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Iowa Basketball Tournament Tuesday: Michigan State Week

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This week marks an inflection point for the Hawkeyes as they look toward NCAA Tournament seeding.

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Iowa
Can Luka Garza fuel Iowa to a high seed?
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

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.


The Hawkeyes have cemented their spot in the 2020 NCAA Tournament following a win over #25 Ohio State last Thursday evening. Iowa can finish no worse than .500 in the best conference in America and with 19 wins already locked up, they’ll be on the right side of the bubble regardless of what happens the rest of the way.

However, with a difficult schedule upcoming, it’s entirely possible Iowa plays their way to a much worse seed than the 6 line they are currently projected to be on according to consensus. With just four regular season games to go, here’s your weekly breakdown of Iowa’s NCAA Tournament chances.

Current Status

Current Record: 19-8, 10-6 - 2nd in Big Ten
AP Rank: 18 (20 last week)
Coaches Rank: 17 (20)
KenPom: 22 (21)
Sagarin: 21 (28)
NET: 27 (28)

Last 5:
L - @ Purdue (36, Q1)
W - Nebraska (186, Q4)
L - @ Indiana (52, Q1)
W - @ Minnesota (42, Q1)
W - Ohio State (19, Q1)

Resume

Image via WarrenNolan.com

Quadrant One Record: 7-6
Wins: Maryland, Texas Tech (N), Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, @Minnesota, @Syracuse
Losses: San Diego State (N), @Maryland, , @Michigan, Penn State (N), @Purdue, @Indiana

Quadrant Two Record: 5-1
Wins: Rutgers, Illinois, Minnesota, Cincinnati (N), @Iowa State
Losses: DePaul

Quadrant Three Record: 2-1
Wins: Oral Roberts, @Northwestern
Losses: @Nebraska

Quadrant Four Record: 5-0
Wins: North Florida, Nebraska, Cal Poly, SIU Edwardsville, Kennessaw State
Losses: None

Remaining Schedule

Tuesday, February 25th: @Michigan State (13, Q1)
Saturday, February 29th: Penn State (25, Q1)
Tuesday, March 3rd: Purdue (36, Q2)
Sunday, March 8th: @Illinois (35, Q1)

Quadrant 1 Games Remaining: @Michigan State, Penn State, @Illinois
Quadrant 2 Games Remaining: Purdue
Quadrant 3 Games Remaining: None
Quadrant 4 Games Remaining: None

Projected Finish

KenPom Projected Record: 21-10, 12-8*
Wins: 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: 8-8
Projected Quad 2 Record: 6-1
Projected Quad 3 Record: 2-1
Projected Quad 4 Record: 5-0

Projected Big Ten Finish: 5th*

Consensus NCAA Tournament Seed Projection: 6

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.

Rooting Interests

Teams to Win: Iowa, Rutgers, Cincinnati, North Florida, California, Stanford, Oklahoma

We’re into the final two weeks of the regular season and it’s crunch time for Iowa’s NCAA Tournament resume. The Hawkeyes are going to be in the tournament, but the question now is where they’ll be seeded. To climb from the current 6 seed projection, Iowa is going to need some help.

Obviously, continuing to win solves a ton of problems. As outlined earlier today, if the Hawkeyes win out they will finish no worse than 2nd in the Big Ten and have a real chance to win it. They do that and they’re looking at something like a 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

But winning out is going to be really difficult and other teams winning can only help. A big one there is Rutgers. If the Scarlet Knights can knock off Penn State on the road, that opens a lot of doors for Iowa to win the conference. They also host Maryland next Tuesday. Not only would wins help the Hawkeyes quest for a title, but a home loss would likely drop PSU a seed line, potentially putting them within striking distance for Iowa.

Outside the Big Ten, Iowa can get some help from teams like Cincinnati and North Florida. Both are on the fringe of jumping from Q2 and Q4 up into Q1 and Q3 respectively. That would help the resume tremendously, especially considering others like Iowa State and DePaul seem destined to continue their free fall down the NET rankings.

Beyond teams Iowa has played, the Hawkeyes should be rooting for some upcoming opponents for the teams sitting directly in front of them in the current seed projections. That includes the likes of Cal and Stanford, who take on Colorado in the next week, and Oklahoma, who plays a West Virginia squad who already lost to Texas this week.

Teams to Lose: Maryland, Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan, Colorado, West Virginia

Not a lot has changed here from last week. Iowa is still in contention for the Big Ten regular season title, but they will need some help. Even if the Hawkeyes win out, they need Maryland to drop some games. Two losses opens the door, three creates some serious opportunities.

Beyond Maryland, Iowa needs Penn State to drop a pair of games down the stretch. One of those needs to be in Iowa City this weekend. That would not only open the door for Iowa four a double bye in the Big Ten Tournament, but potentially flip Iowa and Penn State on the NCAA Tournament seed lines if the Nittany Lions drop another one.

Michigan State is an interesting case. A win by Iowa tonight really changes the dynamic down the stretch. It would put the Hawkeyes all alone in 2nd place in the conference and create a full game of separation between Iowa and Michigan State. That’s key in that the Hawkeyes need to rely on Michigan State to knock off Maryland and potentially Penn State down the road. Lose tonight, and Iowa needs Michigan State to lose their final game of the year to Ohio State, while still helping to take down Maryland and Penn State. The Spartans are even more precarious in that they sit one seed line ahead of Iowa currently. If you’re rooting for them to help you win the Big Ten, you need to beat them tonight to jump them in seeding.

Elsewhere, the aforementioned Colorado Buffaloes and West Virginia Mountaineers are just in front of Iowa for seeding as well. West Virginia already took an L this week, but the more the merrier. If both teams go down this week, Iowa could be looking at a 5 seed come next Monday.