With just one week to go until ¡Domingo Selección!, BHGP will provide a daily rundown of potential bracket scenarios, straight from the mouths of the nation's preeminent bracketologists. Note: These brackets have not been approved by the FDA, and are provided on a trial basis only.
CURRENT STATUS: STILL A BORDERLINE SIX
Joe Lunardi, ESPN: 7 seed, Omaha, vs. Virginia Commonwealth
Jerry Palm, CBS: 6 seed, Omaha vs. Boise State
Chris Dobbertean, SB Nation: 7 seed, Omaha vs. Ole Miss
Stewart Mandel, Fox Sports: 6 seed, Jacksonville vs. Colorado State/Temple winner
Bracket Matrix: Top 7 seed
So far this week, there hasn't been anything to directly change Iowa's NCAA future. The few major-conference tournament games have been between teams that are on the bubble at best. If anything, Texas' win against Texas Tech Thursday night might make Iowa's November loss to the Longhorns look 0.00000000000003% better. NC State, which is projected below Iowa by just about everyone, beat Pitt and gets Duke Thursday night as a potential launching pad.
That all changes Thursday, with the true start of major conference tournament season. Of course, it's the beginning of the postseason for Iowa itself, and the result of Thursday's game against Penn State could dictate whether the Hawkeyes are a borderline 6 or borderline 9 (two wins in the Big Ten tournament should take Iowa off the 8/9 lines altogether).
To make the rest of it easier, here is a list of the teams with borderline comparable resumes to Iowa entering their conference tournaments, and when they next play:
SMU (Friday vs. UCF/ECU winner)
Cincinnati (Friday vs. USF/UConn winner)
NC State (Thursday @ 6:00 vs. Duke)
VCU (Thursday @ 1:30 vs. Fordham)
Dayton (Friday vs. St. Bonaventure/St. Joe's winner)
Oklahoma State (Thursday @ 8:00 vs. Oklahoma)
Providence (Thursday @ 1:30 vs. St. John's)
St. John's (Thursday @ 1:30 vs. Providence)
Georgetown (Thursday @ 6:00 vs. Creighton)
Butler (Thursday @ 8:30 vs. Xavier)
Xavier (Thursday @ 8:30 vs. Butler)
Ohio State (Thursday @ 7:30 vs. Minnesota)
Michigan State (Friday vs. OSU/Minnesota winner)
San Diego State (Thursday @ 8:00 vs. UNLV)
Colorado State (Thursday @ 10:30 vs. Fresno State)
Utah (Thursday @ 10:30 vs. Stanford)
Oregon (Thursday @ 8:00 vs. Colorado)
Arkansas (Friday vs. Tennessee/Vandy winner)
LSU (Friday vs. Auburn/Texas A&M winner)
We've been saying all week that the most important tournament for Iowa -- other than the one it actually plays in -- is probably the Big East. With five teams in close proximity to the Hawkeyes, and at most three progressing to Friday's semifinals, the Big East could do more to sort out Iowa's seeding than any other conference tournament. Find Fox Sports 1 on your TV. It will be worth watching.
Aside from the Big Ten and Big East, the most likely chance of an improvement for Iowa is probably in the Mountain West. San Diego State is currently projected even with Iowa; the Aztecs are third among the seven seeds at Bracket Matrix. But they get UNLV Thursday, a team which is (1) showing some signs of late life, and (2) playing in their home gym.
By this time tomorrow, we could know a lot more about where Iowa is headed next week. Let March truly begin.