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Iowa Basketball NCAA Tournament Rooting Interests: Thursday March 5

There are some tough choices to make with your rooting heart tonight.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Ohio State
The Bucckeyes may hurt Iowa in the short term, but knocking off Illinois would help Iowa in the long term.
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Wednesday night was a bit of a mixed bag for Iowa fans in their quest for the best NCAA Tournament seed possible. On the one hand, Texas A&M went into Auburn and got a win over the #17 Tigers on their senior night. For Iowa fans, that should serve as some evidence that there isn’t something structurally wrong with the Hawkeyes based on their collapse against Purdue.

Outside of A&M, Indiana also found a W over Minnesota, who is doing their best to get Pitino fired. That would be a shame as you’d really hate to see the Gophers be competent. Despite the win, Indiana is still sitting at 54 in the NET. They’ll need to win at home over Wisconsin this weekend to get into that top-50 range to be a Q1 win for opponents in the Big Ten Tournament next week. Elsewhere St. John’s and Northwestern both failed to get the upset over Butler and Wisconsin.

Tonight, there are again several games worth paying attention to both inside the Big Ten and elsewhere.

Matchup: Nebraska (7-22) at #25 Michigan (24-5)
Tip Time: 5:30pm CT
Rooting For: Nebraska (sigh)

This one won’t have any impact on Iowa’s Big Ten Tournament seed, but the loss to Purdue dropped Iowa to the 6 line on Bracket Matrix. They’re joined there by Michigan. A home loss to Nebraska would give Iowa some breathing room.

Matchup: #23 Illinois (20-9) at #19 Ohio State (20-9)
Tip Time: 6pm CT
Rooting For: Ohio State

This is one where there’s no right answer. Ohio State is currently projected on the 5 line, one spot above Iowa. So an Illinois win would technically help Iowa in NCAA Tournament seeding. But an Illinois win would also eliminate Iowa from the double bye discussion for the Big Ten Tournament. That would likely hurt Iowa’s chances at a run and a better NCAA Tournament seed. Ohio State winning here probably helps Iowa more than Illinois does in the grand scheme of things.

Matchup: #21 Houston (22-7) at UConn (17-12)
Tip Time: 6pm CT
Rooting For: UConn

Houston is currently projected as a 7 seed. As mentioned, that’s just behind Iowa. A loss for them in this one helps Iowa.

Matchup: Lipscomb (15-16) at North Florida (21-11)
Tip Time: 6pm CT
Rooting For: North Florida

We’ve touched on North Florida basically every week in our resume rundown, but the Ospreys are currently tied for the lead in the Atlantic Sun and are just barely sitting in Q4 on Iowa’s resume. A win won’t likely help them much, but a loss would crush any hopes of them climbing to Q3.

Matchup: Stanford (20-9) at Oregon State (15-13)
Tip Time: 8pm CT
TV: Pac-12 Network
Rooting For: Stanford

This one seems counter-intuitive with Stanford having a better record than Iowa. However, the Cardinal project as an 11 seed with little threat of jumping the Hawkeyes. Oregon State, on the other hand, is currently 72nd in the NET rankings and sitting as a Q1 win for Colorado, who is projected as a 6 seed alongside Iowa. Another loss for the Beavers could take another Q1 win away from Colorado and help Iowa’s seeding.

And that’s it for Thursday, March 5th. Check back tomorrow and every day through Selection Sunday.