Hawks Invited to the Big Dance

The never say die Iowa Hawkeyes received news on Sunday evening that their dance cards have been punched on to the NCAA tournament. Iowa received a 10 seed and will play 7th seeded Cincinnati on Thursday in Indianapolis. Game one begins at 11:20 central, and Iowa's game will begin 30 minutes after its conclusion.

Iowa entered the 2005 Big Ten Tournament knowing that it needed to prove to the NCAA selection committee that it could be competitive against marquee opponents in the post-Pierre Pierce era of Hawkeye basketball.

Iowa took a three-game winning streak into the tournament, it's late February win against Ohio State enhanced after the Buckeyes ended Illinois' undefeated season in the last game of the regular season portion of Big Ten play.

The Hawkeyes easily dispatched a shorthanded Purdue team in the tournament's opening round, and then they pulled a major upset in beating second seeded Michigan State on Friday.

Iowa's last-second loss to Wisconsin on Saturday was the icing on Iowa's resume.

They wound up 6-4 over their final ten games, they won 21 games overall and they won seven of 15 games against Top 50 RPI opponents. Iowa's 15 games against said competition was the most for any team in the RPI top 100.

All of that, but most importantly proving that it could be competitive without Pierce, paved the way for Iowa's second NCAA birth in the six years of the Steve Alford era. This is the first ‘at large' bid for an Alford coached basketball team.

This is Iowa's first 'at large' bid since the 1998-1999 Hawkeyes received a #5 seed in Tom Davis' final year in Iowa City.

It is not the lowest seed an Iowa team has ever received, as the 1985-1986 Hawkeyes were an 11-seed. They lost in the first round to North Carolina State with George Ravelling as head coach.

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