116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Home / Sports / Iowa Hawkeyes / Iowa Basketball
Iowa’s Lisa Bluder: ‘I feel that we deserve a 1 (seed in the NCAA tournament), but I think we’ll get a 2’
Hawkeyes’ path to Greenville or Seattle (and maybe Dallas) will be revealed at 7 p.m. Sunday
IOWA CITY — Call them a 1-minus. Or maybe a 2-plus.
The surging Iowa Hawkeyes have climbed into consideration for a No. 1 seed for the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, which would be their first since 1992.
“I feel that we deserve a 1, but I think we’ll get a 2,” Hawkeyes Coach Lisa Bluder said Wednesday. “It doesn’t matter to me. Whatever we get, fine. You can’t do much about it.”
A Big Ten tournament championship last week in Minneapolis allowed the Hawkeyes (26-6) to vault five spots in this week’s Associated Press poll to No. 2 — their highest spot since 1994.
Top-ranked South Carolina (32-0), the defending national champion, is a lock to earn one of the four 1-seeds. After that, it’s a jumble, and Iowa is smack-dab in the middle of it.
“After South Carolina? I don’t know,” Bluder said. “I really don’t watch that much outside the Big Ten.”
⧉ Related article: The case for (and against) Iowa as a 1-seed in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament
The selection show will be aired 7 p.m. Sunday, on ESPN.
First- and second-round games in Iowa City will be either Friday and Sunday, or Saturday and Monday.
Late Saturday night, ESPN women’s bracketologist Charlie Creme flipped the Hawkeyes to a No. 1 seed, just ahead of Stanford.
“The Cardinal have a better overall résumé than Iowa, but the image of the Hawkeyes beating Indiana on a buzzer-beater in the regular-season finale, then blowing out Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament title game might prove too much to ignore for this committee,” Creme said.
“Stanford losing in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals opened the door; the committee will push Iowa through it. UConn also slides up the 2-line and to No. 5 overall.
“Deciphering the paper-thin differences among the Huskies, Hawkeyes and Cardinal looms as the committee's most difficult task.”
Iowa last was a 1-seed in 1992. The Hawkeyes received a first-round bye, then were upset at home in Round 2 by Missouri State, which eventually reached the Final Four.
The Big Ten regular-season co-runner-up, Iowa has a NET ranking of 6, which is one of the main metrics that the committee looks at.
If you’re into the “eye test,” that certainly works in Iowa’s favor. A national audience saw the Hawkeyes’ dramatic win over Indiana in the regular-season finale Feb. 26, and watched them dismantle Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament final.
“If people base (our resume) on our loss at Kansas State by one point, or our home loss to North Carolina State ... we’re a different team now,” Bluder said.
“I know they base a lot on the last 10 games. We have some great wins in there, but we have a bad loss to Maryland.”
Speaking of the last 10 games, let’s discuss the revival of Gabbie Marshall’s 3-point shot.
In the first 22 games, Marshall hit just 19 of 80 long-range shots (23.8 percent). In the last 10 contests: 27 of 44 (61.4 percent).
“It’s huge,” Bluder said. “It’s tremendous.”
Whether the Hawkeyes are a 1-seed or a 2-seed, they’ll be heavily favored in their first game.
Since the NCAA tournament was expanded to 64 teams in 1994, 1-seeds are 111-1 in the first round, 2-seeds are 112-0.
There’s more separation in Round 2 — 1-seeds advance to the Sweet 16 at a 96.4-percent rate; it’s 83.7 percent for 2-seeds.
Iowa was a 2-seed last year and was upset in the second round by Creighton, 64-62.
“We got a good lesson last year,” Bluder said. “We’ll be locked in (this year). We’ll be locked in as can be.”
If Iowa is a 1-seed, it will face a 16-seed in the first round, with 8- and 9-seeds coming to Iowa City for the other first-rounder.
If the Hawkeyes draw a 2-seed, they’ll meet a 15-seed in the opening game, with 7- and 10-seeds squaring off.
Regionals are at Greenville, S.C., and Seattle. The Final Four is at Dallas.
According to Creme’s latest bracketology, projected 7-seeds are Creighton, South Florida, Florida State and North Carolina State.
Projected 8-seeds are Baylor, Mississippi, Oklahoma State and USC.
Projected 9-seeds are Gonzaga, Miami (Fla.), Georgia and Illinois (which, as a Big Ten rival, is extremely unlikely to be assigned to the Iowa City subregional).
Projected 10-seeds are Alabama, Mississippi State, South Dakota State and Middle Tennessee.
The Hawkeyes returned to practice Wednesday, and “were energized,” according to Bluder.
Depending on schedule, Iowa will have 12 or 13 days between its last game and its NCAA first-round game.
“I’d be happy if it started this week, because we aren’t banged up,” Bluder said. “We want to keep going. With the momentum we’ve got, we want to keep playing.”
Iowa’s NCAA resume
Big Ten: 15-3 (T-2nd)
Big Ten tournament: Champion (beat Purdue, 69-58; beat Maryland, 89-84; beat Ohio State, 105-72)
NET ranking: 6
Last 10: 8-2, including 4-game winning streak
Quad 1: 11-3. Quad 2: 9-0. Quad 3: 4-0. Quad 4: 3-0.
Best wins: Indiana (H), Maryland (H, N), Iowa State (H), Ohio State (A, N), Michigan (A)
Worst losses: Kansas State (A), Illinois (A), North Carolina State (H)
What they’re saying: According to ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme, Iowa is a 1 seed (as of Saturday night) in one of the two Seattle regions and will host No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round, with 8-seed Mississippi and 9-seed Gonzaga also coming to Iowa City.