You can’t really say that it’s been a tale of two seasons for the Iowa Hawkeyes. It’s really been a tale of one season and the last seven games. The last seven games, were of course where the Hawkeyes fell apart in 2014 (losers of six out of the last seven).
It was all smooth sailing and a matter of where the Hawkeyes would end up in the 2014 NCAA Tournament for most of the season. After hopes of B1G title faded, fans still took solace in the fact that Iowa would likely land a nice seed in the big dance.
As it turns out, Iowa is lucky to even be dancing at all. The Hawkeyes are now set to take on the Tennessee Vols in a play-in game for the Midwest Region. The winner will become the official 11 seed and earn the right to face UMass on Friday in the ‘real’ tournament.
If you told Hawk fans this was going to be the reality a month ago, they would have laughed in your face. But now, as cliche as it sounds, it is what it is. Going dancing in the play-in game, is far better than the alternative.
As for the actual team led by Fran McCaffery, it’s now a matter of whether they can find their identity once again this season before it’s too late. Iowa is a high-scoring team that can run with anyone. They’re as deep as any team in the field, but as of late, no one has been reliable in crunch time.
The Hawkeyes have seemed lost for the entire month of March. Why? No one really knows for sure, and that’s most frustrating thing for fans. But one area the team can clearly improve in, is defense. While the Hawks can match points with anyone, they have a hard time stopping players who go to the hole. The lack of physicality down low is a problem for the black and gold.
Maybe the Hawks got complacent after tasting some success? It has been nearly a decade since Iowa was respectable on a national level, so maybe this uncharted territory has been difficult for the young team to navigate? Whatever it is, Iowa better get it back, soon. It’s possible that this play-in game could light a fire under the Hawks and that a win could get them back on the right track just in time for the round of 64. At least that’s what fans are hoping.