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Old 03-06-2015, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Calera, AL
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March Madness is soon upon us, and it's been over 30 years since a team has represented the state of Iowa in the Final Four. There have been plenty of Sweet 16 runs since then, and there have been teams good enough for a deep run in the Dance but fizzled out for one reason or another, but nobody since the 1980 Iowa team has broken through and made a truly epic run.

This year might be different. There are three teams who have all but punched their ticket to the Tournament, and all three are playing for seeding. Iowa State has the talent, Northern Iowa stymies their opponents with their methodical, disciplined play, and Iowa might be the hottest team nobody's really talking about. There's of course no guarantee that any of them will make the FF, but with three Top 25 caliber teams (okay, so UI isn't ranked right now, but they are at least winning) one can't help but wonder how far these teams could go.

If you don't factor in UI wrestling, Iowa is one of the most overlooked states in the college sports world, so for a state that's long been thirsty for something big, a Final Four run just might be what the doctor ordered.
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Old 03-06-2015, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Jonesboro
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Are you recalling the 1987 Final Four game up in Seattle where Iowa coach Tom Davis went conservative in the 2nd half & helped engineer Iowa to lose their huge half time lead against eventual national champ UNLV in the national semi-final game?
Iowa State's closest recent call was in 2000 when they lost to eventual national champ Michigan State in the Midwest Regional final.
UNI's best claim to fame was a few years ago when they took out #1 seeded Kansas.
And way back when, Drake was a power in the then-prestigious Missouri Valley Conference & took UCLA to the mat before losing in a Final Four semi final game amidst UCLA's incredible run of national titles.
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Old 03-06-2015, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Calera, AL
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That 1987 team was LOADED. Roy Marble (elder), B.J. Armstrong, man there was some legit talent on that team. If it was Lute Olsen coaching that team, I think they might have brought home the bacon. Ole Doc Tom was a good coach and probably isn't given enough credit, but just wasn't able to get Iowa over the hump. Lute bailed for greener pastures before he could really make Iowa a national power. George Raveling was a tremendous recruiter, but not the greatest at X's and O's so his success was somewhat marginalized.

Iowa State in 2001 probably should have made the Sweet 16 at the very least (they were a 2 seed and got knocked off by Hampton in the opening round), Iowa was a 3 seed in 2006 but got upset by Northwestern State (AKA the Day Iowa Basketball Died)... again, probably a Sweet 16 caliber team, but probably victimized by its own coaching (Alford is an above average regular season coach, but absolutely horrible in the postseason... he did a bunch of nothing with some pretty good New Mexico teams too).

That said, I think a lot of Alabamians (where I now live) would *kill* to have the success that the D-1 Iowa programs have. Granted some of them DGAF since it's football first, second, and third, but the general college basketball scene here is atrocious. When UAB is your prize pony most years (and even then they're hardly a lock for the Dance) you know your hoops scene leaves a lot to be desired.

Last edited by fezzador; 03-06-2015 at 02:36 PM..
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Old 03-07-2015, 09:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fezzador View Post
If you don't factor in UI wrestling, Iowa is one of the most overlooked states in the college sports world, so for a state that's long been thirsty for something big, a Final Four run just might be what the doctor ordered.
I can agree with this statement. Here's what I perceive about Iowa college sports: there doesn't seem to be a high level of consistency in the major sports--football and basketball namely, but you can also throw in baseball. On the football side, it's been a while since UI and ISU have done anything of note, except when ISU knocked off Oklahoma State a few years ago. But the Hawkeyes have been woefully inconsistent under Ferentz. His first few seasons there were really good, as he brought them from the doldrums. They went to the Orange Bowl, but lost to USC. I believe Iowa would've played for the BCS title had it not been for a 4Q collapse against ISU.

On the basketball end, not making sustained, deep NCAA tournament runs hurt as well. Teams like Kansas, Michigan State, UK, UNC and Duke do this year in and year out. Teams like Butler and Gonzaga have become household names because of what they've done.

I have no idea how your in-state teams do in baseball.
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Old 03-07-2015, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Calera, AL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golden eagles fan View Post
I can agree with this statement. Here's what I perceive about Iowa college sports: there doesn't seem to be a high level of consistency in the major sports--football and basketball namely, but you can also throw in baseball. On the football side, it's been a while since UI and ISU have done anything of note, except when ISU knocked off Oklahoma State a few years ago. But the Hawkeyes have been woefully inconsistent under Ferentz. His first few seasons there were really good, as he brought them from the doldrums. They went to the Orange Bowl, but lost to USC. I believe Iowa would've played for the BCS title had it not been for a 4Q collapse against ISU.

On the basketball end, not making sustained, deep NCAA tournament runs hurt as well. Teams like Kansas, Michigan State, UK, UNC and Duke do this year in and year out. Teams like Butler and Gonzaga have become household names because of what they've done.

I have no idea how your in-state teams do in baseball.
Don't forget Iowa's 2009 Orange Bowl run, they actually won it that year. While GT was good that year, they weren't the same caliber team as those Pete Carroll teams the first half of the 2000's. Apparently Iowa didn't take their first Orange Bowl seriously as the players were out waterskiing and enjoying the beach scene in Miami, but I'm not sure it would have mattered, USC would have almost certainly won no matter how you slice it. They were likely the best team in the country by the end of 2002, and were every bit as good as the 2003-2005 renditions as well. Outside of 2002 (and even if they beat ISU that year, I still think they would have been snubbed... OSU would trump 98% of teams because of brand name only) they've won games mostly due to good defense and special teams. The offense has, for the most part, been average at best (and below average many years) and when the Hawks have fielded green defenses or been mediocre on special teams, it shows because there's nothing to mask a vanilla offense. The KF tank is running out of fuel, and quickly. Gary Barta is a mediocre AD, at best, and I cannot trust him to pull the trigger. Thankfully, with a new university president coming in later this year, he or she will replace Barta with a more competent AD that will make the necessary changes to make the Iowa football program relevant again. Buyout be damned, the attendance has been slowly declining the past few seasons and will likely continue to do so until KF leaves (whether it be on his, or the administration's terms).

Iowa does have a pretty storied basketball history, they've made 3 Final Fours (only a handful of teams can say that), they're historically an above-average B1G team, but have had serious problems getting over the proverbial hump. They've been mediocre (if not flat-out awful) since Dr. Tom left, and only now are they starting to make some noise again. ISU has historically been a B12 doormat, but have become far more competitive since Johnny Orr took over in the late 70s. They really took off under Tim Floyd and (especially) Larry Eustachy, and made the Elite 8 in 2000. Fred Hoiberg has made them a conference power, taking full advantage of the JUCO route. Northern Iowa has had its moments too... it's the only program in the state that has yet to make a run to the Final Four, but who knows, that might change this year, they're a pretty strong team and only a very big and physical team would have a lot of success against them.

College baseball in Iowa is a complete afterthought. ISU completely gave it up over 20 years ago, and Iowa is usually a cellar-dwellar in the B1G (and that's something because the B1G is AWFUL at baseball). That might be different because the Hawks are doing fairly well thus far. They're hardly a lock to go to the CWS at this point, but who knows.
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Old 03-08-2015, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Calera, AL
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MVC Tournament is now UNI's to lose after Wichita State's early exit.
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:42 PM
 
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
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Originally Posted by fezzador View Post
MVC Tournament is now UNI's to lose after Wichita State's early exit.
And they tried their best to do so having to come back from an 18 pt. deficit.
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Calera, AL
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Illinois State was clearly no pushover, they knocked off Wichita State yesterday.

That said, the MVC isn't nearly as deep as it was several years ago (they routinely sent 3 or even 4 teams into the Dance). There's UNI, WSU, and then there's the rabble. Had Illinois State knocked off two Top 25 teams in consecutive days, it would have also eaten up a Power Five bubble team's slot.
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Old 03-10-2015, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
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Originally Posted by atler8 View Post
Are you recalling the 1987 Final Four game up in Seattle where Iowa coach Tom Davis went conservative in the 2nd half & helped engineer Iowa to lose their huge half time lead against eventual national champ UNLV in the national semi-final game?
That wasn't the final four, I believe it was an Elite 8 game. Last time any Iowa team was in the Final Four was Iowa, 1980.

I'm really looking forward to the NCAA tournament this year. Really makes it interesting having 3 "local" teams in the tourney and unlike last time this occurred, all three will have a decent seed. (I thought I heard on the radio that the last time all three schools were in, Iowa State had the best seed at a #9. None of the three should have that low of a seeding this year).
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Old 03-10-2015, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Calera, AL
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As it stands, ISU is looking at about a 3 seed, UNI is projected as a 4 seed and UI is looking like a 7 seed. UNI's conference tourney is done (they won it), so ISU and Iowa will be playing to improve their seeding. Even if Iowa State wins the Big 12 (they have a good shot) I'm not sure if it's enough to bump them to a 2. An early exit might push them down to a 4 though. If Iowa makes a deep run in the B1G tourney (at least semi's with a strong showing against Wisconsin) they might get a 6.
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