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Iowa State 61, UC Davis 58

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You're kidding me, right? UC Davis didn't just suck last year, they sucked hard. Sagarin of 312. Seven wins against D1 competition and the worst team in the Big West in 2007-08. 

Tonight was supposed to be the first game of McDermott's real coaching tenure. He's got nearly all of his own guys. And if this is the start, it looks bad. The Aggies simply outhustled Iowa State.

There were a number of things that disappointed me:

Play without Craig Brackins: Brackins gets two early fouls, and UC Davis takes over. Our offense becomes inept, especially with any lineup with Alex Thompson and Jamie Vanderbeken, as both guys think they are guards. We miss Jiri Hubalek and Rahshon Clark quite a bit, apparently, because the offense shut down without him. Not that it was overly functional with him.

Rebounding: Yes, Vanderbeken finished with 10 boards, but the Cyclones were constantly outhustled by the smaller guys from UC Davis. No sign of boxing out many times.

Free throw shooting: Thank God they figured it out in the clutch, because otherwise UC Davis wins this game.

End of game management: We came back in the final seconds, but why foul with Sean Haluska, one of our best shooters? It would have seemed to have been an ideal place for Cam Lee, since he's supposed to be one of our best defenders (with fouls to give). Haluska is a good defender too, but I'd prefer to be able to use him to shoot a 3 if need be.

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There were a few positive signs. As much as I cringe at Jamie Vanderbeken hovering around the arc (and yes, I know that's why he was brought in), He did finish with 14 and 10. Wes Eikmeier came up with a couple of big steals and a couple of big threes, and is likely positioning himself for more playing time.

Still, we've got a team struggling mightily to defend its home court against the cellar dwellers of a low-major conference.