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Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
So the Iowa men's basketball team is advised to recall a March day in 2016 when Middle Tennessee State defeated Michigan State 90-81 in the first round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
The Commodores were a No. 15-seed, the Spartans a No. 2.
On the other hand, No. 2-seeds are 132-8 against No. 15s in the tourney's history. So the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of the No. 2-seed Hawkeyes when they face No. 15 Grand Canyon Saturday in Indianapolis.
So let's do what Iowa can't do — or at least shouldn't — and assume a Hawkeyes victory in Indiana Farmers Coliseum against the Antelopes. How hard will it be for them to then proceed to, say, the West Region final?
If Iowa beats the Lopes, it will meet the winner of Saturday's VCU-Oregon game Monday. VCU is the West Region's 10-seed, Oregon the 7.
VCU, the loser to St. Bonaventure in the Atlantic-10 title game, is 19-7. No player in its rotation is taller than 6-foot-9, but the team has 140 blocked shots, good enough to be fifth in the nation in blocks per game. It also is fifth nationally in steals.
Nah'Shon 'Bones' Hyland, a sophomore guard, averages 19.5 points, has made 69 3-point shots, and is the A-10 Player of the Year.
Oregon went 14-4 to become the Pacific-12's regular-season champion. It has no starter taller than 6-6, which Iowa's 6-11 Luka Garza might find interesting. All its starters make 3-pointers.
Chris Duarte is a 6-6 senior forward from the Dominican Republic who averages 16.7 points, and a combined 2.7 blocks and steals per game. He is the Associated Press Pac-12 Player of the Year.
Let's say Iowa wins and moves on to the Sweet 16. The most-likely opponents would appear to be No. 3-seed Kansas and No. 6 USC.
Kansas is 20-8, and is coming off COVID-19 issues. The Jayhawks don't have that sizzle to them that they usually do. They normally have an NBA lottery pick or two. Not this year.
But they have beaten Baylor by 13 points this month, and also have downed Creighton, Oklahoma State and West Virginia, all seeded no lower than fifth in the NCAA tourney.
USC has a future lottery pick. He's 7-foot-freshman Evan Mobley, the Pac-12's Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, and a second-team AP All-American. He averages 3.0 blocks a game, plus 16.8 points and 8.6 rebounds. He charts well above Illinois' 7-footer Kofi Cockburn in NBA mock drafts, and Cockburn severely hurt Iowa last Saturday in the Big Ten semifinals.
Gonzaga presumably will await someone in the Region final. That's a bridge to cross when if and when the Hawkeyes reach it. In the meantime, what about the seeding history?
No. 2-seeds are 68-29 against No. 7s, 38-22 against No. 10s. They're 41-27 against No. 3s, 26-10 against No. 6s.
In 2019, the most-recent tournament, all four No. 2-seeds reached the Sweet 16, two advanced to the Elite Eight, and one (Michigan State) cracked the Final Four.
But the year before, No. 2-seeds Cincinnati and North Carolina lost in the second round and Purdue fell in the Sweet 16. In 2017, second-seeds Duke and Louisville were eliminated in the second round. Forty-three No. 2-seeds have lost second-round games.
No. 2-seeds have won five championships since 1985. The latest was Villanova in 2016. No. 1-seeds have won 22 titles in that time.
Oh, the last time Iowa played in a Final Four was 1980. The site, by the way, was Indianapolis.
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