Bracketology: Hawkeyes Are A 2 Seed

John Bohnenkamp

Luka Garza's return to the Iowa men's basketball team for his senior season has helped maintain the high expectations for the Hawkeyes heading into the 2020-21 season.

It's reflected in the updated Bracketology by ESPN's Joe Lunardi, released Monday.

The Hawkeyes are a 2 seed in the South Region in Lunardi's updated bracket, playing 15 seed Siena in Detroit in the first round, which would lead to an interesting story line — Iowa coach Fran McCaffery's previous job as head coach was at Siena.

Arizona State, the 7 seed, would play 10 seed Oklahoma on the other side of the bracket.

Baylor, Gonzaga, Virginia and Villanova are the 1 seeds in each region. Iowa, fellow Big Ten team Wisconsin, Kansas and Duke are the 2 seeds.

The Hawkeyes are in the top 10 in many of the preseason rankings, including several top-fives.

Iowa is coming off a 20-11 season in which the Hawkeyes finished 11-9 in the Big Ten.

The five starters from last season — Garza, CJ Fredrick, Joe Wieskamp, Joe Toussaint and Connor McCaffery — return, as does fifth-year senior Jordan Bohannon, who has 102 starts in his career. And forward Jack Nunge had 14 starts in the 2017-18 season as a true freshman.

That's a deep, experienced roster, and the numbers back it up.

The Hawkeyes will have a starting lineup that has accumulated 311 starts, the most of any of the Big Ten teams that are considered NCAA Tournament contenders.

Iowa's lineup has also 10,162 minutes, second-most in the Big Ten behind Wisconsin’s probable starting lineup of 10,587 minutes.

It's a main reason why the Hawkeyes are considered to be one of the favorites in not just the Big Ten race, but the national title chase as well.