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NCAA Basketball Big 10 BasketballIowa HawkeyesMarch Madness

Iowa Hawkeyes Basketball: Continue To Fade As NCAA Tournament Nears

Iowa Hawkeyes, Northwestern Wildcats

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

For the sixth time in the last seven games, the Iowa Hawkeyes have lost. Tonight’s latest loss came at the hands of the Northwestern Wildcats in the first round of the Big Ten Conference Tournament in Indianapolis. The Wildcats 67-62 win was spring-boarded by great defense and terrific outside shooting.

As a team, Northwestern went 11-0f-23 from beyond the three-point stripe. Tre Demps led the way with 20 points and senior Drew Crawford also pitched in 15 to go along with six rebounds. All-Big Ten first team selection Roy Devyn Marble paced Fran McCaffery’s Hawkeyes with 25 points in the losing effort.

For coach Chris Collins and the Wildcats, this is a great program win. It gives them something to build on as they head into the off-season, and more importantly, it also gives them another game. They’ll take on Tom Izzo and Michigan State tomorrow night.

But for McCaffery and Iowa, it’s the exact opposite. What in the world has happened to the once 10th ranked Hawkeyes? After starting the season off so promisingly, this team has now positioned themselves to receive a double-digit seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

By all accounts, Iowa faithful should  be encouraged by the fact that their beloved Hawkeyes are heading back to the Big Dance for the first time since 2006. But at they same time, this season is looking more and more likely to end as a disappointment unless McCaffery can rally the troops in a hurry for a deep tournament run.

The talent is certainly there and anything come March Madness is possible. However, with the way this team has played of late, a first-round exit appears far more probable.

Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27