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Iowa Basketball Tournament Tuesdays: Final Regular Season Week

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It’s the final week of the regular season and the Hawkeyes simply need to win.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Iowa
Luka Garza and the Hawkeyes are set for the home stretch.
Jeffrey Becker-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.


We’re into the final week of the regular season and the Iowa Hawkeyes are playing for seeding at this point. That is, seeding in the Big Ten Tournament as well as the NCAA Tournament. There are scenarios out there where Iowa can finish anywhere from first in the Big Ten to eighth.

The one constant is Iowa needs to continue winning. Win out and there remains an outside shot at the first regular season title in more than 40 years. The door to a top-4 seed in the NCAA Tournament opens. The possibility of a run to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament becomes much more real with a higher seed.

Iowa has been trending in that direction. The win over Penn State last weekend improved Iowa a seed line in ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s bracketology, as well as the consensus on Bracket Matrix. Now, with just two games remaining here’s your weekly breakdown of Iowa’s NCAA Tournament chances.

Current Status

Current Record: 20-9, 11-7 - 6th in Big Ten
AP Rank: 18 (18 last week)
Coaches Rank: 18 (17)
KenPom: 21 (22)
Sagarin: 19 (21)
NET: 29 (27)

Last 5:
L - @ Indiana (54, Q1)
W - @ Minnesota (46, Q1)
W - Ohio State (16, Q1)
L - @ Michigan State (7, Q1)
W - Penn State (26, Q1)

Resume

Image via WarrenNolan.com

Quadrant One Record: 8-7
Wins: Maryland, Ohio State, Texas Tech (N), Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin, @Minnesota, @Syracuse
Losses: San Diego State (N), @Michigan State, @Maryland, , @Michigan, Penn State (N), @Purdue, @Indiana

Quadrant Two Record: 5-0
Wins: Rutgers, Illinois, Minnesota, Cincinnati (N), @Iowa State
Losses: None

Quadrant Three Record: 3-2
Wins: Oral Roberts, North Florida, @Northwestern
Losses: DePaul, @Nebraska

Quadrant Four Record: 4-0
Wins: Nebraska, Cal Poly, SIU Edwardsville, Kennessaw State
Losses: None

Remaining Schedule

Tuesday, March 3rd: Purdue (35, Q2)
Sunday, March 8th: @Illinois (36, Q1)

Quadrant 1 Games Remaining: @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: Purdue
Losses: @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: 6-0
Projected Quad 3 Record: 3-2
Projected Quad 4 Record: 4-0

Projected Big Ten Finish: 6th

Consensus NCAA Tournament Seed Projection: 5

You can click the above links to see the sources for these projections.

Rooting Interests

Teams to Win: Iowa, Rutgers, Syracuse, DePaul, Cincinnati, Oral Roberts, North Florida, Texas A&M, Tennessee, California, Stanford, Virginia

With just one week left in the regular season, Iowa has two primary goals on the table:

  1. Put themselves in the best position for a Big Ten Tournament run.
  2. Put themselves in the best position for a Sweet Sixteen run.

Both of those are benefited tremendously from Iowa winning these last two games. Illinois is a quad 1 win for the tournament resume and Purdue would be a quad 2 loss. More importantly, as was pointed out yesterday, there is still a mildly reasonable scenario in which Iowa can win a share of the Big Ten regular season title and the #1 seed in the BTT.

For that scenario to play out, Iowa needs Maryland to lose to Rutgers and Michigan this week and Michigan State to fall to both Penn State and Ohio State. They also would need Indiana to beat Wisconsin (assuming Northwestern has no shot) and surprisingly, Illinois to win at Ohio State to get a tiebreaker win over Wisconsin.

Edit: Upon further investigation, if Michigan State loses to Penn State, the game with Ohio State does not matter for Iowa’s chances at a title.

So we’re rooting for Rutgers, Penn State, Michigan and Indiana, as well as Illinois over Ohio State.

Outside the Big Ten, Iowa could always use some help on the seed line for the NCAA Tournament in their quest to get to the second weekend. Currently projected as a 5 seed, Iowa is bunched in with the likes of Penn State, Ohio State and BYU. We’ve already laid out how we’re rooting in the Big Ten and that would likely mean Penn State stays slightly ahead of Iowa, but Ohio State would wind up behind the Hawkeyes, so we’ll stick with that logic.

That’s in part because Michigan State is projected as a four seed. With losses to both Penn State and Ohio State, the Spartans would likely fall below Iowa.

Michigan State is joined on the 4 line by Oregon, Auburn and Louisville. Unfortunately, those three have a combined five games this week and they don’t exactly play murderer’s row. In any event, we’re rooting for Texas A&M and Tennessee over Auburn, Cal and a Stanford over Oregon and Virginia over Louisville.

Other teams to note are Syracuse, DePaul, Cincinnati, Oral Roberts and North Florida. The last two moved up to Q3, but just barely. DePaul has dropped to Q3, giving Iowa two bad losses on the year, but could climb back to Q2 with a couple wins. Cincinnati is right on the cusp of being another Q1 win, as is Rutgers (who we are already rooting for). Syracuse, on the other hand, is dangerously close to falling to a Q2 win.

Teams to Lose: Maryland, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Louisville, Oregon, Auburn, BYU, Richmond, Washington, Oregon State, Fresno State, Clemson, Akron

We’ve already laid out the primary competition for seeding at this point so most of these are obvious by now. Iowa needs Maryland and Michigan State to lose out and Wisconsin to lose at least one game for BTT seeding. They also need Louisville, Oregon and Auburn to lose as they’re currently projected on the seed line just ahead of Iowa. And BYU is the only non-Big Ten team currently projected as a 5 seed. So we’re rooting for Ls across the board there.

But another way Iowa can get some help is from those teams taking hits to their already established resumes. Just as the Hawkeyes are hoping teams like Oral Roberts and North Florida can win to bolster the resume, we should be hoping for some of those borderline teams on the resumes of Oregon, Auburn, etc. to take some losses.

For Louisville, that includes Clemson, who is right on the boarder for dropping to a Q2 loss and dropping to a Q3 win (recall the difference between home and road). Similarly, Akron is a loss away from falling to a Q3 win. The Cardinals already have nearly half their schedule in Q3-4, dropping more games to the bottom half would help Iowa’s case for a better seed given they top-heavy nature of their own resume.

Oregon has more balance to their resume, but they too have some risks. Oregon State is one loss away from falling to a Q2 loss and a Q3 win. Washington is similarly one loss from falling to a Q2 win. Auburn has fewer opportunities to lose good wins or add bad losses without playing games. However, Richmond is a loss away from falling to a Q2 win.