Hawkeyes reminisce on March Madness memories

Iowa players explored their past NCAA Tournament experiences ahead of the Hawkeyes' first-round game against Cincinnati on Friday.

Iowa+forward+Ryan+Kriener+dribbles+the+ball+during+the+Iowa+basketball+practice+at+Nationwide+Arena+in+Columbus%2C+Ohio+on+Thursday%2C+March+21%2C+2019.+The+Hawkeyes+will+compete+against+the+Cincinnati+Bearcats+tomorrow+in+the+NCAA+Tournament.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Hawkeyes reminisce on March Madness memories

Iowa forward Ryan Kriener dribbles the ball during the Iowa basketball practice at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday, March 21, 2019. The Hawkeyes will compete against the Cincinnati Bearcats tomorrow in the NCAA Tournament.

Iowa forward Ryan Kriener dribbles the ball during the Iowa basketball practice at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday, March 21, 2019. The Hawkeyes will compete against the Cincinnati Bearcats tomorrow in the NCAA Tournament.

Katina Zentz

Iowa forward Ryan Kriener dribbles the ball during the Iowa basketball practice at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday, March 21, 2019. The Hawkeyes will compete against the Cincinnati Bearcats tomorrow in the NCAA Tournament.

Katina Zentz

Katina Zentz

Iowa forward Ryan Kriener dribbles the ball during the Iowa basketball practice at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday, March 21, 2019. The Hawkeyes will compete against the Cincinnati Bearcats tomorrow in the NCAA Tournament.

Pete Ruden, Sports Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






COLUMBUS, Ohio – In the middle of March when Ryan Kriener was growing up, he could always be found at his parents’ March Madness parties.

With wings and other popular sports snacks surrounding, he found himself inside the house locked in to the TV screen when games were close.

When they weren’t competitive, he could be seen shooting hoops in the driveway with the other kids.

But this year, he won’t be anywhere near his parents’ house, as No. 10 seed Iowa made the trip to Columbus, Ohio, to take on seventh-seeded Cincinnati in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.

“I’ve been telling everyone it’s kind of like a driveway moment,” Kriener said. “You’re a kid in the driveway shooting hoops, counting down the clock – this is everything you’ve dreamed about. It’s kind of surreal.”

This year is different, though. Iowa hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since the 2015-16 season, leaving Nicholas Baer as the only Hawkeye with experience playing in the Big Dance.

To know what it’s like, the rest of the Iowa players have to rely on their previous memories of March.

“I was in the Bahamas when Buddy Hield’s senior year was going on,” Kriener said. “He’s from the Bahamas, and everybody there was going crazy. Everybody was around the TVs. It was awesome. I remember he hit some huge shot… It was almost like the whole island was roaring.”

While Baer is the only current player for the Black and Gold with NCAA experience, there was once a time where he didn’t even have experience playing the game at the college level.

As a kid, Baer would instead go on trips to watch the magic of March Madness happen in person. He said his favorite memory now is Adam Woodbury’s buzzer-beater over Temple in 2016 when he was a redshirt freshman, but things were different before that.

“When I was growing, I’d go to the different regionals with my brother and some of my family friends,” Baer said. “Just like the closest ones – Omaha, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Chicago, wherever we could. Just make a trip out of it and really enjoy it that way.”

One of the best parts of the NCAA Tournament is often watching the biggest stars lead their team on a run.

Whether it’s a top-notch program or a Cinderella story, the games with those players seem to reach the upper echelon of March Madness contests.

As magical as the runs are to watch, they can also set a fire in a future player.

“It’s almost like every kid’s dream just being in that position,” guard Maishe Dailey said. “Being a Carmelo [Anthony], or a Kemba [Walker], or a Jimmer {Fredette], just leading their team like Steph Curry did.”

Along with the runs, there’s one other tradition of March Madness that will never die: filling out a bracket.

Most Hawkeyes completed a bracket growing up but have stopped since making the tournament. That, however, is for good reason.

“We want ourselves to go all the way,” forward Joe Wieskamp said. “I just couldn’t see myself picking against us.”