Michigan State put together a second-half rally, knocking Iowa out of the Big Ten Tournament and into the NIT.
One of the problems I have about the NCAA tournament is when you have a team with a losing record in the field.
That means a team, like the Liberty Flames (15-20), who won their conference tournament, knocked out a team like Iowa (21-12), who finished sixth in the toughest conference in America.
I don’t see why the committee can’t say you at least have to have a winning record like the NIT does.
The Flames could realistically go 0-31, win three or four games in their league tourney and get in the big dance.
The Hawkeyes had two overtime losses this year. One was at Purdue and the other was a double-overtime loss at Wisconsin. They also lost two close games to Michigan State in which they led most of the game, and that brutal 4-point loss at Nebraska when they led by 16.
Iowa also lost at Minnesota by 3.
If the Hawks win at least one of those, would they be at the big dance?
The Hawks will be a No. 3 seed and host Indiana State (18-14) Wednesday night at Carver in the opening round of the NIT.
The Sycamores are coached by former Hawkeye assistant coach Greg Lansing. They beat UNI twice and lost to Drake in Des Moines.
Iowa assistant coach Sherman Dillard was head coach of the Sycamores from 1994-97 where he was 29-51.
Indiana State finished 9-9 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
“It’s definitely a good thing for us to be able to continue playing,” said junior guard Devyn Marble. “We’re looking forward to it and making sure we stay focused and take care of business.”
The Hawkeyes opened the Big Ten Tournament beating Northwestern 73-59 last Thursday at Chicago in the first game.
Iowa jumped out early, held off a late rally and won their 21st game of the season.
The Hawks could have really crushed the Wildcats with a little better shooting. They shot 47 percent in the first half and only 28 percent in the second. Iowa also missed 11 free throws (21-32).
The good news is they dominated the boards (48-31), Mike Gesell was back (13 points, three assists, two boards and one steal) and Melsahn Basabe had his second straight double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots).
Mike brings the outside shooting Iowa needs (2-4 from 3-point land) and was 3-3 from the free throw line.
Devyn Marble led the way with 19 points and six rebounds.
Devyn had been the leader when Mike was out, doing a good job of running the offense and he only had one turnover.
Adam Woodbury and Gabe Olaseni continue to give solid minutes in the post.
Adam, who didn’t even get a shot off against Nebraska at Lincoln, didn’t score against Purdue, finished the regular season 4-7 against Illinois and 6-6 in the last home game against Nebraska.
Adam was 3-8 against the Wildcats scoring 7 with four rebounds in 17 minutes. He looks more comfortable down low hitting bank shots and scoring inside on jump hooks.
It would be nice to see a couple of more dunks but that will come with maturity.
Gabe had a career-high seven blocked shots against Illinois and followed that with three blocks against Nebraska in the last two regular season games.
Both off those guys can pass and really clog up the middle.
I didn’t have a good feeling going into the game with Michigan State last Friday.
The Spartans are a big-time physical team, the have good athletes and Tom Izzo is a good coach.
Michigan State beat the Hawks 62-59 on Jan. 10 in Iowa City.
In that game, Devyn Marble didn’t play because of injury and Michigan State didn’t have its first lead until 9:07 left in the game. Iowa had 18 turnovers, the Spartans 12, and the Hawks were out rebounded, 36-35.
That’s seven more possessions and the Spartans had a 9-3 advantage in second-half points.
The Hawks shot 25 percent from 3-point range (4-16) and 60 percent (9-15) from the free throw line in the first loss.
In the game last Friday, which Iowa lost 59-56, the Spartans had a 34-27 advantage on the boards and the Hawks had 19 turnovers, Michigan State 13.
That’s 13 more possessions plus they had a 15-9 advantage on second-chance points.
It’s amazing that Iowa stayed ahead most the game with all of those extra chances the Spartans had.
You can talk about that bad calls Iowa got, Mike Gesell playing hurt, Devyn Marble getting into foul trouble and no Iowa player in double figures but good teams overcome that and the Hawkeyes are not quite there yet.
Iowa had both freshmen guards running the show when the Spartans went on their 22-2 second half run to take the lead for the first time with four minutes left.
Mike and Anthony combined for 15 points, four rebounds, three assists, five steals and eight turnovers.
You cut those turnovers in half and who knows, but it didn’t happen.
This week I’d like to thank Premier Auto and Rage Grafix.
Premier is a good location, especially for me, right off Highway 965. They started out doing body work and painting but are now a full service shop.
I’ve seen some of their paint and body work and it is outstanding.
I’m only a couple of blocks away so I can drop my car off for an oil change and walk home .
Rage Grafix is run by Matt Gerard who I have known since he worked at Holiday Foods.
They have a great variety of Hawkeye shirts plus City and West High shirts.
They also do screen printing, embroidery, vinyl decals, banners, business cards, local school apparel and custom apparel.
It’s a great location right off highway 965.