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Iowa coach shoots down talk of issue with Terps' basketballs


Iowa coach shoots down talk of issue with Terps' basketballs

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery shot down talk that the Under Armour basketballs used during his team's loss to Maryland on Thursday had anything to do with his team's performance in the game, quotes from a Friday teleconference that were transcribed by

McCaffery's comments about adjusting to playing with an unfamiliar brand of equipment are in line with what his players said immediately after Thursday's game. Asked about the basketballs by the Des Moines Register, junior Peter Jok said that the brand Maryland uses felt "different" and that there "was complaining about the ball" but then flatly denied that it had any impact on the final score.

From McCaffery on Friday:

“We practiced with an Under Armour ball for three days before we went down there,” he said, via AllHawkeyes. “So there is absolutely no excuse for any shots that we missed. That was a function of Maryland’s defense.”

The original article from the Des Moines Register was far from accusatory. It presented Jok's comments along with his thoughts on any effect it had on the game, then did the same with comments from point guard Mike Gesell. This CSN story built on that with context.

If anything, the underlying story has nothing to do with Maryland-Iowa or its outcome.

It is the continuing conversation about variations in feel among different brands of basketballs. Without uniformity, there are instances where teams could theoretically have to adjust to two different brands of balls during two different stops on a regular-season road trip, then return home and use a different brand all together. It happens.


But that conversation has evolved to a point where McCaffery feels the need to push back harder than the team initially did on any sort of notion that the basketballs influenced the game -- even if that was not the basis of the question in the first place. So that is what the coach did, taking aim at the question itself.

“I don’t know why anybody would ask about the ball. That’s idiotic,” McCaffery said. “You can’t ask the players about the ball and then criticize their answer, which is what happened. Nobody made any excuses. It’s a different ball. But it’s the world we live in."

Chad Leistikow of the Des Moines Register, who wrote the original story, responded via Twitter.

It is not the first time that Under Armour basketballs have been mentioned after a game. The context is much different than how the issue was communicated by Iowa Thursday night, but in 2013, North Carolina State's Scott Wood mentioned the balls after a loss to Maryland. 

The inference taken from Jok affirming that there "was complaining about the ball" does not have to be that the Hawkeyes are crying that they were wronged. That is the notion that McCaffery is pushing back against today.

It can (and should) be about the lack of uniformity in this small but important aspect of the game. In Friday's comments, McCaffery even made reference to the fact that he does not think it will change because of how entrenched programs are when it comes to individual contracts.

Read more from here.

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Maryland wastes their best change become bowl eligible in loss to Indiana


Maryland wastes their best change become bowl eligible in loss to Indiana

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.  -- Indiana Hoosiers coach Tom Allen changed tactics this week.

Instead of focusing on one game, he took the big-picture approach and his players responded.

Stevie Scott's late, long run set up Logan Justus for a 42-yard go-ahead field goal with 2:32 to play and Nile Sykes recovered a fumble in the final minute to preserve Indiana's 34-32 come-from-behind to keep Indiana in the postseason discussion.

"I didn't want to talk about going to bowl games, but I just said, `You know what, forget all that, I'm talking about bowl games' because they're big," Allen said. "I'm going to call these guys out on it and say that's what we're playing for."

After a slow start, the Hoosiers (5-5, 2-5 Big Ten) rebounded with three touchdowns in less than 4 minutes in the first half then closed with a flurry to snap a four-game skid. They need one more victory to become bowl-eligible.

At least they still have a chance and largely because they got contributions from each phase.

Scott carried 19 times for 103 yards and one touchdown. Peyton Ramsey went 16 of 28 with 243 yards, two TD passes and one interception and also made two shifty moves on a 35-yard scoring run in the first half.

The defense held Maryland (5-5, 3-4) to field goals on its first two trips into the red zone and forced four turnovers, including the sealing strip-sack of backup quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome.

Justus made all four extra points and two field goals, something Maryland could not. A missed extra point and a failed 2-point conversion with 4:54 left took crucial points off the board for Maryland, spoiling Anthony McFarland's career-best day. He ran 29 times for 210 yards in relief of the injured Ty Johnson.

With the loss for Maryland, their bowl hopes have taken a significant hit.

All the team needs is one more win to extend their season by a game and make the postseason. Their remaining two games are against Top 25 opponents Ohio State and Penn State. 

Maryland's lone Top 25 win this season was in the opening week against Texas. 

"This isn't the last game of the season," interim coach Matt Canada said. "Oh my gosh we wanted to win, we certainly could have."

It sure wasn't easy for the Hoosiers , either, even after they took a 31-15 lead midway through the third quarter.

Maryland charged back after Javon Leake returned a kickoff 47 yards to the Indiana 27-yard line. Two plays later, Leake scooted right and sprinted 27 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. Pigrome's 2-point conversion pass to McFarland made it 31-23.

The Terrapins closed to 31-26 on a field goal early in the fourth and retook the lead when Pigrome hooked up with Jeshaun Jones on a 15-yard TD pass.

But when Tayon Fleet-Davis' run was stopped short of the goal line, Indiana took advantage.

Following a 23-yard kickoff return to the Indiana 40, Scott broke free down the right side of the field and went out of bounds at the Maryland 33. Four plays later, Justus made the decisive field goal.

"It was amazing," Justus said. "I was kind of just spacing out, I was really excited."

NBC Sports Washington's Tyler Byrum contributed to this story. 


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Maryland football lands commitment from Mike Tomlin's son

USA Today Sports

Maryland football lands commitment from Mike Tomlin's son

Dino Tomlin, the son of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, announced on Twitter Tuesday he has committed to play for the Maryland football team. 

A three-star wide receiver, Tomlin becomes the first Terps commit since D.J. Durkin's firing. He is known for his speed, running a 4.52-second 40-yard dash and is the defending Pennsylvania state champion in the 300m hurdles. 

"I felt it was the right place for me to develop," Tomlin told 24/7 Sports. "Get to see good competition. Close to family. Get to play schools that passed on me," Tomlin said.

There is a family connection with Tomlin and Maryland as well: his uncle, Ed, played for the Terps.

As for the scandal surrounding Maryland football, Tomlin doesn't have too many concerns.

"I feel like they handled it appropriately at this point," he said. "I kind of knew I was going to commit a week or so ago. I just let it pan out."