IOWA CITY, Ia. – A six-game winning streak to finish the Big Ten season wasn't quite enough for Iowa to secure a coveted double bye in this week's conference basketball tournament.
With first-place Wisconsin's 72-48 win at Ohio State on Sunday, the Hawkeyes (21-10 overall) were locked into the No. 5 seed in the five-day, 14-team event that begins Wednesday in Chicago.
Michigan State, Purdue and Iowa tied for third place in the Big Ten at 12-6, but the Hawkeyes lost head-to-head to both teams in January games.
Iowa will face the winner of the game between Penn State and Nebraska at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the United Center.
If the Hawkeyes win that one as expected, they'd face No. 4 seed Purdue at 1:30 p.m. Friday. The Boilermakers nipped Iowa 67-63 on Jan. 24 in West Lafayette, Ind., although Iowa played most of that game without senior forward Aaron White.
White was limited to four points in seven minutes after suffering a stinger injury in his right side during the early portion of that game. Nonetheless, Iowa rallied to lead the Boilermakers in the final minute before Raphael Davis delivered a 3-pointer with 44 seconds to go.
Ohio State ended up with the No. 6 seed, and Iowa ends up on the top half of a bracket that includes No. 1 seed Wisconsin.
The Big Ten champion Badgers swept Iowa this year, and if both teams keep winning they would face off in Saturday's semifinals.
The Hawkeyes ended the regular season with a 69-52 win over Northwestern behind White's 25 points and eight rebounds in the final home game for Iowa's No. 2 all-time scorer.
"It's been an amazing ride," White said, "and I'm not ready for it to be over with."