Iowa advanced to Friday at the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2013, defeating Illinois by an 83-62 score on Thursday night. The win didn’t necessarily cause a huge shift in the Hawkeyes’ NCAA Tournament projections, but it was enough to bump them up slightly in the eyes of a couple experts. Here’s a look at where they currently stand:
Joe Lunardi, ESPN: #8, South region vs. Syracuse
Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: #7, South region vs. Temple
Howie Schwab, FOX Sports: #9, South region vs. Syracuse
USA Today: #8, West region vs. Syracuse
Bleacher Report: #9, West region vs. Oklahoma
With Lunardi and USA Today both bumping Iowa up to the eight line, you have to wonder if a win against Michigan would be enough for the Hawkeyes to jump up one more spot in order to avoid an 8/9 game. According to the Bracket Matrix, an Iowa win alone probably doesn’t accomplish that, as their four projected seven-seeds all rank above the Hawkeyes by a fairly significant aggregate margin. Louisville, the final seven-seed, held fairly strong in most projections following their loss to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament Thursday night, though another Iowa win or two could change that.
In terms of scoreboard watching, losses by Iowa State and Cincinnati may stand to benefit the Hawkeyes. In the Big 12 Tournament, Iowa State takes on Kansas State, the conference’s top seed, meaning a close loss probably doesn’t move the meter a whole lot. Iowa fans will want to root for a blowout Kansas State win there—tough, I know. Cincinnati, the two-seed in the AAC, provides more opportunity for movement, meeting 10th-seeded SMU in the conference quarterfinals. A loss to a .500 team could certainly hurt Cincinnati’s resumé enough to drop them down a line.
Keep in mind that any further upward movement is dependent on an Iowa win over Michigan Friday night in Chicago. If the Hawkeyes bow out to the Wolverines, it’s likely the eight or nine line for Iowa come Selection Sunday.
Top photo: David Banks/USA Today Sports