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Men's Basketball Blog: On the Road in Northern Iowa
Courtesy: Denver Athletics  
Release: 02/23/2013

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - It's been five years since the Pioneers traveled to Northern Iowa. In fact, that game in 2008 was the first ever for Brian StaffordTravis HallamTyler Thalken and Justin Coughlin, who all graduated last season.

The following year, DU once again opened the season against the Panthers, when Chase Hallam played his first college game at Magness Arena.

Tonight's BracketBuster, which will be shown live on both and ESPN Full Court, has gotten even better than when it was first announced on Feb. 4.

In February, Denver is 5-0 with three of those wins coming on the road, and the Panthers have won all six games they've played, including victories over No. 13 Wichita State and Missouri Valley leader Creighton.

According to ESPN's College Basketball Power Index (BPI), which attempts to pick who should make the NCAA Tournament (see description here), UNI is ranked No. 57 and DU is No. 61.

Statistically, these teams are very similar:

                           DU       UNI

Points Per Game 64.2      66.2

FG%                    .479      .446

FG Defense%       .427      .422

3pt FG%              .367      .367

3pt FG Def.%       .314      .336

Free Throw%       .734      .767

Rebounds            25.2      31.6

Turnovers           11.5      12.3

Steals                  9.1        6.2

Blocks                 4.2        2.6

The bottom line is this should be a great game.

About Northern Iowa - The Iowa State Normal School was founded in 1876 primarily as a school to train teachers, and eventually it was renamed Northern Iowa University.

The school has about 13,000 students, of which about 92 percent are from the state of Iowa.

Probably the most well-known story from this area is that of former UNI quarterback Kurt Warner, who famously became a grocery store bagger at the Cedar Falls Hy-Vee after being cut by the Green Bay Packers before going on to win Super Bowl MVP with the St. Louis Rams.

The author of The Bridges of Madison County, Robert James Waller, is a Northern Iowa alum, and so is Entertainment Tonight co-host Mark Steines went to UNI on a football scholarship.

San Jose State Revisited - Loyal blog reader (and University of New Orleans media guru) Jason Plotkin pointed out that we omitted two of San Jose State's most notable alumni.

Forty-five years ago this year, SJSU track and field alums Tommie Smithand John Carlos won gold and bronze, respectively, in the 200-meters at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. Smith, in fact, shattered the world record in the process.

However, what happened next would prove to be one of the most memorable moments in Olympic history. On the medal stand, Smith and Carlos each bowed his head and held up a single black-gloved fist in protest.

According to Smith's website, "As the Star Spangled Banner echoed in the wind, at the Mexico City Summer Olympic Games, Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on the victory podium, draped with their Olympic medals, each raised a clinched fist, covered in a black leather glove in a historic stand for human rights, liberation and solidarity.  This courageous, unexpected worldwide event propelled Tommie Smith into the spotlight as a human rights spokesman, activist, and symbol of African American pride at home and abroad.  Cheered by some, jeered by others, and ignored by many more, Tommie Smith made a commitment to dedicate his life, even at great personal risk, to champion the cause of oppressed people." 

In 2005, San Jose State unveiled a statue of Smith and Carlos that stands near the basketball arena.

Yearly travel totals:

Total Flights - 21

Total Mileage by Air - 17,348

Total Mileage by Bus - 2,420

Total Number of Hotels - 17

Total Number of Different Airlines - 6 (Southwest, United, Frontier, Alaska, American, Delta)

Total Number of Different Airports - 13

Total Number of Airline Delays - 5

Total Number of Cancelled Flights - 0

Total Number of Bags Lost - 2

As always, please feel free to send any questions or comments


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