As publisher of Hawkeye Report, a Rivals.com website dedicated to Iowa sports, Tom Kakert has witnessed plenty of angst and celebration from the fan base he serves.
But Thursday night was, in a word, amazing. As Kakert sat in the media room at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., and checked out reaction to Iowa’s stunning first-round loss to Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament, he shook his head.
He saw some Iowa fans — at least they were portraying themselves as Iowa fans — tweeting Joe Lunardi and asking him to keep the Hawkeyes out of the NCAA field. Lunardi’s ESPN Bracketology is the most respected of all the NCAA Tournament projection sites.
On his website a day later, Kakert wrote, “It’s just a very strange situation to see a portion of a fan base that has been thirsting for a chance to participate in the greatest event in college basketball almost wishing their favorite team doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament.”
Odds are, that element of the fan base is going to be disappointed when the field for the 2014 NCAA Tournament is revealed on CBS starting at 5 p.m. Sunday. Nearly all of the projected NCAA Tournament sites Saturday had an Iowa team that has lost six of its last seven games in the field. It would be the Hawkeyes’ first bid since 2006.
And in what seems like a perfect draw for the Hawkeyes with the way the season has gone, Lunardi’s newest bracket projection has this: No. 10 seed Iowa facing No. 7 seed Saint Louis … in St. Louis.
Lunardi had Iowa as high as a No. 4 seed in the second week of January after the Hawkeyes had just won at third-ranked Ohio State. The Hawkeyes still have just one loss by more than seven points (10 at Michigan State) and the loss to Northwestern was its only bad loss. But that seed has continued to sink with each loss during this late-season swoon.
Here were some other projections Saturday:
CBSsports.com: Jerry Palm listed Iowa as a bubble team, but he expected them in the field.
“The Hawkeyes tanked the end of the season, losing six of seven, including their most recent and only bad loss to Northwestern in the opener of the Big Ten Tournament. Iowa will probably get in. They have too many good wins to leave out entirely in this crowd, but they won’t be getting a good seed.”
Palm also had Iowa playing Saint Louis in a 7-10 game, but in Orlando, Fla. The winner would get Creighton or North Carolina Central.
USA Today: Iowa was listed as one of the last five teams getting into the field. The Hawkeyes were an 11 seed, playing No. 6 Connecticut in San Antonio, Texas. The winner would get the winner of No. 3 Iowa State against No. 14 New Mexico State. Why not a Cy-Hawk showdown in Texas?
SI.com: Iowa was listed as a lock and a No. 11 seed, paired against No. 6 seed Texas in the East Regional.
Basketball Predictions (basketballpredictions.blogspot.com): Listed Iowa as one of five Big Ten teams definitely in the tournament as of Saturday afternoon. Dropped Hawkeyes’ seed from nine to 11 after the loss to Northwestern.
KPIsports.net: Has Iowa in the NIT field.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball