IOWA CITY, Ia. — The Hawkeyes are headed to The Big Apple.
Iowa was one of the first teams to learn their face during Sunday's Selection Show on CBS, and it saw a No. 7 in front of its name in the South Region. The Hawkeyes will face 10th-seeded Temple on Friday at a time to be announced at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Should the Hawkeyes win, they would face the winner of No. 2-seeded Villanova vs. No. 15 UNC-Asheville on Sunday.
Temple (21-11) was the regular-season champion of the American Athletic Conference.
“It’s nice to get in the tournament," Iowa forward Jarrod Uthoff said Sunday night. "We’ve got a job to do to try to win it. So I’m excited.”
It was just over a month ago that the Hawkeyes were 10-1 in Big Ten Conference play and a projected No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but with losses in six of their last eight games they’ll have to win a virtual toss-up then probably pull an upset to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 17 seasons.
After Iowa’s first-game exit Thursday to 12th-seeded Illinois at the Big Ten tournament, all-American Uthoff professed that this team could still make a national-championship run, saying the first 31 games — in which Iowa compiled a 21-10 record — was just the warmup act to the legacy-defining game(s) ahead.
“We’ll be ready to go,” senior teammate Mike Gesell said. “We know we’re one of the best teams in the country.”
The Hawkeyes have earned three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, the first time that’s happened since Tom Davis’ teams from 1991 to 1993.
In 2014, No. 11-seeded Iowa was in the “First Four” in Dayton, Ohio, and lost in overtime to Tennessee.
Last season, No. 7-seeded Iowa went to Seattle and thumped Davidson in the first round — its first NCAA Tournament win as a program since 2001 — before bowing out two nights against Gonzaga.