Usually, a .500 winning percentage in the Big 10 Conference coupled with having 20 overall wins would be enough to get an at-large birth in the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately for the Iowa Hawkeyes, their non-conference schedule was chalk-full of some pretty atrocious basketball teams. In fact, their non-conference schedules ranks 308th in the entire nation.
Nobody is to blame for that. While a lot of finger pointing might go in Fran McCaffery‘s direction, this season was thought to be a building year for the program, not a season in which they were to go dancing in March. It is as simple as a weak schedule resulting in some much needed wins late in the year.
For Iowa, the winning they need to do to get in the NCAA Tournament will now have to be done in the Big 10 Conference Tournament. Even after beating the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday, the Hawkeyes still need to rattle off at the very least two more quality wins over Big 10 opponents. It’s not an easy task, but one they could pull off with some luck.
I am being kind with saying they need two more quality wins. Depending what happens with other bubble teams around them, Iowa has the bubble that is most likely to be burst by other teams. Saturday saw a slew of those bubble teams actually win their games, making the journey to March Madness even more difficult for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa needs to focus on things they can control — the games ahead of them. Winning, and doing a lot of it, is the only way they can conceivably go dancing. With the Big 10 Tournament on the horizon, the Hawkeyes need to take it one game (and one win) at a time.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Joe on Twitter @JosephNardone