Weekend Homework: 'Fun' for Iowa

Here’s hoping someone fits Fran McCaffery with a straitjacket on Sunday afternoon.

The Iowa Hawkeyes might need it.

Fresh off his one-game suspension following a wild outburst during Iowa’s game against Wisconsin, McCaffery returns to the sideline for the Hawkeyes' game against Ohio State.

The Buckeyes are the sort of team that could make the Pope blow a gasket. Tough as nails on defense and spurred on by the pesky gnat that is Aaron Craft, Ohio State lives to confound, to frustrate and in the eyes of opponents, no doubt, to foul.

So this should be fun.

There is more, however, than just the potential for sideline entertainment to make this game a good one.

Under McCaffery, Iowa has painstakingly rebuilt itself into a Big Ten contender. The Hawkeyes have a terrific up-tempo offense that likes to score in transition and plenty of players who can hurt an opponent.

But the old cliché has a point -- to be the best, you have to beat the best. In their corner-turning season a year ago, the Hawkeyes went 9-9 in the league, but seven of those losses came against the conference’s heavy hitters -- Michigan, Michigan State (twice), Indiana (twice), Ohio State and Wisconsin.

Iowa, even better than it was last season, has a good record but no eye-catching wins. It looked good for a while at the Kohl Center but then the Badgers stormed back, McCaffery lost his mind and Wisconsin moved along for the win.

Of course, the same could be said for Ohio State -- and has been frequently. The constant refrain from the Buckeyes' critics is that they haven’t beaten anyone. It has some merit. Aside from Marquette, which was ranked when the Buckeyes went there but hasn’t been close since, Ohio State has played one Top 25 team: Michigan State.

The Spartans knocked the Buckeyes from the list of unbeatens earlier this week. The glass half-full posse will say that Ohio State’s comeback to force overtime showed just how good it is; the angry mob will point out that OSU still didn’t win.

Now along comes Iowa, a team that will try to force tempo, outscore and exhaust coach Thad Matta's typically thin bench while Ohio State counters with crippling defense.

Should be fun.

Well, maybe not for Fran McCaffery.