Welcome to BRACKETWATCH for February 5! This BRACKETWATCH is from mere hours before the Iowa Hawkeyes face Purdue in Directional French Aristocrat. Let's see where all the certified Bracketologists have the Hawks on this fine Wednesday morning:
ESPN (Joe Lunardi, 2/4): 5 seed, Midwest regional, vs. Tulsa
Lunardi's picks are very much in line with the consensus as of Tuesday: Iowa is a 5 seed, and probably not the highest-ranked of those seeds. They would share the line with Butler, Creighton and Kentucky.
More interestingly, Lunardi would have Iowa going to Sacramento to face Tulsa (a phenomenal matchup against a grossly overrated squad if we could get it) and likely Auburn in the second round. That would mean a game against Bruce Fucking Pearl for the right to play in the Sweet 16. I'm all in for that.
SB Nation (Chris Dobbertean, 2/4): 5 seed, Midwest Regional vs. SFA
After a brief dalliance with moving the Hawkeyes to the 4 line and sending them to Iowa City South -- Tampa, Florida -- for the first two rounds last week, our old friend Dobbertean has brought our beloved squad back down to the 5 line as of Tuesday...and still sending them to Tampa. He has Iowa against Stephen F. Austin, currently Kenpom No. 98, the only team in the history of college basketball to beat Duke and lose to Texas A&M Corpus Christi in the same season.
Dobbertean has Iowa in a quadrant with Creighton, who moves up to a 4 seed with a win over Villanova this week. Please, Chris. My heart can only take so much joy.
CBS Sports (Jerry Palm, 2/3): 5 seed, East Regional vs. Yale
Palm has Iowa on the top 5 line as of Monday, but also has Penn State and Michigan State in 4 seed slots, so the Hawkeyes can have either Butler or Villanova. Palm chooses Villanova, because Todd Lickliter never coached there.
In any case, Iowa would face Yale, which is 0-4 against teams in the Kenpom top 90 and played something called Johnson & Wales last month. And yes, if you're keeping track at home, Yale vs. Johnson & Wales is the Most Yale Thing Ever.
Bracket Matrix (2/4): 5 seed
Bracket Matrix isn't so much a predictor as it is a compilation of other predictors. Everyone from Lunardi to a random Iowa fan who is having some trouble against the spread are on here, with the thought being that the knowledge of the masses has some meaning. If you were to play out their current rankings in a pure snake-seeding, Iowa would get Yale in the first round.
Some interesting points from Bracket Matrix: There's a guy who is ranking teams solely by RPI, which is kind of insane given that even the NCAA has finally scrapped RPI as a measurement tool. Buying RealTimeRPI.com was a surefire business move at the time, guy. Anyway, RPI has Iowa as an 8 seed, which is a pretty good explanation as to why it's not used anymore. There are two other sites using computer simulations that have Iowa ranked lower (8 and 7), but there's not another voter in Bracket Matrix that ranks Iowa below a 6 seed.
Kenpom now has Iowa going 6-3 in its last nine games, which would complete a supremely impressive 22-9 (13-7) campaign. Obviously, it has more love for Iowa (solidly a 4 seed on that ranking) than the NET or the voters. It also has Luka Garza leading the race for National Player of the Year, so yeah, we like Kenpom right now.
Two guys we once had on our podcast who are now co-opting each other's style both agree on one thing: Iowa should be in the NCAA Tournament by now, but they're not a lock yet. That's always dangerous ground for the Hawkeyes in the first week of February...or is it?