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Unusual territory

Saturday's loss to Purdue assured Iowa of something that has been 107 years in the making. The Hawkeyes will finish with at least 10 losses in conference play in back-to-back seasons for the first time in the program's history. That's not necessarily something to celebrate, but it does illustrate the reality of the situation for a program that has finished over .500 against its conference peers on just three occasions in the past 10 years. Why? There isn't any one reason, just like there will not be any one solution. Some of it has to do with talent. As injury issues have illustrated this season, Iowa's depth is not where it needs to be to successfully compete at the Big Ten level. That speaks to recruiting, an issue that predates Todd Lickliter's arrival in Iowa City. Gambles taken by the previous staff have not put Iowa in a position to compete today. Some of it has to do with facilities. Iowa cannot break ground on new practice and weight training facilities fast enough. Think of it in these terms. If the first spade of dirt is turned late this summer as planned, Matt Gatens will be a senior when the Hawkeyes first have a place to work out and develop skills and strength when Carver-Hawkeye is being used for other activities. With no game on the schedule this week and a number of players dealing with nagging injuries, Todd Lickliter gave his team Monday off. In reality, he didn't have much of a choice unless he wanted to move his team's workout to a rec facility across town. Iowa's arena was hosting a women's gymnastics meet Monday night. Those areas alone do not equate to the losses that Iowa has recorded, but they do illustrate the challenges that any coach would face as the head of Iowa program right now.

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