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Iowa Basketball: Hawkeyes Draw South Dakota in the First Round of the NIT

Hawkeyes draw South Dakota in the first round of this year's NIT.

The Hawkeyes (18-14) sure did flirt with the NCAA Tournament this season. 

It was a year that almost nobody expected the Hawkeyes to even sniff the big dance, so them being on the "first four out" list was quite the accomplishment for one of the youngest teams in America.

They played their way into the conversation by winning their final four regular season games, which included two huge wins over Maryland and Wisconsin on the road. A crushing loss to Indiana in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament killed Iowa's chances of playing in this year's NCAA tourney, but what they did to just simply have their name thrown into the hat was sort of incredible to watch.

By being on that "first four out" list, the Hawkeyes were automatically awarded a one seed in the National Invitation Tournament, along with Syracuse, Illinois State, and California. 

They found out they'll be taking on Summit League regular season champion, South Dakota on Wednesday night inside Carver Hawkeye Arena.

The Coyotes finished 12-4 in the regular season to claim the crown and were impressive late in the season, winning their final 6 regular season games. They were bounced from the conference tourney in the second round by eventual champ, the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.

Former Hawkeye guard, Trey Dickerson is a junior for the Coyotes after playing junior college ball at Williston State and playing one season in Iowa City. Dickerson is the team's third leading scorer, averaging over 10 points per game in about 22 minutes per contest.

Sophomore guard, Matt Mooney, leads the team averaging over 18 points per game. He was the Summit league's third leading scorer.

The Hawkeyes are 5-2 under Fran McCaffery in the NIT. Their last appearance came back in 2013 when the Hawkeyes made it all the way to Madison Square Garden before falling to Baylor in the title game. 

If all goes well for Iowa they'll play three home games before reaching the final four, which is again held in New York City at Madison Square Garden. 

If Iowa beats South Dakota on Wednesday, they'll advance to play the winner of TCU and Fresno State. 

The Hawkeyes and Coyotes will tip it off in Iowa City on Wednesday at 6 p.m. CT.

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