With college football officially in the rearview mirror, Iowa Hawkeye fans can fully devote their collegiate attention to basketball for the next several months. While that obviously means tuning in to all of Iowa’s games, it also means being aware of other games going on around the country. This is, after all, an Iowa team with its sights set on winning not just a Big Ten Championship, but also a National Championship.
So, each week until Selection Sunday, we’ll be highlighting games to watch every weekend with a tie in to our Hawkeye rooting interests.
Here’s what to watch in week 13 of the college basketball season.
The Iowa Hawkeyes enter the weekend on a three-game winning streak thanks to back-to-back wins at Michigan State and Wisconsin this week. Now they return home to take on Penn State on Sunday. But before we get to Sunday, there are some big matchups on Saturday worth exploring.
Here’s a look at all the games with implications for the Hawkeyes this weekend, including who to root for.
Friday night features no Big Ten or top-25 matchups.
There are a number of super compelling matchups on Saturday, but few of those are in the Big Ten. Michigan State is at Indiana at 11am on ESPN in a game that really only impacts Iowa in that Indiana could potentially climb back into Q1 if they can string together some wins down the stretch.
Then at 2:30, FS1 has #5 Illinois at Minnesota. Hawkeye fans could really use a Gopher win here if they have any hope of making a run at at a Big Ten title. Things wrap up in the Big Ten with Purdue at Nebraska. The Boilermakers could fall out of Q1 with a loss to Nebraska, but they have also quietly put themselves in a spot to jump Iowa in the Big Ten standings down the stretch if Iowa doesn’t take care of business. Go Huskers?
Outside the Big Ten, there are a number of games that could impact Iowa’s NCAA Tournament seed. At noon, FOX has UConn at #10 Villanova. Hawkeye fans are on the Huskies and Nova is currently a 2 seed in most projections. At 1pm CT, ESPN has #15 Texas Tech at #23 Kansas. We’re on the Jayhawks here given Red Raiders are hovering around Iowa in the seedings and the Hawkeyes have some potential losses upcoming.
At 2pm CT, ABC has #13 West Virginia at #12 Texas. Both of those teams are in the same neighborhood as Iowa, but West Virginia is currently a bit higher as a 3 seed in the consensus bracket on BracketMatrix so we’ll be rooting for the Longhorns. Then in the evening, we’re going to suck up our pride and root for Duke. The Blue Devils host #7 Virginia at 7pm on ESPN. The Cavs are just ahead of Iowa in the consensus bracket.
Sunday is again a pretty light day for college hoops. There are four matchups featuring top-25 teams, including Iowa’s matchup with Penn State. You can catch that at 4pm CT on FS1.
The key matchup of the day and really the weekend will feature #3 Michigan at #4 Ohio State. That’s on CBS and as wild as it sounds, Hawkeye fans should likely be rooting for Michigan in this one. We’ll dive deeper into all the scenarios next week, but Iowa still has an outside shot at a Big Ten title and the most realistic way to get there or even climb highest in the Big Ten standings involves Ohio State dropping this one.
The other Big Ten matchup on Sunday features #21 Wisconsin at Northwestern. There isn’t a huge implication here, but a loss to the Wildcats could push Wisconsin well down the NET rankings. The road win isn’t in jeopardy of falling out of Q1, but Iowa closes the season with a home matchup against the Badgers that could be Q2 if Wisconsin drops some stinkers.
And finally, outside the Big Ten you have #6 Houston hosting Cincinnati. The Cougars should win this one easily, but after a bad loss to Wichita State on Thursday night, anything could happen. That loss dropped Houston below the Hawkeyes in Lunardi’s bracket and may well do so for the NCAA.