Just last week I announced my belief that Iowa would sneak into the field of 68. Now I’m changing my mind … what happened?
For starters, the Hawkeyes did not do themselves any favors. Last Sunday, Iowa dropped a close one to Nebraska. Yes, that Nebraska. The one who I originally had pegged as a 6-seed and then began the nosedive of all nosedives.
The Nebraska who was 5-14 in the B10 and could barely manage a winning overall record despite loading their early-season schedule with cupcakes like Mississippi Valley and Southeastern Louisiana.
That is the Nebraska that the Hawkeyes just lost to. The more context we understand about this game, the more embarrassing the loss becomes. Think about it, the Huskers had nothing to play for on Sunday. Absolutely nothing.
Nebraska was not at home so they weren’t trying to show out for the fans. They could not jump anyone in the B10 standings so they were not playing for tournament seeding. Give HC Tim Miles some credit, because he got his boys riled up enough to beat a team that actually had something to play for. Scratch that … Iowa had everything to play for.
Your season is on the line and you’re at home on senior night against a bottomfeeder. Advantageous spot to be in, right? Sorry Iowa, but if you cannot win this game you do not deserve to play in the NCAA tournament.
Thanks to a strong start, Iowa’s 4-game losing streak to end the regular season only slid them down to the 6-seed in the B10 tournament. Receiving a first-round bye, Iowa “only” needs to win four times to punch their ticket to the dance.
For a team that just lost four in a row, doing a complete 180 and then winning 4 straight against the conference’s best is likely out of the question. I was so confident just last week that Iowa would git-r-done. That Nebraska loss sucked the belief right out of me.
No Seed of Hope – Iowa is Not Cinderella Material
It’s funny that I can use the term “Cinderella” to refer to a team I once predicted to finish top-3 in the conference, but that is what the Hawkeyes truly are entering the B10 tournament. The program says they’re the 6-seed but they are playing like a cellar-dweller as of late.
Normally, when we put faith in a weaker team it is because they possess a potential knockout punch. Teams that shoot a lot of 3s are a prime candidate to upset a powerhouse. If they get hot for 40 minutes, they might make something special happen.
Teams who routinely play unique styles of defense (zones, traps, presses) are also popular upset picks as they can catch teams underprepared or off guard.
The reason I do not have faith in Iowa to make a miracle run through the B10 tourney is because they lack the knockout punch that we typically look for in an underdog.
Admittedly, their offense is pretty decent. The Hawkeyes score 77 points per game and rank 33rd in the nation in offensive efficiency. This sounds like the first ingredient in a winning recipe until you realize that Iowa ranks 228th in ppg allowed (74) and ranks 203rd in defensive efficiency.
I would label the Hawkeyes’ offense as consistent, but not explosive. They do not shoot enough 3s or make a high enough percentage of their shots from the field to increase their odds of pulling an upset. Iowa ranks 154th in 3s attempted per game this year (22.6) and 89th in field goal percentage (45.6%).
A horrendous defense paired with an offense struggling to find an identity. After supporting the Hawkeyes originally, I now see this mess for what it truly is … a mess. Iowa is coming unglued at the seams and they picked the exact wrong time to do it.
I’ll be staying away from Iowa this March. See you on top, boppers!
Kreighton loves sports, math, writing, and winning — he combines all of them as a writer for WagerBop. His favorite sports to review and bet are MLB, NFL, NBA, NCAAF, and NCAABB.