Lessons Learned…Hopefully?

Wichita "shocks" UNI, but the Panthers are still in a good spot. (Courtesy of Fernando Salazar of the Wichita Eagle)

Tuesday night wasn’t a good night for plenty of reasons.  But, in hindsight, it may help those who seemed to hit that road bump last night.

UNI got ambushed at Wichita State, falling 60-51.  It’s not a bad loss.  Yes, UNI fell behind, but Wichita has surprised a few critics so far this year after two lean years under Gregg Marshall.  UNI is going to be okay.  The Missouri Valley is a “black-and-blue” conference.  They beat each other up and the team that gets through with the less bruises and cuts, will win the MVC.

On Saturday, Iowa State snapped their long road losing streak by beating Nebraska.  Last night, Lucca Staiger decided to pull the rug from under Greg McDermott and the team by quitting the team to return to Germany and play for a pro team.  The timing could not have come at the worst time, as ISU has started Big 12 play.

Cyclones fans are pulled in different directions on who to blame.  The majority blame Lucca for pulling up stakes and leaving, some are blaming McDermott for the large number of players leaving the team, but here’s another angle that seems to be forgotten in all of this.  This was the second time that Lucca was offered an opportunity to play pro ball back home in Germany.  I guess Deutschland couldn’t wait until the end of this season before asking Lucca.

Auf Wiedersehn Lucca.  Deutschland is happy to have your back home.  (Photo courtesy of the Des Moines Register)
Auf Wiedersehen, Lucca. The Motherland calls you home. (Photo courtesy of the Des Moines Register)

It’s too bad that when Iowa State takes one step forward in establishing themselves and gain confidence (win over Nebraska and a valiant effort in the loss vs. Texas), they end up taking 4 steps backwards with situations like this (Lucca, Chris Colvin being suspended, etc).

Let me go off tangent here with a discussion that Keith Murphy and Andy Fales had on their show “Murph and Andy” (2pm-4pm M-F, KXNO-AM 1460) about McDermott “not keeping his word” regarding keeping Colvin suspended until February, win or lose.  When mitigating circumstances occurs, in the case of Staiger bolting, the coach has every right to rescind that suspension and make Colvin eligible to dress and probably play.   McDermott does not have to “promise” to keep his word.  He’s down to 7 scholarship players and no depth on the bench whatsoever.

The only person McDermott answers to and ask for advice, if needed, is AD Jamie Pollard.  The fans’ reaction are what they are:  reactions.  I have no problem with Colvin dressing, as long as he understands that he needs to “check” himself before he has a temper tantrum and walk out of a team meeting next time.

Besides that, this is gut check time for this team.  You can blame McDermott for this team being underachievers, but it comes down to the players.  They choose to come to Ames and play for McDermott.  For them not to fully grasp the style of play that Mac runs is a weak excuse.  Either they run it the way they have been coached, or they don’t win.  That’s the lesson this team needs to learn now or the natives will get restless fast.

Martha Stewart thinks Martha Coakley is an amateur. (Courtesy of AP)

If you thought I wasn’t going to talk about the big national headline from Tuesday night, you would sadly mistaken.  Don’t blame Massachusetts for voting for Scott Brown.  Don’t blame Massachusetts for being stupid and going Republican.  Massachusetts doesn’t deserve the scorn or any punishment for electing Scott Brown.

It was Martha Coakley’s fault that Martha Coakley lost.  Good ol’ Martha committed the ultimate sin in Politics 101:  don’t piss off, alienate, and take your voting constituents for granted.  Similar to the business world, the customer is “always right” even when they’re wrong.  Coakley did what former Iowa Congressman Jim Ross Lightfoot did in ’98 when he ran for governor:  they erroneously assumed they won the election, before the election ever took place.

By the way, this election wasn’t about maintaining the “super majority” for the Democrats, or the typical mid-election backlash against the majority party in office, or about the healthcare bill.  Those are minor factors and pales in comparison to a simple rule:  don’t bite the hand that feeds you.  Read the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe about all of the stupid mistakes Coakley made, which opened up the backdoor for Scott Brown to quietly walk in and earn an one-way ticket to filling the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat.

Calling Curt Schilling a “Yankee fan” and the joke backfired, going “John Kerry” by going on vacation, blowing off potential voters in meet and greets, and being arrogant, is what did her in.  The late Ted Kennedy thinks what she did was an insult to the voters.

Kennedy busted his ass in every campaign and never took it for granted.  That, in itself, made him one of the most respected politicians in U.S. history.

Memo to the Democrats:  just because you lost the “super majority” and the ability to manblock any GOP filibuster, that doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world.  It means that you’re going to have to work a hell of lot harder to convince your fellow colleagues, regardless of party affiliation, to support your bills, including the HCR.  Having a 59-41 vote is still more than enough.  You’re just going to have to find a way to snuff that filibuster the old fashioned way.

From a nobody to a somebody, unless you pose for Cosmo. (Courtesy of MassLive.com)

Republicans, I know you’re happy about capturing a Senate seat in Massachusetts for the first time since Edward Brooke (1967-1979), and you’re geeked up about putting a monkey wrench in the HCR crusade, but you still has some drama to sort out on your end of the aisle.  For anyone who hasn’t paid attention since last summer, the Republicans are in a midst of a civil war within the party, between the common-sense moderates and the ultra-conservative (Bible beating) right-wingers.  The moderates are fighting back and hopefully with Brown, this puts a dent in the far right’s agenda.

UNI will learn from losing to Wichita.  ISU, you hope they can move on from Lucca bailing out.  Martha Coakley, I hope you learn that voters are not stupid and gullible.  Even long-time Kennedy Democrats were not down with Martha’s act.

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