How early is too early to start projecting a team’s potential success for next season? Is putting together a mock top-25 before kids declare early entry too soon? How about penning conference winners before transferring is over? Or possibly telling the world who is going to make the Sweet 16 before certain key-teams even have a coach? Regardless, we all love to read about the fun things that may or may not happen to our favorite team down the road — even if it is just our educated (sometimes uneducated) guesses.
Many experts are projecting the Iowa Hawkeyes to be a top-25 team for next season, for a good reason as well. Nearly every key player is returning to the line-up as well as some of their conference foes losing a slew of their best talents to the pros or having lost their eligibility.
That is not even factoring last year’s solid season. Despite not making it to the NCAA Tournament, Iowa had a very good season. The Big 10 was probably the toughest conference this past year and the Hawkeyes managed to go 9-9 through the treacherous in-conference schedule. After that, well, they did all they can in the NIT and wound up being the runners-up.
Most of the conference is going to have a lot of movement going on. Power-teams are losing their best talents; bottom-feeders are starting it all over with new coaches — thus leaving a school like Iowa ready to pounce on the league. If there ever was a chance for the Hawkeyes to make some serious noise in the Big 10, the 2013-14 season sure feels like it.
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone