I type this at 1 p.m., Sunday. It has yet to be confirmed that Iowa won’t be among the 68-team NCAA men’s basketball tournament field.
If the Hawkeyes are again NIT-bound, it will make seven consecutive years the Hawkeyes have been outside of the NCAAs. Since that tournament was expanded to 64 teams in 1985, here are the longest NCAA droughts for each Big Ten program. (I’ve already counted this season for Nebraska and Northwestern. If either gets in as an at-large team, we’ve got quite a story on our hands.) Iowa’s longest drought prior to the current one was three seasons, 2002-2004.
Northwestern 29 seasons, 1985-2013
Michigan 10 seasons, 1999-2008 (Seems impossible, doesn’t it?)
Penn State 9 seasons, 2001-2010
Wisconsin 9 seasons, 1985-1993
Iowa 6 seasons, 2007-2012
Ohio State 6 seasons, 1993-1998
Minnesota 5 seasons, 2000-2004
Indiana 3 seasons, 2009-2011
Purdue 3 seasons, 2004-2006
Michigan State 3 seasons, 1987-1989
Illinois 2 seasons, 1991-1992
Now, for some other thoughts as we wait for the white smoke from the NCAA’s selection committee:
* Who wants to see Steve Alford’s New Mexico team play Northwestern State this week at Auburn Hills, Mich.?
* Who wants to see Iowa State play Greg McDermott’s Creighton team in the first round? Or Larry Eustachy’s Colorado State team?
* Creighton will have as many Iowans as any of the other 67 NCAA teams, including Iowa State (Bubu Palo, and deep reserves Austin McBeth and Tyler Ellerman). Creighton’s Iowans are players. Doug McDermott of Ames, of course, is an All-America who averages 23.1 points. Grant Gibbs of Linn-Mar averages 8.6 points and 5.9 assists. Will Artino of Waukee is in the Bluejays’ rotation, and had five rebounds in the Missouri Valley Conference title game last Sunday.
* If Iowa plays Northeastern in the first round of the NIT, it could be the first team in NCAA history to beat Northwestern and Northeastern within a week. Or so I’m guessing. This site, by the way, projects an Iowa-Northeastern first-round NIT game, and a No. 1 NIT seed for the Hawkeyes.
*I watched the Pac-12 title game Saturday night just to listen to Bill Walton. Here were some of his gems: (For a much-more complete collection, I recommend this site.)
“The conference that has all the records! The conference that has all the perfect demographics, all the cool spots! This event this week has been one of the greatest things I’ve ever participated in my whole life! It went over the top today, because at the MGM Grand, they had a pool party this afternoon. Oh my gosh! The bands were there! The bikinis were out in full force! It was absolutely remarkable!”
“Oregon finding offensive rhythm here for Ducks. Coming over over Multonmah Falls here in the Columbia Gorge stroking it beautifully. Then maybe the McKenzie River. Nothing but net. Mist, in the cool, spring air.”
“Oregon believes! Lewis & Clark were right! There IS a way through!”
“Jonathon Loyd part of the triumvirate of players who led an explosion similar to Mount St. Helens.”
“I love little fast guys. I used to be one.”
And before tip-off: “This is gonna be better than perfect.”
Now, for some “Mad Men” March Madness:
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