NCAA tournament team previews: Iowa Hawkeyes
As part of its preview of the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, SI.com is taking a look at all 68 teams in the field. RPI and SOS data from realtimerpi.com. Adjusted offense and defense are from kenpom.com and measure the number of points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, and the team’s national rank. For more teams, click here.
Record: 20-12, 9-9 in Big Ten
Adjusted offense / Adjusted defense: 119.9 (4th) / 102.7 (129th)
Seed: No. 11 in Midwest (First Four)
Impact player: Aaron White, junior forward, 13 ppg, 6.7 rpg, .592 from the field and .806 from the line
The Case For:
Iowa moves the ball well with senior guard Roy Devyn Marble running the show, as evidenced by the Hawkeyes’ 16 assists per game, 12th best in the country. Iowa can score (82 ppg, sixth best in the country) and gets to the line a lot, both key to a postseason run. The Hawkeyes get contributions from everyone, with eight players averaging at least six points. They’ve had big wins over some of the best teams in the country this season, like an 84-74 victory at Ohio State in mid-January and an 85-67 thumping of Michigan in early February. Don’t expect them to be intimidated by any seed, or any matchup.
The Case Against:
The Hawkeyes have dropped three straight, including a loss to upstart Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten tournament, so you have to wonder how focused this group was going into the postseason. Iowa has a bad habit of losing games it shouldn’t (losses to Minnesota and Indiana come to mind). Coach Fran McCaffery announced last week that his 13-year-old son will have surgery before Wednesday, March 19, to remove a tumor on his thyroid, and it will be interesting to see if that situation distracts or inspires this group during its game that night and during a potential tournament run.
SI prediction: Lose to Tennessee in the First Four. View complete bracket predictions from SI.com’s panel of experts