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Bring on the Cats! (Again)

At least someone's excited about playing Northwestern again.
At least someone's excited about playing Northwestern again.
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

There's one game remaining in the Big Ten regular season -- Nebraska hosting Wisconsin tonight -- but that game no longer has any impact on Iowa's seed in the Big Ten Tournament this week in Indianapolis.  (That went out the door when Iowa got bushwhacked by Illinois last night, sadly.)  No, all of the BIg Ten Tournament seeds are set in place now, aside from #4 or #5 (which will be Nebraska or Ohio State in some order, depending on the results of tonight's game).  So we know that Iowa will be the #6 seed in the Big Ten Tournament (again) and that they will play the #11 seed Northwestern in the first round (again) and that they will play the #3 seed Michigan State (again) if they get by jNW.

Party like it's 2013 all over again!

Iowa plays Northwestern at 8 PM Central time on Thursday.  ESPN2 has TV coverage of the game. If they win, the game against Michigan State will be at 8 PM Central time on Friday.  BTN has TV coverage of that game.

Iowa swept the season series against Northwestern this year, blasting them 93-67 in Iowa City and 76-50 in Evanston. Both those games were in January, though, when Iowa in general was playing much better than they are now.  Of course, Northwestern is one of the few teams to end the regular season as badly (or worse) than Iowa; they lost seven in a row before beating also-slumping Purdue earlier today in their finale.  That includes a game against Penn State last week when they scored a whopping 32 points.  (For the game.  The entire game.)  So, no, Iowa doesn't enter the Big Ten Tournament with a great deal of momentum... but neither does the team they're playing.  Northwestern is also dealing with some injury issues which are further depleting the depth of their team (JerShon Cobb is out for the year).

If Iowa beats Northwestern and plays Michigan State, it will mark the fourth consecutive season that Iowa has played Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament.  They've lost all three previous games; maybe the fourth time will be the charm?  Regardless, hopefully the four-day break between last night's loss to Illinois and the Thursday night clash with Northwestern will be enough to enable Iowa to pull things together after their slide at the end of the regular season.