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: SIX-ISH
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
The biggest news of the weekend for Iowa's NCAA placement might have been from Friend of the Pants Eamonn Brennan, who locked Iowa as a tournament team on ESPN's Bubble Watch even before the Hawkeyes had finished the regular season with a solid win over Northwestern. Iowa now enters the Big Ten tournament with nothing to lose and seeding to gain.
While Bracket Matrix includes some outliers, every site with any track record places Iowa on the six or seven line at the end of the regular season. Implicit in those that already have the Hawkeyes at a 6 is what should become apparent to those with them at a 7: The Big East tournament is about to cannibalize the 6 line. Lunardi has three Big East teams with six seeds: Butler, Georgetown and Providence. Dobbertean is slightly higher on Butler, giving the Bulldogs a 5 seed. But Providence faces a surging St. John's Thursday night, Butler takes on a desperate Xavier, and Georgetown will get no slouch in its quarterfinal, as well. It's highly likely that at least one of the Big East sixes is making an early exit this weekend -- and a mathematical certainty that at least one will lose in the semifinals -- which could free up a spot for Iowa, should it get to the Big Ten semifinals and make a strong showing against Wisconsin.
It does appear that a 6 seed would be the ceiling for Iowa, barring a miracle run through the Big Ten Tournament. Of the teams above that slot, only West Virginia looks vulnerable. Northern Iowa and Wichita State are already in the barn, with UNI holding the Missouri Valley Conference trophy. North Carolina and Louisville will likely face each other in the ACC quarterfinals, but neither should slip too far with a loss. Arkansas would drop considerably with an early exit from the SEC Tournament, but neither Vanderbilt nor Tennessee look capable of doing that. SMU could have trouble in the AAC semifinals, with super-bubble opponent Temple potentially needing a capstone win, but it's questionable whether the Mustangs are even ahead of Iowa at the moment; CBS and Fox Sports have already places Iowa ahead of SMU in their most recent brackets. And while West Virginia faces a beastly Big 12 bracket (Baylor, likely followed by Kansas, with Iowa State and Oklahoma waiting on the other side), the inevitable six-seeded Big East tournament finalist will be poised to take the Mountaineers' spot if they do slip.
WHAT TO WATCH: MONDAY
There isn't much that could significantly shake Iowa's standing for the next few days. Upsets in the mid-major tournaments could potentially change the picture for Big Ten bubble teams like Indiana, Illinois and Purdue, but Iowa isn't scheduled to face any of those until the quarterfinals.
Free from that burden, watch the West Coast Conference games, specifically Gonzaga vs. Pepperdine (8 p.m. ESPN). The Zags look destined for a 2 or 3 seed, and could be a possible second-round opponent for Iowa depending on the draw. BYU, which joins Temple among the perpetually bubbled and could well end up on an 11 line, plays the later game against Portland.