December 01, 2023

Do we really know?

It was a big hoops weekend for the state of Iowa

If you root for a college basketball team in the state of Iowa, it was a really fun sports weekend.

The Iowa men’s basketball team went to Ohio State and defeated the No. 18 Buckeyes by 13 points to get its signature win.

Then the Iowa women held on to defeat No. 5 Indiana in Bloomington and Caitlin Clark didn’t have to score 25 points for the Hawkeyes to do it.

Iowa State played a home doubleheader against Oklahoma and each program got big wins. The Sooner women are ranked in the top 15, too, and the No. 6 Cyclones won by 22. The Cyclone men won by 21.

The Drake men played at conference-leading Loyola and came home with the dub.

The only loss suffered by an instate school was the UNI women, but the Panthers lost at home to Drake by only five points.

And as I type this, the UNI men were set to host Missouri State in a few hours.

So where am I am going with this? Well, it’s nearing NCAA Tournament time. We are weeks away from the conference tournaments and then the madness begins.

The conversations today for fans of the Iowa State and Iowa men’s teams are about seeding. Both programs have done enough so far to be in the field of 68.

And what I have learned is we all think we know where the two teams will be seeded. In reality, we don’t know anything.

I know the two teams are in. That’s as far as I can get to. I feel good about saying Iowa and Iowa State will be seeded anywhere from 7-11. That sounds about right. Maybe the committee gives fans in the state of Iowa a rematch in the 8-9 or 7-10 game? You never know.

If you root for the Cyclones, you can bring all the Quad 1 wins to the table.

If you like the Hawkeyes, you will hang your hat on the analytical sites who love Iowa.

In the NET rankings, which were created by the NCAA for the sole purpose of helping to select the best 68 teams for the tournament, Iowa is currently 19th after the win over Ohio State. It was Iowa’s first Quad 1 win.

Iowa State moved up eight spots to 35 after its win over Oklahoma. The Cyclones now have eight Quad 1 wins.

Ken Pom also likes the Hawkeyes. That website has Iowa 16th and Iowa State 30th.

I really don’t know what any of this means. But I follow several college basketball writers on social media and they all say these metrics matter in the selection process.

Another factor is eye test. Some days, Iowa State looks the part but other days they score 45 points and look like they don’t belong on a Division I floor.

Iowa looked the part against Ohio State on Saturday. But two nights earlier, they couldn’t stop Michigan from scoring on their home floor.

How much will the wins boost the seeding? How bad will the losses hurt? That remains to be seen.

The only thing I know for sure if that Iowa and Iowa State for both men and women are in the tournaments.

I do feel like Drake is trending upward. I could see the Bulldogs winning Arch Madness to get in. Unfortunately, that is the only path for both Drake and Northern Iowa for all four programs.

The Bulldogs’ win at Loyola might have been the most impressive win for any team in the Valley this year. It’s hard to win there. Just ask UNI, which was defeated by 30 last week.

A lot of folks in Jasper County have latched on to the Bulldogs in recent years.

Newton native and former standout Cardinal Garrett Sturtz is having quite the season for the Bulldogs. He’s been particularly impactful the past month or so.

In yesterday’s win over Loyola, Sturtz finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists. He played all 40 minutes and was 6-of-10 from the floor.

For the season, Sturtz is averaging 11.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals per contest. Sturtz is shooting 60 percent from the floor and 79 percent from the free-throw line.

He’s started 14 of the 28 games and is averaging 29.6 minutes per contest.

Sturtz also is closing in on 1,000 career points. He’s got 985 of those, including a career-best 312 this winter.

I, for one, am hoping Drake can join Iowa and Iowa State in the NCAA Tournament field. That would mean UNI is out. Sorry Panthers, but I am riding with the Dogs.

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