People always talk about the “key win” that everyone needs over the course of the college basketball season. Some teams need multiple and some just need the one to put them over the edge.
Well, right now, the Iowa Hawkeyes definitely lack a key win that tells people this team is definitely for real. You can hang with good teams all you want, but that won’t get you in the tournament. Last year’s team was the perfect example of this.
Last season, Iowa lost to the 5th ranked Indiana Hoosiers by four points at home and they lost to the 22nd ranked Spartans by 3 at home. Close, but no cigar. Iowa also took Wisconsin to double overtime only to fall by 4 points in Madison. Then to round it all out, they lost by 3 points to Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament.
If you really look at it. This years team is doing essentially the same thing as last years team. They have close losses to Wisconsin in Madison, Michigan in Ann Arbor, and Michigan State at home. How is that any different than last year? The only real differences are, Iowa has 0 bad losses and there is way more hype around this years team.
Last years team had a couple bad losses to a mediocre Virginia Tech team and the Nebraska Cornhuskers. So far this year, Iowa has yet to really slip up against an inferior opponent. Iowa’s only real good win last year during the regular season was against the Badgers at Carver-Hawkeye.
This years team has Xavier down on their resume as their best win, maybe Minnesota. Xavier is third right now in the revamped Big East. That’s not exactly something to be proud of if you’re a Hawkeye fan.
Don’t get me wrong, Iowa still has plenty of time to grab hold of one of these key wins that seem to be avoiding them. They’ll have Michigan at home on February 8th, Wisconsin at home on February 22nd, and they’ll visit Michigan State on March 6th. Other than that, the Hawkeyes don’t have another shot at grasping one of these.
I think we all thought they had one back on January 12th when they defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus, but since then the Buckeyes have been imploding, losing 5 of their last 6 games. Their most recent loss coming to the last place Penn State Nittany Lions.
Right now I think that if this team wasn’t as hyped as they are, they wouldn’t be ranked. Close losses only get you so far. This is still a tournament team baring any major blowups, but right now they lack that win that puts them over the top and will really catch peoples eye.