The expectations are high, but the Hawkeyes don’t care. Here’s five reasons Iowa basketball can actually win a national championship this coming season.
At first glance, it may be a fool’s errand to suggest Iowa basketball could win a national title in 2020-21. The Hawkeyes haven’t won a regular season Big Ten title since 1979 and haven’t been to a final four since 1980. But a closer look reveals these aren’t your grandfather’s Hawkeyes.
The expectations for this coming season are at an all-time high for Fran McCaffery’s squad. Iowa debuted at No. 5 in the initial AP Top 25 earlier this month. They also have the second-highest odds to win a national title this season.
Both oddsmakers and pollsters agree that the Hawkeyes have a legitimate championship-caliber team this season. But they’re not the only ones who believe Iowa could go all the way. In fact, the players think winning a title is realistic.
“Everyone agreed and everyone said we wanted a national championship. The goals are a Big Ten Championship and a national championship,” said guard C.J. Fredrick earlier this month. “We aren’t going to settle for anything less and we aren’t going to work for anything less.”
Since being introduced as head coach of the Hawkeyes on Mar. 29, 2010, Fran McCaffery has a winning percentage of .576. The most wins Iowa has had during McCaffery’s tenure is 25 during the 2012-13 season. The Hawks should easily eclipse that number this season, even with the uncertainty that comes with the coronavirus.
“It’s going to be a goofy year – it is,” McCaffery said. “But we have a good basketball team. We have really good players. We have character on this team. I really like our team.”
With all of that said, here are the five biggest reasons the Iowa Hawkeyes can go all the way in the NCAA Tournament next spring: