The Big Ten was a competitive conference with a lot of upsets. The top four teams in the conference kept trading wins, so teams have faced adversity all year. Iowa struggled more than any other top ten in the Big Ten, but still somehow managed to still get a #7 seed.
The American Athletic Conference was top-heavy, but Temple came out of nowhere after a weak showing during their non-conference schedule. They finished the year with the AAC regular season title.
Can Iowa shake off their late-season issues?
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The Iowa Hawkeyes looked like they could be on their way to a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament…if the season ended in early February. The month of February and March have been a disaster for the Hawkeyes. Jarrod Uthoff just went ice cold and they lost to mediocre teams. They went on to lose in the first round of the Big Ten tournament to Illinois.
Temple had the exact opposite season trajectory. They were beat-up in their non-conference schedule. They scheduled tough and lost to North Carolina, Butler and Utah on neutral courts. They caught fire during the AAC schedule and won the regular season title. They love to control the clock and play their famous slow tempo.
There’s one thing I know for sure, this game will be low-scoring. I’m not sold on Iowa surviving the first round. The Hawkeyes got the #7 seed based on their play from few months ago. They haven’t played at that level in a month and a half. I’m taking Temple for the upset.
Prediction: #10 Temple Owls
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.