The Iowa Hawkeyes took home a blowout win on Thursday nigh, trouncing a reeling Nebraska team at home. The win makes it two in a row for Iowa and six of their last seven. The one chink in the armor was the blowout loss at Michigan a week ago.
Now, as we come into the final weekend of the regular season, Iowa has just one game remaining and the final shuffling in NCAA Tournament seeding will ensue. Here’s our final look at the brackets in the regular season.
A slew of losses among the nation’s top teams last week created quite a bit of shuffling around since our last look at the brackets. As a result of those losses, all of which were worse than Iowa’s loss at #3 Michigan, the Hawkeyes jumped back into the top-5 in the AP last week. That ranking has now converged with the advance metrics and the NCAA’s NET.
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.
Since we looked at the team sheet last Friday, Iowa has picked up their best win of the season at NET #8 Ohio State. They also got the win on Thursday night over Nebraska, which does little for the resume. Also of note, however, is the fall of Minnesota. The Gophers have been struggling down the stretch and have now fallen to 78th in the NET. That places them as a Q2 loss, making it 2 of those for Iowa. That will be something to watch as we get into the Big Ten Tournament as something that could be a differentiator come seeding time.
If you haven’t already, you can take a look at just how tight things are among the current projected 1 and 2 seeds in our blind resume comparison.
A week ago, the Hawkeyes seemed to be punished for their loss at Michigan. That seemed a bit strange given Ohio State held steady as a 1 seed after losing at home to the Wolverines and even held their spot in the national rankings, but was explained at least in part by the fashion in which the Hawkeyes were dismantled by Michigan.
This week, Iowa climbs back to the 2 line in virtually every bracket that’s been released. That includes on the consensus bracket over at Bracket Matrix. What has been interesting to see is West Virginia, which jumped the Hawkeyes a week ago, now fall to the 3 line on some of the bigger name brackets, including at ESPN. They remain a 2 on the consensus bracket, but that will be an interesting one to watch.
Some other key changes from a week ago:
- Ohio State is off the 1 line after losing three straight. They fall to the 2 line along with Iowa as they await a showdown with Illinois on Saturday.
- The Illini, fresh off their domination of Michigan, climbed off the 2 line to swap with Ohio State and claim that final 1 seed.
- Purdue has continue to climb and now finds themselves on the 4 line, making them the only non-Big 12 team on that line as they join Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma.
- The latest iteration features 9 Big Ten teams in total as Michigan State has joined the party as one of the last 4 in.
It’s worth noting the typical cadence of updating brackets on Tuesday and Friday has shifted and we’re now down to daily updates so keep hitting that refresh button throughout the weekend.
As we enter the final weekend of the regular season, the biggest key to Iowa’s seeding is going to be taking care of business on senior day against Wisconsin. A win on Sunday and a strong showing in the Big Ten Tournament will put the Hawkeyes in position to have the 2 seed as their floor. Getting to the 1 line is going to take some help, but is doable given Iowa would likely need to face off with current 1 seed Illinois to make any sort of Big Ten Tournament run.
The Hawkeyes could get some help in that regard as Illinois travels to Ohio State on Saturday. If Ohio State comes away with a win, that could help Iowa in their quest for a 1 seed. That is assuming Iowa beats Wisconsin. If the Hawkeyes drop their season finale and Ohio State wins, the Hawkeyes could fall in the Big Ten Tournament seeding.
Outside the Big Ten, Baylor plays host to Texas Tech on Sunday. The Bears held off West Virginia earlier this week and are likely locked into a 1 seed, but they have struggled since coming off a COVID-19 pause. A loss in their season finale followed by an early exit in the Big 12 Tournament could leave the door open for Iowa to become the third 1 seed out of the Big Ten if they were to run the table in the Big Ten Tournament.
The other teams to be rooting against are those also sitting on the 2 line above (Alabama and Houston), as well as West Virginia, which appears to be the top-rated 3 seed following their loss to Baylor.
We’ll dive into specific games to watch over the weekend that involve the above teams in our weekend watch guide.