Iowa basketball fans are understandably upset, but this men’s team could still do big things. Here’s why you shouldn’t lose hope Hawkeye nation.
It doesn’t take look for people to begin questioning the strength of the men’s Iowa basketball team and after a two game slide in a crucial week last week, the haters are in full force.
Let’s not forget though that the Hawks are currently 16-5 with a 5-5 conference record, meaning they are just four games away from that magical 20-game threshold they’ll need to meet to likely get into the NCAA tournament come March. Also, this four-game stretch is the toughest the Hawks will take on having to play two top ten teams and go on the road to Minnesota and Indiana. A good outcome from this portion of the schedule would be 2-2, which is still entirely within reason if Iowa can upset Michigan and win on the road in Bloomington, Indiana.
Even after those two losses, the Iowa basketball team is still 7th in a loaded Big Ten with seven games remaining to teams below them in the current conference rankings. Furthermore, Iowa is still ranked 29th according to KenPom and remains in the coaches poll at #25 (they did drop out of the AP Poll though).
Moreover, after they get past Michigan and Indiana, Iowa’s schedule begins to clear up a little bit. The Hawks are favored in five of their eight remaining games and one of the games they are not favored in is the regular season finale at Nebraska, who just lost their second leading scorer, Isaac Copeland, for the season due to injury.
Despite the two losses, the Iowa basketball team is even projected to be a sixth seed according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. A six seed would be the highest seed of the Fran McCaffery era and the highest seed the Hawks have had since the 2005-2006 season back when Steve Alford was still the coach.
As you can see, not all hope is lost. Skepticism may be deserved, but as this team showed us after three straight losses to begin Big Ten play, they can bounce back. They’ve already dealt with adversity and doubt, and now it’s time to make a statement.