This NCAA tournament has become one nightmare scenario after another for Iowa.
First, the Hawkeyes shared the 11th seed with undervalued Tennessee and had to play a first-round game in Dayton. Then, the Hawkeyes lost to the Volunteers in overtime and watched them dismantle overseeded UMass. Tennessee then missed Duke, which was upset by Mercer, in Raleigh, N.C. Tennessee promptly blasted Mercer and ended up in the Sweet Sixteen, where it will play Michigan in Indianapolis.
If one second-half possession against Tennessee changes, maybe Iowa gets its old Michigan buddies in a rubber match. Thus is the life of a team derailed early in the NCAA tournament.
But that's not why the basketball gods might hate Iowa. Take a peak at the first-weekend survivors. Look to the west: instate rival Iowa State is still alive. Look to the northeast: Big Ten rival Wisconsin is still around. Big Ten foes Michigan State and Michigan are Sweet Sixteen participants.
Iowa lost to Baylor in last year's NIT title game, and the Bears are in the Sweet Sixteen. So is Virginia, the team Iowa ousted in an NIT road quarterfinal last year. Even Dayton, a team Iowa beat two years ago to open NIT play, is still dancing. And (I won't say this too loudly), but former Coach Steve Alford has UCLA in the Sweet Sixteen.
So, do the basketball gods hate Iowa? It could be much, much worse (see poll).