The 2012-2013 Iowa Hawkeyes made big advances to their squad going to the NIT Championship Game and losing to an obviously good Baylor team. In the 2013-2014 season, the Hawkeyes improved even more. While the records from both seasons were identical before postseason games, the 2014 Hawkeyes are a lock to make the NCAA Tournament. They even had a first-team All-Big Ten player in Roy Devyn Marble and a third-team All-Big player in Aaron White.
So, how did Iowa get there? Well, to give you the abridged version, they started the season winning every game they should. Then they beat some teams they shouldn't once B1G season started, but then fell flat on their butt backing into the B1G Tournament. And when they got there, they lost again.
What about the long version? It goes a little something like this. Iowa started the season going 7-0 with not many big wins, but a nice OT win against Xavier. In those seven games, Iowa scored at will averaging 89.9 points per game. Defensively, they showed themselves to be one of the best rebounding teams in the country and that was partly the reason why they only gave up 57.1 points per game during that stretch.
Ok, so the competition wasn't the greatest, but it wasn't that far off. The Hawkeyes averaged 82.6 points per game during the regular season, which is sixth best in the country.
Iowa's First Loss
After starting 7-0, the Hawkeyes dropped their first game of the season to Villanova in another OT game. Villanova has proved to be one of the best teams in the country, so the loss wasn't a bad one. From there, Iowa beat Notre Dame, Drake, and FDU before heading to Ames, Iowa.
The Hawkeyes took a seven-point lead into half against Iowa State, but couldn't hold the lead by game's end. The Cyclones won by three on big games from Georges Niang, Melvin Ejim, and Dustin Hogue. The three starting forwards were too much for Iowa's big men. For Iowa, Aaron White played probably his best game of the season scoring 25 points and pulling down 17 rebounds.
After a 25-point win over Arkansas Pine Bluff, Iowa started the B1G season with what was thought to be the worst team in the B1G. Boy were we wrong! Iowa won by 10 at home against Nebraska, but they would have the last laugh by season's end.
One of the most remembered games of the season was the tight loss to Wisconsin that came just two games into the B1G season. Four technical foul free throws due to Fran McCaffery bumping an official ended up being the difference in the four-point Wisconsin win.
McCaffery Out, Big Win In
McCaffery was suspended and there were some who thought Northwestern could sneak out a win against Iowa with him out. This wasn't the case as Iowa won 93-67 and went into Columbus with a little bit of momentum. If there was a date during the season that people realized that Iowa was a contender in the conference then it was January 12, 2014 against Ohio State. Iowa came out firing and led at half by two. Iowa went on to win by 10 because of Roy Devyn Marble's 22 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. He was great defensively as well.
The win against Ohio State was their best at the time and they added another nice win against Minnesota in their next game. After rattling off loss, win, loss, win, loss they won two straight against Michigan and Penn State. Beating Penn State was nothing too exciting, but the win against Michigan was a beatdown from the first few minutes. Iowa went 10 for 17 from beyond the three-point line and the Hawkeyes added another great win to their resume.
Speaking of Falling Objects
Iowa fans should have known something bad was about to come when their game against Indiana was postponed due to falling pieces of the roof. The game was rescheduled, but Iowa's team looked much different from that point on. They went 1-5 with their only win against Purdue at home. They finished the B1G season 9-9 after an 8-4 start. Iowa went from being a likely top four seed in the B1G Tournament to the six seed. It was quite the drop.
What happened to them during that stretch of games? Well, they really just couldn't stop anyone. Minnesota and Indiana put up back-to-back games of 93+ points. Teams were averaging 83 points against them per game. Role players were putting up career highs in points and they weren't just 15 point games. Will Sheehey scored 30 points on %65 shooting. Austin Hollins scored 27 points in Minnesota's big win. Rapheal Davis scored 18, his second highest of career, even though he's only averaging six points per game on the season.
B1G Tournament - Shield Your Eyes
Needless to say, Iowa backed into the B1G Tournament. While the offense was putting up solid numbers, the defense was failing them. Northwestern came into Indianapolis with nothing to lose. They had lost to Iowa by 26 in both games this season. What happened next was completely unexpected.
Roy Devyn Marble scored 25 points on 8 of 18 shooting (not surprising). What was surprising was that the rest of the Hawkeyes' starters shot 2 for 15 from the field. The Hawkeyes' struggled from the field shooting just 32% and the loss was inevitable. They gave up just 66 points, but could not score enough to beat Northwestern. Their 62 points was their lowest offensive total on the season.
Iowa's decline resulted in an 11 seed and a participant in the play-in game. They face off against Tennessee Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio.