Iowa is currently on the outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament. It is likely to stay that way, unless they go on a crazy run to end their season. The Hawkeyes play no. 1 Indiana tonight at home in a huge game for them.
If Iowa wants to have any chance at flying up the bubble and claiming an at-large bid, they have to win tonight.
With a record of 18-10 and 7-8 in the Big Ten, Iowa does not have an overly impressive resume for the selection committee. They have suffered a number of tough, close losses in the Big Ten, losing six games by four points or less, proof of what could have been this year for Iowa.
If even just one or two of those games had gone the other way, this would be a very different conversation about the Hawkeyes. But, close losses are still losses.
The rest of Iowa’s resume is not much more impressive. They have the no. 91 RPI in the country, not nearly good enough to make up for their lackluster conference record. Iowa’s non-conference schedule, or lack thereof, is really the final straw in their insufficient resume.
Every year, a couple of teams can overcome their lesser records with impressive non-conference wins and an impressive strength of schedule. Iowa’s most impressive non-conference wins have come against Iowa State and Northern Iowa. Neither of those teams will necessarily even make the tournament. Iowa’s strength of schedule reflects their lack of signature wins at no. 59 in the country.
At the end of the day, Iowa just has not done enough to deserve NCAA tourney talk. A few more impressive non-conference wins, or a couple of close conference wins instead of losses, could have changed everything for them.
But here they sit, on the outside looking in with just three regular season games and the Big Ten Tourney remaining. They still have tiny shot to change their tournament status, but any scenario where they make it must include a win over Indiana tonight.