Stop me if you’ve hear this one before — the Iowa Hawkeyes were up for 37 minutes of a game, then crumbled down the stretch, and eventually lost in overtime. Sound familiar? Of course it does.
That was the story of the 2014 Hawkeyes, and that’s what ultimately ended their stint in the 2014 NCAA Tournament — the inability to close out games.
It’s really that simple. You can point to this and you can point to that, but the bottom line is that the Hawks never learned how to win. If you can’t do that, you’re sure as heck not going to go very far in March.
As harsh as it is, college basketball teams are almost exclusively remembered for what they do in the month of March. This particular Iowa team, took a crap in the month of March. Too bad for them, but that’s all anyone will remember.
The 2014 Hawkeyes will now join a long list of Iowa teams that have just been pretty good. They made it back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006, and that was the realistic goal and next step coming into this season.
No one really expected Iowa to make a deep run into March, that is, until they peaked midseason. However, we all know that great teams don’t peak in the middle of the season, they peak in March.
To me, there’s no reason to make excuses or sugarcoat anything. This team was flat out not good enough.
It’s extra heartbreaking for fans when they see a team play so well for a portion of the season, but in the end, it was just an illusion. The 2014 Hawkeyes beat nearly all the teams they should have beat, and they were about 50/50 against teams in their league. What is/was their league? Certainly not the top-tier of the B1G conference.
Heading into next year, the Hawkeyes will be right where they belong and right where they usually are — right in the middle of the Big Ten pack.
Maybe next year’s team will have a little more intestinal fortitude.