Despite the Iowa Hawkeyes (19-13, 11-9) bowing out early in the Big Ten conference tournament, they still landed squarely in the field of 68 with an 8 seed in the Midwest bracket. They’ll play the Auburn Tigers (20-12, 10-8) in Birmingham, AL on Thursday with a time to be revealed later.
Like Iowa, the Tigers are looking to the tournament to rewrite the final month or so of their season. They started hot, at 16-3 & 6-1 in the SEC before finishing 4-9 in the final 13 games of their season. The storyline will be Iowa taking on Bruce Pearl who was entangled in a the Deon Thomas recruiting scandal while on Tom Davis’ staff at Iowa.
Secondarily, Auburn getting a virtual home game in the first round (or two) of the tournament while serving as a 9-seed is ... generous. It’s reminiscent of 2019 when Iowa faced Cincinnati 100 miles away in Columbus as part of the 7-10 game.
In the lead-up to the bracket reveal, Bracket Matrix slid Iowa down to a 9-seed. Of the 111 available brackets, one had Iowa at a 7 and another a 11 but all had the Hawks on theirs. Despite he loss in the conference tournament and the 2-4 close to the season did Iowa no favors on the seed-line, the Hawks were granted that 8-seed.
The winner of the Iowa-Auburn game will play the winner of the 1-seeded Houston Cougars & 16-seeded Northern Kentucky Norsemen.
We’ll have more on the Tigers in the coming days, but some quick hitters put them as the third highest 9-seed according to KenPom. The only overlapping opponent was Northwestern, where they beat them 43-42 in the championship game of their multi-team event.
Game times have been announced and Iowa will play at 5:50p on Thursday with March Madness’ A-team: Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery, Grant Hill, & Tracy Wolfson. It leads off Thursday’s evening slate on TNT so there’s no concern about a prior game affecting its start time.
Other relevant teams in Iowa’s bracket include:
3-seed Xavier Musketeers
4-seed Indiana Hoosiers
6-seed Iowa State Cyclones
10-seed Penn State Nittany Lions
12-seed Drake Bulldogs
Iowa is one of eight Big Ten teams, with Rutgers being among the first four out. They’re sorted below:
- 1-seed Purdue Boilermakers v Texas Southern/Farleigh-Dickinson
- 7-seed Michigan State v Southern California Trojans
- 7-seed Northwestern Wildcats v Boise State Broncos
- 9-seed Illinois Fighting Illini v Arkansas Razorbacks
- 4-seed Indiana v Kent State Golden Flashes
- 8-seed Iowa v Auburn
- 10-seed Penn State v Texas A&M Aggies
Post has been updated to scrub information held over from prior draft & add Big Ten information