Field of 68 Projection: Iowa Rattles Off 3 Crucial Wins to Solidify Spot in the Field

SelectionSunday

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EDEN PRAIRIE, MN – Here’s how our Field of 68 projection looks through 10 weeks of college basketball’s 18-week regular season. Only 55 days until Selection Sunday.

Week 10 Team of the Week: #35 Iowa – Heading into last Sunday the Hawkeyes (12-6, 4-3 Big Ten) were in critical condition and squarely on the bubble with a 9-6 record. So how did they respond, even without starting wing Patrick McCaffery (anxiety issues)? The Hawkeyes rattled off consecutive wins @ Rutgers and at home vs. Michigan and Maryland to solidify their spot in the field.

An * denotes the automatic qualifier (conference leader and/or best NET ranking) in a multiple-bid conference. Current NET ranking is noted in parentheses.

FIELD OF 68 PROJECTION (through games played January 15, 2023)
America East (1): UMBC (197)

American (1): Houston (1)

ACC (8): Virginia (15), Duke (27), NC State (29), North Carolina (33), Miami (39), *Clemson (49), Pitt (58), Wake Forest (76)

ASUN (1): Liberty (68)

Atlantic 10 (1): Dayton (62)

Big East (5): UConn (7), *Xavier (17), Marquette (18), Creighton (24), Providence (37)

Big Sky (1): Eastern Washington (149)

Big South (1): Longwood (135)

Big Ten (9): *Purdue (4), Rutgers (16), Illinois (23), Indiana (32), Iowa (35), Michigan State (42), Penn State (51), Maryland (52), Wisconsin (67)

Big XII (7): *Kansas (5), Iowa State (10), Texas (11), Kansas State (14), Baylor (19), TCU (21), Oklahoma (44)

Big West (1): UC-Irvine (86)

Colonial (1): College of Charleston (50)

Conference USA (1): FAU (13)

Horizon (1): Youngstown State (103)

Ivy (1): Cornell (89)

MAAC (1): Siena (154)

MAC (1): Kent (38)

MEAC (1): Morgan State (209)

Missouri Valley (1): Southern Illinois (100)

Mountain West (4): Boise State (20), *Nevada (28), San Diego State (31), New Mexico (36)

NEC (1): Fairleigh Dickinson (292)

OVC (1): SIU-Edwardsville (124)

Pac 12 (4): *UCLA (6), Arizona (12), Arizona State (40), USC (69)

Patriot (1): Colgate (122)

SEC (5): Tennessee (2), *Alabama (3), Auburn (26), Arkansas (27), Missouri (53)

SoCon (1): Samford (145)

Southland (1): Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (201)

SWAC (1): Southern (192)

Summit (1): Oral Roberts (61)

Sun Belt (1): Marshall (70)

WCC (2): *Saint Mary’s (8), Gonzaga (9)

WAC (1): Seattle (119)
___________________________
Last 4 In: Creighton (24), Indiana (32), USC (69), Wake Forest (76)

First 4 Out: Ohio State (22), UCF (43), Mississippi State (54), Northwestern (59)

8 to Watch: West Virginia (30), Utah State (34), Kentucky (41), Sam Houston (45), Memphis (46), North Texas (47), Florida (48), Virginia Tech (55)

Non-Power 6 At-Large Bids (4): Gonzaga (9), Boise State (20), San Diego State (31), New Mexico (36)
___________________________
In With the New (14): Boise State, Cornell, Liberty, Marshall, Maryland, Morgan State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Seattle, Siena, Southern Illinois, UMBC, USC, Youngstown State

Out With the Old (14): Indiana State, Iona, Milwaukee, Mississippi State, Norfolk State, Ohio State, Princeton, Southern Miss, Stetson, UMass-Lowell, UNLV, Utah, Utah Valley, West Virginia

TEAMS ON BUBBLE WATCH IN WEEK 11 (current status in parentheses)
Wisconsin (in)
Oklahoma (in)
Memphis (out)
Pitt (in)
Maryland (in)
Northwestern (first 4 out)
Boise State (in)
Arizona State (in)
USC (last 4 in)
Indiana (last 4 in)
Wake Forest (last 4 in)
North Texas (out)
Penn State (in)
Creighton (last 4 in)
UCF (first 4 out)
Ohio State (first 4 out)
Kentucky (out)
Mississippi State (first 4 out)
Texas A&M (out)

NEXT PROJECTION: Sunday, January 22
 
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60's Guy

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New Mexico moved to 16 and 2 with a huge win over San Diego State. Mountain West is tough!
Can they scrape enough wins together to stay in the top 4 of the conference and make the field at season's end? Mashburn and House are the heart and soul of the team...either with an off night, fouls or nicked up and they lose.
 

Cayman

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How far off are Michigan and Indiana? Just glancing at schedules, I didn't realize Michigan had a loss to Central Michigan, which I assume is weighing them down, and no great wins either. Indiana's home loss to Northwestern isn't great, but they did beat North Carolina and Wisconsin.
 

Johnnyboy18

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At least I don't have to hear about Craig Smith making the tournament in his 2nd year anymore. Weird that the tournament field isn't the same as it was in December.
 

SelectionSunday

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At least I don't have to hear about Craig Smith making the tournament in his 2nd year anymore. Weird that the tournament field isn't the same as it was in December.
Yep, it never is. It's very fluid the first 2+ months. Things finally start settling in late January.
 


golfing18now

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This looks like the weakest collective tournament resume for the Big Ten in a number of years, with the obvious exception of Purdue. A number of teams right along the cut line and no other teams likely to receive a top four seed. Am I making this up or is that your perception as well?
 

SelectionSunday

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This looks like the weakest collective tournament resume for the Big Ten in a number of years, with the obvious exception of Purdue. A number of teams right along the cut line and no other teams likely to receive a top four seed. Am I making this up or is that your perception as well?
I agree.

Purdue in both appearance and resume is head and shoulders above everyone else. If you asked 10 different people who they thought the second best team in the Big Ten is you might get 6 or 7 different answers. It's so jumbled that as of today I have 7 Big Ten teams that are either just above the bubble, right on it, or slightly below it.

The Big Ten is going to get its usual gluttony of tourney bids (7+), but they're not going to be seeded to advance very far, other than Purdue. Maybe Illinois if they stay hot, but the Illini are historically the Big Ten's biggest NCAA tourney chokers relative to their talent, so I never trust them.
 
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Bob_Loblaw

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I agree.

Purdue in both appearance and resume is head and shoulders above everyone else. If you asked 10 different people who they thought the second best team in the Big Ten is you might get 6 or 7 different answers. It's so jumbled that as of today I have 7 Big Ten teams that are either just above the bubble, right on it, or slightly below it.

The Big Ten is going to get its usual gluttony of tourney bids (7+), but they're not going to be seeded to go very far, other than Purdue. Maybe Illinois if they stay hot, but the Illini are historically the Big Ten's biggest NCAA tourney chokers relative to their talent, so I never trust them.
I was just thinking this exact same thing. Illinois might be the Big 10's second best team and most likely to get upset in the tournament.
 

SelectionSunday

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How far off are Michigan and Indiana? Just glancing at schedules, I didn't realize Michigan had a loss to Central Michigan, which I assume is weighing them down, and no great wins either. Indiana's home loss to Northwestern isn't great, but they did beat North Carolina and Wisconsin.
Michigan has serious work to do. I think their resume is the worst among Big Ten bubble teams. Indiana in better position, but without Xavier Johnson & Race Thompson I can’t see Hoosiers making the tourney. Too soft.
 



UpAndUnder43

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I was pondering this while driving the other day…

How many Big Ten teams will be ranked this season? I think 11? Means nothing for this but weird to look at.
 

SelectionSunday

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I was pondering this while driving the other day…

How many Big Ten teams will be ranked this season? I think 11? Means nothing for this but weird to look at.
Definitely an odd year in Big Ten. If my memory is correct, Big Ten teams that were ranked at some point this season:

Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Maryland
Michigan State
Ohio State
Purdue
Rutgers
Wisconsin

9 for sure. Maybe Michigan, but I can't recall.
 

UpAndUnder43

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Definitely an odd year in Big Ten. If my memory is correct, Big Ten teams that were ranked at some point this season:

Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Maryland
Michigan State
Ohio State
Purdue
Rutgers
Wisconsin

9 for sure. Maybe Michigan, but I can't recall.
Michigan was ranked preseason and week 2. Maybe more. Quit looking.

So 10 teams have been ranked and currently 2 are? Wild.
 

combes1

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I was just thinking this exact same thing. Illinois might be the Big 10's second best team and most likely to get upset in the tournament.
Getting upset in the tournament is why Underwood has tried to build a different type of roster. Underwood’s sample size is small at Illinois so I’m not sure what conclusions to draw yet. Two tournaments so far. Would have been three except for the cancelled one.

Two years ago was a true upset. Loyola, although they went to the Final Four recently. Houston last year wasn’t an upset. They were the better team. Loaded with athletes. So Underwood has tried to match the Baylor/Houston type rosters. Rather than a big center and small wings, Illinois greatly increased the size of its wings: Shannon, Mayer, Goode (returning soon. He was a projected starter and great shooter who has missed the whole year to date), Melendez, Rodgers. All 6-6 to 6-9. Makes it harder for teams to match up. In the past, teams like Houston overwhelmed the 6-2 wings. Underwood hopes this year’s team is better built for the tourney. Hope he’s right.

Underwood needs to get to the Sweet 16 to silence critics, but he is a heck of a coach. Illinois won the Big Ten last year (and has won more games than any Big Ten team over the last three years) even though Illinois had the most total games missed by rotation players of any team in the country.

Illinois lost all five starters from last year and this is a new team. This year, he tried a press and a five out offense. It worked well in Texas and UCLA wins, but overall it was giving up too many threes and there wasn’t enough movement on offense. He completely revamped the offense and defense four games ago. Drop coverage on defense (lead the Big Ten in blocks) and more screen and roll actions on offense. So far, so good. Long term? Lots of season to play.
 
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