Iowa’s four-game, four-day run to the Big Ten Tournament title game has earned the Hawkeye players some well-deserved rest the next few days.
It also likely earned the Hawkeyes an upgraded seed in the NCAA tournament.
By going 3-1 in four days in Indianapolis, Iowa improved to 26-8 this season.
The Hawkeyes know they are in the NCAA Tournament field and they know they will be hosting the opening two rounds at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on March 23 and 25.
What Iowa won’t know until March 17 is what they will be seeded or who they will face, though Iowa coach Lisa Bluder has her own ideas of where her team should fall.
“I honestly think that we could definitely be a five seed, I really believe that,” Bluder said. “I think our RPI shows that and our strength of schedule shows that. I believe that we are right there for a five.”
Entering the Big 10 Tournament, Iowa was 22nd in the RPI ratings, had a strength of schedule rating of 49 and was 28th in the Sagarin ratings as well as being No. 23 in the Associated Press poll.
The Hawkeyes have four wins against RPI top-25 teams including their Big Ten quarterfinal win over Purdue, who is eighth in the RPI ratings.
All but two of Iowa’s eight losses this season have come to teams in the top 36 of the RPI ratings and both of the other two losses were on the road.
“I think the strength of our resume is excellent,” Bluder said. “We have great quality wins, we have a win at Penn State, we have a win over Purdue that was a top eight RPI. We have a win over USC that is playing in the title game of the Pac-12 right now. I’m probably missing some right now and we really don’t have any bad losses either.”
Last season, Iowa was 21-10 entering the NCAA tournament, finished seventh in the Big Ten regular season at 8-8, was bounced in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament and earned an eight seed.
This year’s Iowa team finished tied for fourth in the Big Ten regular season at 11-5 and reached the conference finals.
“We have more quality wins this year, and we haven’t had as many bad losses while playing some tough competition this year,” Logic said. “Obviously getting this far in the tournament is going to help us, so I would help that we are off the eight or nine seed.”
The latest Bracketolgy report on ESPN has Nebraska pegged as a third seed, Penn State as a four seed and Purdue as a five seed.
Iowa by that ESPN projection would be a seven seed.
“You are talking about Purdue being a four or a five seed, Penn State being a four or a five, Nebraska being a four or five, and we are just as good,” Bluder said. “We are just as good as they are, so in my opinion we deserve that type of seed as well.”
NOTES: The 26 wins by the Hawkeyes this season are the most for any Lisa Bluder coached team at Iowa and the most for any Iowa team since Iowa went 27-4 in 1995-1996. … Iowa placed three players on the All Tournament team as Bethany Doolittle and Sam Logic both joined Ally Disterhoft. … In her first Big Ten Tournament, Disterhoft averaged 16 points and eight rebounds in four games. … For Nebraka, Jordan Hooper joined the tournament most valuable player Rachel Theriot on the all tournament team along with Ohio State sophomore Ameryst Alston. … Nebraska has now beaten Iowa in each of the last three Big Ten Tournaments. The Cornhuskers beat Iowa in the quarterfinals in 2012 and 2013.