Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

Another year, another March meltdown.

After Iowa’s run of success earlier this season led me to believe it would finish strong in the regular season and in the Big Ten Tournament, I can see where I went wrong.

Iowa shouldn’t have needed buzzer-beaters to defeat Northwestern and Rutgers. It was a sign of the downfall to come.

Sure, there’s a chance Iowa beats Northwestern or Illinois, and I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised at either of those outcomes. But if the Hawkeyes keep the downward trend going, that’s going to be difficult.

Illinois has the chance to tear the Hawkeye defense apart with the play of its guards. Ayo Dosunmu and Trent Frazier have caused problems this season, leading the Illini with 14.1 and 13.6 points per game, respectively.

Northwestern could cause a problem as well, given that Iowa needed a 15-point comeback in 4:30 to beat the Wildcats at home.

Iowa also holds a record of 0-5 in its last five games in the month of March. The Hawkeyes haven’t won a game in March since the 2016-17 season, when they beat South Dakota in the NIT.

Iowa seemed to primed to bounce back against Nebraska on Sunday, but it blew a 16-point lead in 47 seconds. That’s not going to give momentum to a team that was already scuffling.

Would I be surprised if Iowa won on Thursday? No, it’s entirely possible. Is it likely the Hawkeyes win? Not exactly.

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