As March Madness quickly approaches, we’ll be taking a look at Iowa’s resume each week. We’ll explore their accomplishments to-date, but also look at how they’re projected to finish and what that might mean for their tournament seeding.
As always, if there are things you like or don’t, something you’d like to see added, etc. let us know in the comments.
Just as we saw a week ago, the Iowa Hawkeyes went 1-1 last week. Both games were road trips and both were quad one games. As disappointing as the Indiana loss was, getting an ugly win at Minnesota despite being without CJ Fredrick was a major accomplishment.
Heading into the final five games of the season, Iowa is now in third place in the Big Ten. They’re projected as a six seed in the NCAA Tournament and are set to kick off a home stint where they get three of their next four in Carver-Hawkeye. Iowa will have tough tests as they host #25 Ohio State and #9 Penn State in that stint. They'll also have road trips to Michigan State, who is projected as a 5 seed this week, and Illinois, who fell from the national polls after a loss at Rutgers. The only quad two game on the schedule is a March 3rd revenge battle with Purdue.
As we count down the final games of the year, here’s your weekly breakdown of Iowa’s NCAA Tournament chances.
W - Illinois (34, Q2)
L - @ Purdue (33, Q1)
W - Nebraska (175, Q4)
L - @ Indiana (63, Q1)
W - @ Minnesota (44, Q1)
Quadrant One Record: 7-6
Wins: Maryland, Texas Tech (N), Michigan, Rutgers, @Minnesota, @Syracuse, @Iowa State
Losses: San Diego State (N), @Maryland, Penn State (N), @Purdue, @Michigan, @Indiana
Quadrant Two Record: 4-1
Wins: Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Cincinnati (N)
Quadrant Three Record: 2-1
Wins: Oral Roberts, @ Northwestern
Losses: @ Nebraska
Quadrant Four Record: 5-0
Wins: Nebraska, North Florida, Cal Poly, SIU Edwardsville, Kennessaw State
Thursday, February 20th: Ohio State (18, Q1)
Tuesday, February 25th: @Michigan State (12, Q1)
Saturday, February 29th: Penn State (17, Q1)
Tuesday, March 3rd: Purdue (33, Q2)
Sunday, March 8th: @Illinois (34, Q1)
Quadrant 1 Games Remaining: Ohio State, @Michigan State, Penn State, @Illinois
Quadrant 2 Games Remaining: Purdue
Quadrant 3 Games Remaining: None
Quadrant 4 Games Remaining: None
KenPom Projected Record: 21-10, 12-8*
Wins: Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue
Losses: @Michigan State, @Illinois
*Note: This is the calculated record based on projected results the rest of the way. KenPom’s stated projected record for Iowa is 21-10, 12-8.
** Denotes a change from last week.
Projected Quad 1 Record: 9-8
Projected Quad 2 Record: 5-1
Projected Quad 3 Record: 2-1
Projected Quad 4 Record: 5-0
Projected Big Ten Finish: 6th*
You can click the above links to see the sources for these projections.
* This site uses Sagarin projections to determine a projected finish. Sagarin projects Iowa to lose to Penn State while KenPom projects them to win. A win vs. Penn State would jump Iowa to the 3 seed all else equal.
Teams to Win: Iowa State, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, DePaul, Northwestern, Nebraska, North Florida, Rutgers, Iowa
With just five games left in the regular season, Iowa finds themselves on solid footing, but still in need of some help for tournament seeding. Iowa State is in the danger zone for dropping from quadrant 1 to quad 2. In isolation that isn’t terrible. But Iowa has two other would-be quad 1 wins that are just 1 NET ranking spot on the outside. The Hawkeyes could use wins from Wisconsin and Cincinnati to add a pair of quad 1 wins without doing any work, and need Iowa State to limp along and stay above 75th nationally.
The same can be said for DePaul, who Iowa just needs to keep from falling further. Northwestern and Nebraska, on the other hand, are almost within reach of climbing up a quadrant if they could manage a couple wins. It seems unlikely, but Northwestern almost pulled off the upset at Maryland last week so you never know.
North Florida is another one close to jumping out of quadrant 4. The Ospreys are in first place in the Atlantic Sun conference and have a big time matchup at Liberty (who’s a half game out of first) on Thursday night on ESPN+. A win there would likely vault UNF into quad 3.
The other team Iowa could use some help from us Rutgers. While the Scarlet Knights are tied with Iowa at 9-6 in the conference, Iowa will hold the tiebreaker over them given the head-to-head win. But Rutgers has matchups with both Penn State and Maryland on the horizon - the two teams ahead of Iowa in the conference standings. While Rutgers running the table could be a problem for Iowa’s seeding in the Big Ten Tournament, if they could get some big wins over the Nittany Lions and Terrapins, Iowa still holds an outside shot at their first outright Big Ten title in a generation.
And that leaves the most important team to root for. Iowa needs to get some wins down the home stretch. With three home games and two on the road, the difference in one game can make a major difference. As it stands, Sagarin projects Iowa to finish 4th in the conference if they can win all their home games and only lose at Michigan State and Illinois. But lose at home to anyone (Sagarin projects a loss to Penn State) and they fall to 6th. That’s the difference between a double bye and a potential showdown with both Michigan schools just to get to the semifinals.
Teams to Lose: Penn State, Maryland, Michigan State, Ohio State, Butler, Colorado, Kentucky, Marquette, Arizona
Most of these are pretty obvious. Penn State and Maryland are stop the conference standings and both sitting in the top-10 nationally. The Nittany Lions have the easier schedule down the stretch, but Maryland’s win at Michigan State clearly has them back in the driver’s seat.
Speaking of Michigan State, they now have the same conference record as Iowa. However, with the only meeting between the two teams coming at the Breslin Center, the Hawkeyes could use some help to ensure they don’t fall behind the Spartans.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten, while Ohio State isn’t challenging Iowa for conference seeding, Bracket Matrix has them on the same seed line as the Hawkeyes. A home win Thursday should provide breathing room, but Ohio State losses in all sports are good.
Butler, Auburn and Kentucky, along with the aforementioned Michigan State Spartans, all come in as 5 seeds according to Bracket Matrix. That’s one better than Iowa and losses by all of them should be welcome. Marquette and Arizona, along with the previously discussed Ohio State Buckeyes, share the 6 line with Iowa, though only the Buckeyes are listed below Iowa. Losses for anyone not in black and gold are good.