NCAA tournament projections: Iowa in or out?

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If Selection Sunday was held two days ago or even next week, there's no way Iowa would enter the round of 68. The Hawkeyes would be solidly out of the top-tier conversation and headed for another season of NIT basketball.

But the selections are made in mid-March. There's another month's worth of league play with which to judge the Hawkeyes, which matters in the context of picking the field.

Look at it this way: if the Big Ten schedule was played in reverse, would Iowa have a 4-7 Big Ten record? That's why every team's season needs context. Iowa's first 10 league opponents have a combined 63-47 Big Ten record. The Hawkeyes' final eight league opponents are 33-55. Only No. 1 Indiana (9-2) boasts a winning league record.

That said, it's going to take a tough climb for Iowa to reach the NCAA tournament. A 10-8 league record should do it, although 9-9 and a Big Ten tournament win could get it done, too. With an advantageous stretch run, starting at Penn State (0-11 Big Ten) Thursday, the Hawkeyes have a good shot at 9-9. That's why I'm forecasting Iowa to reach the NCAA tournament. Remember, it's not based on current status but projected outcome.

Here's how I think it plays out in mid-March:


  • 1. Indiana vs. 16. Norfolk State/Southern, Lexington, Ky., Thurs-Sat
  • 8. Virginia Commonwealth vs. 9. North Carolina State, Lexington, Ky., Thurs-Sat
  • 5. Marquette vs. 12. Bucknell, Salt Lake City, Utah, Thurs-Sat
  • 4. New Mexico vs. 13. Louisiana Tech, Salt Lake City, Utah, Thurs-Sat
  • 3. Butler vs. 14. Valparaiso, Dayton, Ohio, Fri-Sun
  • 6. Wisconsin vs. 11. Middle Tennessee State, Dayton, Ohio, Fri-Sun
  • 7. Oregon vs. 10. UNLV, San Jose, Calif., Thurs-Sat
  • 2. Miami vs. 15. Harvard, San Jose, Calif., Thurs-Sat


  • 1. Florida vs. 16. Florida Gulf Coast, Austin, Texas, Fri-Sun
  • 8. Illinois vs. 9. North Carolina, Austin, Texas, Fri-Sun
  • 5. Georgetown vs. 12. Colorado/Southern Miss winner, Kansas City, Mo., Fri-Sun
  • 4. Kansas State vs. 13. Belmont, Kansas City, Mo., Fri-Sun
  • 3. Michigan State vs. 14. Stony Brook, Auburn Hills, Mich., Thurs-Sat
  • 6. Notre Dame vs. 11. Indiana State, Auburn Hills, Mich., Thurs-Sat
  • 7. Missouri vs. 10. St. Louis, Kansas City, Mo., Fri-Sun
  • 2. Kansas vs. 15. Western Illinois, Kansas City, Mo., Fri-Sun


  • 1. Duke vs. 16. Northeastern, Philadelphia, Fri-Sun
  • 8. Ole Miss vs. 9. St. Mary's, Philadelphia, Fri-Sun
  • 5. Oklahoma State vs. 12. Iowa-Colorado State winner, Dayton, Ohio, Fri-Sun
  • 4. Cincinnati vs. 13. Davidson, Dayton, Ohio, Fri-Sun
  • 3. Ohio State vs. 14. Akron, Lexington, Ky., Thurs-Sat
  • 6. Memphis vs. 11. Oklahoma, Lexington, Ky., Thurs-Sat
  • 7. Kentucky vs. 10. Wichita State, Philadelphia, Fri-Sun
  • 2. Syracuse vs. 15. Bryant, Philadelphia, Fri-Sun


  • 1. Michigan vs. 16. UNC-Asheville/Loyola (Md.) winner, Auburn Hills, Mich., Thurs-Sat
  • 8. UCLA vs. 9. Iowa State, Auburn Hills, Mich., Thurs-Sat
  • 5. Creighton vs. 12. BYU, Austin, Texas, Fri-Sun
  • 4. Louisville vs. 13. Stephen F. Austin, Austin, Texas, Fri-Sun
  • 3. Arizona vs. 14. Montana, Salt Lake City, Utah, Thurs-Sat
  • 6. Minnesota vs. 11. LaSalle, Salt Lake City, Utah, Thurs-Sat
  • 7. Pittsburgh vs. 10. San Diego State, San Jose, Calif., Thurs-Sat
  • 2. Gonzaga vs. Long Beach State, San Jose, Calif., Thurs-Sat

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