After being a near lock to earn a tournament bid less than a month ago, the Iowa Hawkeyes have fallen on hard times of late playing themselves onto the bubble with the team’s inability to close games. After opening the season 19-6, the Hawkeyes went into a tailspin to end the regular season losing five of the team’s last six games, putting the team firmly on the bubble heading into conference championship week. Iowa’s inability to close tight games has been the Hawkeyes’ downfall down the stretch, but can the program rebound in the conference tournament to save the team’s season?
The Hawkeyes’ recent struggles continued Saturday when the team lost another heartbreaker at home to the Illinois Fighting Illini. After a back and forth game in the second half, the Illini’s Jon Ekey hit a game-winning three-pointer with only 00.5 left on the clock. The Hawkeyes were once again stunned and frustrated with the fact that the team has let so many close games just slip away. Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble was unable to lift the Hawkeyes out of the slump as he only had eight points while shooting an abysmal 3-of-11 from the field. Aaron White led the team with 12 points and eight rebounds which proved not to be enough in the tough loss in the regular season finale.
The Hawkeyes were once projected to be as high as a three seed come tournament time at one point this season, but now the team is just hoping to get an invitation to the big dance. The Hawkeyes will need to win at least a couple of games in the Big Ten conference tournament to solidify a spot in the NCAA tournament, but can the team get out of its rut and perform up to its capabilities?
We have seen this happen more than a few times in recent seasons where teams just completely fall apart down the stretch and Iowa appears to be no different than past examples. The Hawkeyes might have a run left in them in the Big Ten tournament, but the truth is, the team could just as easily get bounced out in the first round leaving Iowa to think what could have been in a season that is ending in disappointment.
Greg Douglas is a College Basketball writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @thegpd93 or add him to your Google Network.