt this season while playing baseball for the Hawkeyes.

Patrick is a 6-foot-7 combo forward with range, athleticism and skill. He’s no simple legacy recruit as he’s a potential major-impact player, ranked as high as 30th overall in his class by both Rivals and ESPN.

Beyond that, Patrick McCaffery’s path to high-level recruit has been inspiring. He was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in March of 2014, and had surgery to remove a malignant tumor before being declared cancer-free in June of that year. He, playing alongside his brother, averaged 13.8 points per game as a sophomore last year for his state champion Iowa City West team.

After win at Iowa, what’s to be made of No. 25 Maryland?

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Maryland, after an 84-76 win at Iowa, now stands at 5-1 in the Big Ten. The Terps are the only team in the league with five conference wins and are tied with Wisconsin in the loss column atop the Big Ten.

Is it time to start taking them seriously as Big Ten title contenders?

It just might be, less so for who Maryland is proving to be but, in part, for how the schedule lays out for the Terps.

The resume right now isn’t overly impressive, other than sheer volume of wins at 16. There’s the loss at home to Nebraska for one thing, but they haven’t been overly convincing in a win since their opener against Illinois.

Many of their issues were on display against the Hawkeyes, a team that has lodged a number of good wins but still shows loads of inconsistency with a roster heavily dependent upon freshmen. Maryland led by 15 in the first half and held a double-digit lead well into the second half. Then, as carelessness set in, it was gone with just over 6 minutes to play and the Terps trailed with as little as 3 minutes left.

Turnovers were nearly the Terps’ undoing. They committed 21 of them that led to 30 points for the Hawkeyes, who are hardly known for turning opponents over. Maryland, though, has consistently failed to take care of the ball with a turnover rate hovering around 20 percent.

What saved them against Iowa was, what (or who) else, than Melo Trimble. One of the game’s most clutch players, Trimble hit back-to-back 3s after Maryland fell behind to turn a three-point disadvantage into a three-point lead that the Terps wouldn’t hand back to a feisty Iowa squad. Trimble finished with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists.

So, 21 turnovers and a blown lead salvaged only by Trimble’s heroics doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in a team with as many question marks as Maryland, even if it came on the road.

The Terps, though, do keep winning and while close games do invite luck and chance into the equation, Trimble’s presence and Maryland’s track record suggests it may be able to survive the variance.

Then you’ve got to look at that schedule. They’ve got Rutgers at home before a tricky Minnesota-Ohio State road trip. Then of the Big Ten teams currently with two losses or less, Maryland gets Purdue and Michigan State at home and has just one game apiece against Wisconsin and Northwestern, though both are away from College Park.

So while it may be hard to fully buy in to Maryland given its so-so offense and unremarkable defense, the Terps have made it nearly to the end of January with just two losses and have a manageable road ahead.

That’s something that has to be taken into account, just like Maryland in the Big Ten.

Iowa’s second-leading scorer fractures finger

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Iowa freshman Tyler Cook will miss the next three weeks after suffering a fractured finger.

He underwent surgery on the finger on Tuesday.

“After discussions with Tyler and the medical staff, it was determined that surgery was the best treatment for Tyler in terms of proper healing and recovery time,” said McCaffery. “We expect Tyler to make a full recovery and look forward to him rejoining his teammates on the court soon.”

Cook was averaging 13.7 points and 5.3 boards this season. He started the first six games of his college career.

Peter Jok will return to Iowa for senior season

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Iowa received some big news on Friday as junior guard Peter Jok will return for his senior year, the school confirmed.

The 6-foot-5 Jok was an effective No. 2 scorer for the Hawkeyes last season and is capable of being an All-Big Ten player as a senior because he’ll be asked to be a go-to scorer. As a junior, Jok averaged 16.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game as he shot 40 percent from three-point range and 85 percent from the free-throw line.

With Jarrod Uthoff exhausting his eligibility, Jok will be asked to take over next season and he could be the type of player to average 20 points per game. Jok only averaged 27.7 minutes per game last season, so he could be in line for a big season if he can get to the free-throw line a lot and play some more minutes overall.

 

NEW PODCAST: Court storms, Iowa’s teams and why the Pac-12 is underrated

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It’s Friday, which means that it’s time for another edition of the NBC Sports College Basketball Talk Podcast. Today we discuss No. 4 Iowa State’s comeback win over Iowa, the state of those two teams in the aftermath and also touch on court-storming and whether or not measures should be taken to curtail it.

Also discussed on the podcast are our thoughts on the Pac-12 ahead of a big weekend for the conference, and some games we’re looking forward to this weekend. As always, thanks for listening.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by clicking on this link. And we’re now on Stitcher as well, so if that’s your app of choice you can subscribe here.

Or if you simply want to listen within this page, just click the play button below.