Iowa won’t be the best team in the NCAA Tournament field. They won’t be the most interesting. But, my gosh, will they be the side that plays the most exciting games.
The Hawkeyes outlasted Indiana, 76-70, in overtime Friday night. Once again, guard Jordan Bohannon put on his hero’s cloak and came to the rescue, nailing deep 3s in a single bound. This is becoming a routine thing. In case of emergency, break glass, use Jordan.
It was the fifth straight game for Iowa decided by five or fewer points.
On Tuesday night, the Hawkeyes lost by one to Maryland, unable to convert a chance at the end. Last weekend, Joe Wieskamp banked in a miracle three to stun Rutgers. Before that, Bohannon capped a huge comeback against Northwestern with a game-winning three at the horn. All of these came after Iowa hung on in a nail-biter against the Hoosiers on the road.
What’s the ceiling for this team?
Perhaps it’s a cop-out to say they’ll go as far as Bohannon and some luck will take them. It’s not a great sign that Iowa is playing so many tight games, but the ability to scratch out victory portends good things for March, where close games multiply.
Current bracketologies put the Hawkeyes on the No. 6 or 7 line, which is perfect for a thrilling first-round matchup against Florida or TCU or Wofford or something. At this point it would be irresponsible to bet against another one- or two-point contest when it matters most.
Opposing teams would do well to keep the ball out of Bohannon’s hands when crunch time comes. Eventually one has to learn that touching the hot stove results in a burn.