The Iowa Hawkeyes have been idle for over a week now after that miserable loss at home to Indiana last Thursday night. The drought will come to an end on Friday evening as the Hawkeyes travel to Champaign to take on the Illinois Fighting Illini. But, with no games over the last week, there’s been little for bracketologists and prognosticators to add to their equations. Thus, Iowa is largely unchanged in most metrics from a week ago.
However, other teams have not been idle and this time of year every game has some impact on every other team in the country. So, here’s our weekly rundown of where things stand for Iowa.
While things looked to be falling completely off a cliff after Thursday’s debacle, the Hawkeyes have managed to hold up relatively well across the board this week. That’s due in part to losses from a number of other highly ranked teams, as well as the strong body of work Iowa has put together to-date.
For that body of work, the advanced metrics continue to have Iowa among the top teams in the country and worthy of a 1 seed. The NET isn’t far behind while the AP appears to have preferred Iowa just schedule a game against a Conference USA opponent instead of losing to Gonzaga on a neutral site.
Here’s your weekly look at how things stand in the various rankings.
For those unfamiliar, the nitty gritty report is one of the components utilized by the selection committee come Selection Sunday. It provides an in depth breakdown of a team’s resume according to the NCAA’s NET rankings. Here’s a look at Iowa’s nitty gritty report as presented by WarrenNolan.com.
While Iowa’s NET ranking remains solid at 5th in the nation, the nitty gritty report took a bit of a hit this week. Northwestern has fallen in the NET this week dropping them from a Q1 road win down into Q2 and from a Q2 home win into Q3. Wins against Purdue and Minnesota both remain in Q2 with no upward benefits from a week ago. And North Carolina Central is back down to Q4.
As it stands today, Iowa has 7 more games on the schedule against Q1 opponents. That starts on Friday night with a trip to Illinois. Three of Iowa’s next four games will be Q1 showdowns.
As we saw last week, Iowa dropped from a consensus 1 seed on Bracket Matrix down to a 2 seed. Nothing has changed on that front this week with no games for the Hawkeyes. The same holds true for ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. While he didn’t move them off the 2 line, he did change their quadrant in his latest bracket.
At first glance, there’s nothing to scare Hawkeye fans there until the Elite Eight. A 2-15 matchup shouldn’t be scary for any 2 seed, but getting Florida or Drake in the second round would be one of the better Round of 32 matchups Iowa’s had in some time. From there, Iowa already pounded 6 seed Purdue and Virginia seems about as manageable as you could hope for a 3 seed. Then it’s Gonzaga and another neutral site court where Iowa fans just hope they don’t have the kind of shooting night they did in the first matchup (or against Indiana), but frankly that kind of night would drop Iowa against just about anyone they might face beyond the first round.
A couple other observations this week:
- Alabama is everyone’s new darling as they entered the top-10 nationally and find themselves on the 2 line in most brackets. Their resume includes losses to Clemson and Stanford on a neutral floor and a home loss to Western Kentucky.
- Michigan is officially getting the Villanova treatment it would seem. Don’t be surprised if they don’t move at all in the polls or brackets until they come back from break at the earliest.
- Drake is America’s Cinderella and is currently a 10 seed by Lunardi. Put their resume next to Kansas and let me know why they’re 6 spots lower. I’ll hang up and listen.
As noted the Hawkeyes are in Champaign tonight. We’re rooting for them.
Outside of that, Minnesota and Purdue are facing off on Saturday. Either outcome is a benefit to Iowa as the winner likely jumps back into Q1. Neither team is likely to push Iowa in the conference standings unless the wheels fall off in Iowa City.
Northwestern is the other Big Ten team Iowa fans are still hoping can get it together. They play host to Rutgers on Sunday and a win could help bolster Iowa’s resume.
Outside the Big Ten, the weekend has several games featuring teams currently seeded just above or right around Iowa that could pick up losses. On Saturday, #9 Alabama is at #24 Oklahoma, #3 Villanova is at Seton Hall, #2 Baylor hosts Auburn, #8 Virginia is at #20 Virginia Tech and #5 Texas is at Kentucky. Then on Sunday, #6 Houston is hosting SMU.
To pair with rooting interests, we’ll continue to have updates on all the games to watch each Friday through the end of the season that will highlight upcoming games featuring some of the above teams, as well as others.