With the NCAA Tournament quickly approaching, the Iowa Hawkeyes are in the enviable position of not worrying about the bubble. Instead, Iowa is firmly on the right side of the bubble and simply playing for seeding at this point. As the days tick off of the calendar, we’ll be providing daily updates on games around the country which impact Iowa’s seeding for the Big Ten and NCAA Tournament with some guidance on who to root for and against.
Several of Iowa’s rooting interests were rewarded on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, the Hawkeyes failed to hold up their end of the bargain and any potential ground gained was more than lost as Iowa dropped a home game to Purdue. The loss ended any hope for a seed line improvement this week and closed the door on a Big Ten Tournament seed higher than 4th, only hours after Michigan State slammed the door on their hopes for the top seed.
Running down the list from yesterday, Rutgers held up their end of the bargain against Maryland, but that no longer matters for Iowa fans with the Penn State loss. Syracuse and Cincinnati both picked up wins that will be helpful come seeding time. Syracuse moved up 4 spots in the NET and now seems safely in Q1. Cincinnati moved up to 51st, just one spot shy of moving from Q2 to Q1.
DePaul also inched out a win over Marquette. They still need some work to get out of Q3, but it’s a start and it also hurts a Marquette team that was projected as a 7 seed entering the night. Speaking of the competition losing, Tennessee took down Kentucky in Lexington. Iowa isn’t a threat to touch the 4 line anymore, but Kentucky losing is always a good thing. And finally, Richmond took down Davidson in a game that helps keep Auburn ahead of the Hawkeyes.
Oh, and Iowa State lost again, of course.
Tonight, there are several games which have some ancillary impact on Iowa’s potential seeding. But honestly, after the loss last night the only thing that matters is getting a win at Illinois and not stumbling early in the Big Ten Tournament.
Matchup: Texas A&M (14-14) at #17 Auburn (24-5)
Tip Time: 6pm CT
Rooting For: Texas A&M
As mentioned, Iowa likely isn’t climbing to the 4 line thanks to the loss last night, but Auburn is sitting there currently. Misery loves company so keep those in front of us losing.
Matchup: Minnesota (13-15) at Indiana (18-11)
Tip Time: 6pm CT
Rooting For: Indiana
This one does nothing for Iowa’s seeding in either the BTT or NCAA Tournament in the immediate term. However, Indiana is one of only three Big Ten teams that would not currently be a Q1 win in the BTT. If they can get a couple wins (including over Wisconsin this weekend) they should be able to climb the 4 spots to get into the top 50 of the NET and provide another opportunity for a Q1 win if Iowa gets matched up with them in the BTT.
Matchup: St. John’s (15-14) at Butler (20-9)
Tip Time: 6pm CT
Rooting For: St. John’s
Butler is currently one seed line below Iowa. That’s before Iowa inevitably falls. A Butler loss could help Iowa hold some ground for the NCAA Tournament.
Matchup: Northwestern (7-21) at Wisconsin (19-10)
Tip Time: 8pm CT
Rooting For: Northwestern
Wisconsin, despite not actually being good at basketball and playing one of the weakest schedules in the conference, is sitting in a position to potentially win the league. Not only that, they are projected one seed line below Iowa pre-Purdue meltdown (2.0). Northwestern isn’t pulling this one off, but then again, neither was Purdue.
And that’s it for Wednesday, March 4th. Check back tomorrow and every day through Selection Sunday.