Iowa Women's Basketball

Projecting the 2019-20 Big Ten women's basketball standings

Maryland is a heavy favorite; we're penciling Iowa in for a sixth-place tie

Iowa's Makenzie Meyer (3) celebrates a basket in the Hawkeyes' win over Drake on Dec. 21. The Hawkeyes open Big Ten play
Iowa’s Makenzie Meyer (3) celebrates a basket in the Hawkeyes’ win over Drake on Dec. 21. The Hawkeyes open Big Ten play Saturday at Nebraska. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — With one glaring exception, the Iowa Hawkeyes surpassed expectations through the non-conference portion of their women’s basketball season.

The emergence of Monika Czinano has softened the blow of Megan Gustafson’s departure, and Iowa bounced back from a bad loss at Northern Iowa on Nov. 17 to get through the first chapter of the season at 9-2.

Push the reset button. The Hawkeyes open Big Ten action at Nebraska on Saturday. They are the reigning Big Ten tournament champions after a runner-up regular-season finish in 2018-19.

Maryland is a heavy favorite to retain its title, with the usual suspects (Illinois, Wisconsin) projected at the bottom, along with Penn State.

The middle of the pack appears to be a traffic jam. This projection calls for nine teams within two games (12-6, 11-7 and 10-8). Protect home floor, stay healthy and catch some breaks, and the Hawkeyes could vault as high as second. If not, they could slide as far as 10th.

Before the season, the pick here was 17-12 overall, 9-9 Big Ten, which would have placed the Hawkeyes right on the NCAA bubble. Now, we’ll go 19-10 and 10-8, tying for sixth place in the Big Ten. Win one and lose one in Indianapolis, and that gets the Hawkeyes to 20-11, which should put them comfortably back into the NCAA (we’ll guess a 7 seed).

1. Maryland (10-1, RPI 45)

Projected Big Ten record: 17-1. Big Ten tournament finish: Champion.

Projected Selection Monday status: 29-3, NCAA tournament, 2 seed.

T-2. Purdue (9-3, RPI 19)

Projected Big Ten record: 12-6. Big Ten tournament finish: Runner-up.

Projected Seclection Monday status: 23-9, NCAA tournament, 4 seed.

T-2. Indiana (10-2, RPI 15)

Projected Big Ten record: 12-6. Big Ten tournament finish: Semifinalist.

Projected Selection Monday status: 23-9, NCAA tournament, 5 seed.

T-2. Northwestern (10-1, RPI 18)

Projected Big Ten record: 12-6. Big Ten tournament finish: Semifinalist.

Projected Selection Monday status: 23-8, NCAA tournament, 5 seed.

5. Michigan State (7-4, RPI 137)

Projected Big Ten record: 11-7. Big Ten tournament finish: Quarterfinalist.

Projected Selection Monday status: 19-12, NCAA tournament, 10 seed.

T-6. Iowa (9-2, RPI 16)

Projected Big Ten record: 10-8. Big Ten tournament finish: Quarterfinalist.

Projected Selection Monday status: 20-11, NCAA tournament, 7 seed.

T-6. Minnesota (10-1, RPI 33)

Projected Big Ten record: 10-8. Big Ten tournament finish: Second round.

Projected Selection Monday status: 20-10, NCAA tournament, 8 seed.

T-6. Rutgers (10-1, RPI 41)

Projected Big Ten record: 10-8. Big Ten tournament finish: Second round.

Projected Selection Monday status: 20-10, NCAA tournament, 9 seed.

T-6. Michigan (9-2, RPI 43)

Projected Big Ten record: 10-8. Big Ten tournament finish: Quarterfinalist.

Projected Selection Monday status: 20-11, NCAA tournament, 9 seed.

T-6. Nebraska (10-1, RPI 101)

Projected Big Ten record: 10-8. Big Ten tournament finish: Quarterfinalist.

Projected Selection Monday status: 21-10, NCAA tournament, 10 seed. 

11. Ohio State (7-4, 21 RPI)

Projected Big Ten record: 6-12. Big Ten tournament finish: Second round.

Projected Selection Monday status: 14-17, no postseason.

T-12. Wisconsin (8-3, 83 RPI)

Projected Big Ten record: 2-16. Big Ten tournament finish: Second round.

Projected Selection Monday status: 11-20, no postseason.

T-12. Illinois (9-2, 116 RPI)

Projected Big Ten record: 2-16. Big Ten tournament finish: First round.

Projected Selection Monday status: 11-19, no postseason.

T-12. Penn State (6-5, 225 RPI)

Projected Big Ten record: 2-16. Big Ten tournament finish: First round.

Projected Selection Monday status: 8-22, no postseason.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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