The Iowa basketball team is sitting pretty at 16-3, but the next four games will be very telling as they enter their toughest four-game stretch this year.
Earlier in the season, we took a look at the upcoming schedule and predicted which games would be the toughest games remaining on the Iowa basketball team’s schedule. What we didn’t realize when making that list is how close three of those five games are to each other.
In fact, the Iowa basketball team has to play three of those games in the next four with an away game vs Minnesota squashed in between there. That means in the span of two weeks, the Hawks will be taking on #6 Michigan State and #5 Michigan at Carver Hawkeye Arena and then traveling to Bloomington, Indiana to play in one of the toughest atmospheres in the country against the 12-6 Indiana Hoosiers.
The Hawkeyes are looking good for their chances to qualify for the NCAA tournament, but the next four games will reveal a lot about this program and whether or not they are ready to compete with the big boys.
Worst case scenario, the Hawks lose all four games (which is quite the realistic probability). According to KenPom, the Hawks are likely to be favored in just one of their next four games, and that’s @ Minnesota, and if you’ve read any of our other pieces here at Dear Old Gold, you know that we feel strongly that no road game in the Big Ten is easy. Heck, just look at the Penn State game.
If this scenario did play out, the Hawks would be 16-7, out of the top-25, and likely considered a NCAA bubble candidate.
The best case scenario, however, is that Carver Hawkeye Arena gets wild for the two home games against two of the top ten teams in the country and the Hawks steal two huge wins. Then, they take care of business on the road. This would absolutely catapult the Hawks into the top ten and likely have them staring at a potential two or three seed if they can take care of business the rest of the way in the Big Ten.
That being said, I like to be realistic here, and for me personally, I would be happy if the Iowa basketball team can secure the easiest win of their four-game stretch against Minnesota and upset either Michigan State or Michigan. Two wins in this four game stretch is not a bad outcome at all.
It is just four days until the Iowa basketball team is back in action and we learn a whole lot more about this team when they (hopefully) ball out against the Michigan State Spartans at home.