Iowa women’s basketball’s map through Indianapolis

The Daily Iowan takes a look at the bigger picture as the Hawkeyes head to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Tournament.


Katie Goodale

Forward Megan Gustafson goes for a lay-up during women’s basketball against Northwestern in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on March 3, 2019. Iowa defeated Northwestern 74-50.

Jordan Zuniga, Sports Reporter

March is here, and the No. 10 Iowa women’s basketball team is headed to Indianapolis, which means it’s time for the Big Ten Basketball Tournament.

It has been an impressive season for the Hawkeyes — they’ve posted a 23-6 record, 14-4 in the Big Ten, which gives them the No. 2 seed in the tournament.

While Iowa will primarily be focused on this tournament, the results could have some major implications in its seeding in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

This past weekend, the NCAA Basketball Selection Committee revealed its final top-16 teams, pegging Iowa as the eighth-best team in the country.

If that remains the case going into the tournament, that would mean Iowa would be a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament as well.

Talking about NCAAs is all well and good, but if Iowa hopes to keep its current seeding, it will have to do well this weekend in Indianapolis.

No. 10 seed Indiana will be up first for the Hawkeyes. While Iowa has had the week off, Indiana is coming off a 66-58 win over Minnesota on Thursday night. 

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The Hoosiers entered the tournament with a 19-11 record and boast All-Big Ten second-teamer Ali Patberg, who put up 15.5 points per game and averaged 5 rebounds and 4.9 assists.

Maintaining the No. 2 seed will be the least of Iowa’s worries if it fails to win its first game.

Being one-and-done in the tournament could be enough for the NCAA Selection Committee to drop the Hawkeyes from the top 16 entirely, stripping them of home-court advantage in the tournament.

While a loss could be detrimental, a win should solidify the Hawkeyes as at least a top-16 seed, perhaps making Game 1 the most crucial to win.

Of course, a win isn’t all the Hawkeyes are traveling to Indianapolis for. They want to bring home the program’s third Big Ten Tournament title.

There’s no question this team has the talent to go all the way. However, sometimes it takes more than skill to win.

Luck is also required, and Iowa might just have that with the way the bracket is laid out. 

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Both Michigan and Michigan State are on the opposite side of the bracket and considering the Hawkeyes have a 2-2 against the Michigan teams, that is certainly fortuitous. Instead of either of those squads, the top-seeded team on Iowa’s side of the bracket is Rutgers, a team that is 1-3 against the top four in the Big Ten and a unit Iowa beat, 72-66, on Jan. 23.

All of that makes a run to the championship game a real possibility for the Hawkeyes, and as they have shown all season, they can beat any team in the Big Ten.

An appearance in the Big Ten title game will certainly cement the Hawkeyes as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and a win may even bump them up to a No. 1 seed.