Is This Heaven? will provide an update on Iowa’s NCAA Tournament bracket projections each day leading up to Selection Sunday.
On February 16, just about a month ago, the Iowa men’s basketball team won its fourth consecutive game and found itself sitting pretty with a 20-5 record, including a 9-5 Big Ten mark. At the time, the Hawkeyes were being projected anywhere from a five-seed to a seven-seed in the NCAA Tournament and seemed to have the tough portion of their conference schedule behind them.
Then the last month happened.
Iowa finished the regular season 1-5, freefalling out of the polls and sabotaging their resumé for the Big Dance. While most outlets still consider them a lock to make the tournament, their stock has fallen significantly. Here’s a look at where the experts now project Iowa to land:
Joe Lunardi, ESPN: #9, South region vs. VCU
Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: #7, South region vs. Seton Hall
Howie Schwab, FOX Sports: #9, South region vs. Syracuse
USA Today Sports: #9, East region vs. Oklahoma
Bleacher Report: #9, West region vs. Oklahoma
Obviously, the consensus is Iowa will end up on the dreaded 8/9 line when all is said and done, meaning a likely matchup with one of the top four teams in the tournament should the Hawkeyes win their first-round game. The Bracket Matrix, which aggregates rankings from over 100 different projections, currently rates Iowa as the final eight-seed in the field. That’s a far cry from the potential 5/12 matchup they dreamed of just a month ago, but that’s the position into which they’ve played themselves.. The good news is they can still improve their seeding with a nice run in the conference tournament, starting Thursday against Illinois. The bad news is they have not provided any recent evidence to think they can make a nice run in the conference tournament.