Selection Sunday: Iowa basketball draws 5-seed, matchup with Richmond in Midwest Regional
Iowa men's basketball historic run to the Big Ten Tournament championship game ended with its first tournament championship since 2006. Shortly after, the Hawkeyes learned their destination in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Iowa will be a 5-seed in the Midwest region. They'll play 12-seed Richmond, the Atlantic 10 champion, on Thursday of this week. Their tournament résumé features a No. 14 ranking in the NCAA NET rankings, four Quad 1 wins and zero bad losses (Quad 3 & 4).
The last six of the regular season explain why Iowa rose so quickly in NCAA Tournament seeding. Since Feb. 1, Iowa holds a 12-2 record, culminating in a Top 5 regular season finish in the Big Ten standings. Wins aside, their dominance in those games also factors in. Iowa's only won two games by single digits during that stretch, both in the Big Ten Tournament, an 80-77 win over Indiana and the 75-66 championship win over Purdue.
Iowa's win over Purdue on Sunday was unquestionably their biggest and most impressive of the season. Purdue won both regular season matchups and were favored entering Sunday's game, which was held in front of a de facto home crowd in Indianapolis. However, Iowa delivered a near wire-to-wire performance, leading for 33:31 of game clock.
Sophomore star Keegan Murray led the way with 19 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Not surprisingly, he was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. The National Player of the Year and All-American candidate broke the Big Ten Tournament record for points scored (103) and during the tournament surpassed Luka Garza for the Iowa all-time single season scoring record.
Overall, Iowa enters the tournament field with a 26-9 overall record. Their 26 wins is the second most in school history (behind 1986-87).
Iowa will look to advance to their first Sweet Sixteen since the 1998-99 season. In order to do that, they'll have to beat Richmond and the winner of the Providence vs. South Dakota State matchup.
If they do that, the party is on in Chicago for the Sweet 16.
Kennington Lloyd Smith III covers Iowa Hawkeyes football and men's basketball for the Des Moines Register. You can connect with Kennington on Twitter @SkinnyKenny_ or email him at email@example.com.