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Iowa Basketball NCAA Tournament Rooting Interests: Sunday, March 8

It’s the last day of college basketball’s regular season. Here’s who to keep track of!

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-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.


In a busy day of college hoops, we had some games cut for and against the Hawkeyes’ interest.

Helped:

  • Northwestern over Penn State
  • Kentucky over Florida
  • Utah over Colorado
  • Washington over Arizona

All three of Penn State, Colorado, and Arizona had bad losses to teams well outside of the bubble. Only the Nittany Lions saw their NET drop from ahead of Iowa’s to behind, as they’re at 35 now. Kentucky’s win did little to affect Florida’s advanced stat profile since it was in line with the expected outcome. Both teams remained below Iowa according to KenPom and above Iowa in the NET.

Hurt:

  • Rutgers over Purdue
  • Wisconsin over Indiana
  • Auburn over Tennessee
  • West Virginia over Baylor
  • Virginia over Louisville
  • Butler over Xavier

Wisconsin, Auburn, and Butler were all able to solidify their resumes ahead of the Hawks according to Bracket Matrix. Virginias West and Standard were able to challenge Iowa’s from behind. Rutgers early win over Purdue left Iowa’s Big Ten Tournament floor at 8 before PSU’s loss limited it to a 6 seed.

Big Ten Tournament Possibilities

The math remains easy with an Iowa win: they get the 4 seed. Delightful.

A loss muddies it a bit, Iowa is largely looking at the 5 seed. It would mean taking on the winner of Northwestern/Minnesota before a third potential matchup with Illinois. The only way Iowa drops to a 6 is with a win for Ohio State. Indiana and Nebraska are locked into the 11 & 14, respectively.

Rooting Interests

Matchup: Michigan Wolverines (19-11, 11-8) at Maryland Terrapins (23-7, 13-6)
Tip: 11:00a CT
TV: FOX
Rooting for: Maryland

Michigan currently shares the 6-line with Iowa and a road win would solidify that spot. While a loss doesn’t necessarily affect where they sit, it would not pose the same challenge as a Wolverine squad coming off a win. Another reason to cheer for the Terps is detailed below.

Matchup: Ohio State Buckeyes (21-9, 11-8) at Michigan State Spartans (21-9, 13-6)
Tip: 3:30p CT
TV: CBS
Rooting for: Michigan State

Ohio State is currently resting on the 4/5 line in the Bracket Matrix and a win in East Lansing would solidify that standing. If paired with a Maryland loss, the Spartans would get the #1 seed in the conference tournament. That would make Iowa’s likely semifinal opponent MSU. While that still requires a win or two from the Hawks, I’d like to avoid MSU as long as possible.

Both of these B1G games are the first times these teams have played each other.

Other Conferences

Matchup: Memphis Tigers (21-9, 10-7) at Houston Cougars (22-8, 13-5)
Tip: 11:00a CT
TV: CBS
Rooting for: Memphis

Houston is sitting at the 7-line. A loss here weakens their case ahead of Iowa, especially since Memphis is on just 4 brackets.

Matchup: Tulsa Golden Hurricane (21-9, 13-4) at Wichita State Shockers (22-8, 10-7)
Tip: 3:00p CT
TV: CBS Sports Network
Rooting for: Tulsa

This one is a bit of 3D chess, but Wichita is currently sitting as one of the last 4-6 teams in as an 11 seed. A loss shifts them more off the bubble and reduces the Hawks chances of facing them in the first round. But maybe this is being overthinked.

Conference Tournaments

This is largely informative, as March Madness begins in earnest today!

Big South Championship: Hampton Pirates (15-18, 8-10) AT Winthrop Eagles (23-10, 15-3); ESPN @ 12:00p

Winthrop is far and away the best team in the conference according to KenPom but still well outside the field without a win here.

MVC Championship: Valparaiso Crusaders (19-15, 9-9) v. Bradley (22-11, 11-7); CBS @ 1:05p

UNI continues to wait.

Alantic Sun Championship: Liberty Flame (29-4, 13-3) v. Lipscomb Bisons (16-5, 9-7); ESPN @ 2:00p

A Lipscomb win puts Liberty squarely on the bubble.

Patriot League Semifinals: Bucknell AT Boston - CBSSN @ 11:00a; Lafayette AT Colgate - CBSSN @ 1:00p

Southern Conference Semifinals: Western Carolina v. East Tennessee St - 3:00p; Wofford v. Chattanooga - 5:30p

ETSU is very much in the same boat as Liberty. They have a tournament-worthy resume without the conference tourney win but are not guaranteed without it.

Summit League Semifinals: Nebraska Omaha v. Oral Roberts - 6:00p; North Dakota v. South Dakota - 8:30p

Oral Roberts is Iowa’s last hope in strengthening their out-of-conference resume

CAA Quarterfinals: Drexel v. Hofstra - 11:00a; Delaware v. Charleston - 1:30p; Elon v. William & Mary - 5:00p; Northeastern v. Towson - 7:30p


And that’s it for the last day in college hoops’ regular season! We’ll continue to have more next week as we gear up for Selection Sunday!