Sports Opinion: Men’s state university basketball teams must step up to match last year’s March Madness

Last year in Iowa all three state colleges knocked off a No. 1-ranked team at some point in the season. Everyone was ranked at one point throughout the year, and all three made it to the NCAA tournament in March.

This year, Iowa, Iowa State and UNI have struggled much more. Nobody in the state is ranked right now, and hopes for a spot in the national tournament for some don’t look good.

Last year Iowa finished 21-10 and made the NCAA tournament as a No. 7 seed. They lost to Villanova in the second round, who went on to win it all.

Their senior Peter Jok does most of the scoring this year, and he has shot a good percentage so far. With two freshman in the starting lineup, things are looking good for the years to come.

They have already beaten UNI and Iowa State this year, which puts them ahead, but they have only beaten two ranked teams. This could put their tournament hopes in jeopardy.

They sit at 15-13 right now with tougher games the rest of the way. If they can win both of the remaining 3 conference games against ranked Maryland and Wisconsin, they could maybe get in as a low seeded team and take that momentum into the tournament.

If people sleep on the Hawkeyes, they could pull off some big upset. They have a chance to win the Big 10 tournament as the conference isn’t having a good year.

For Iowa State, they have had a rollercoaster of a season. They seem to hit stride with a couple good wins but can’t keep it going. They had the highlight win when the knocked off No. 3 Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse. They have also had a fair share of losses to teams they shouldn’t be losing to.

They sit at 18-9 with 3 regular season games to go. Last year they finished 21-9 but had a much deeper bench. They lost star players Jameel McKay, Abdel Nader and Georges Niang. They were a No. 4 seed last year and made it to the Sweet 16 and lost to Virginia.

This year they have good shooters and guard play, but don’t have experienced big guys.

Monte Morris is the greatest leader they have in their offense. He can handle the ball and get to the rim better than anyone on the team. When that isn’t there, he can kick out to guys like Naz Mitrou-Long or Matt Thomas, who can hit a three from anywhere.

They are playing well as of now, but who knows how long it will last. They had a big win on Tuesday on the road against Texas Tech in overtime. They have found a new post who shows serious potential. The freshman Solomon Young has made his way into the starting line up. He recorded a double double in the win against Kansas State last week.

They still have to face West Virginia and Baylor yet this season. Both teams are ranked in the top 10. They are projected at a No. 9 seed for the NCAA tournament, which is fitting for their record and losses, but the Cyclones are a good No. 9-seeded team. They can go on run and get hot if teams aren’t careful. Kansas learned this the hard way a couple weeks ago.

For UNI, they have a very similar record as last year, which is really surprising. UNI had a really successful season last year, and they were seconds away from reaching the Sweet Sixteen again.

This year the team has struggled. They are young and just lack experience. They rely heavily on Jeremy Morgan do to most of the scoring, which doesn’t always happen. He can go off for a lot of points, but when he is having an off night, the team seems to struggle.

They have a 14-13 record right now (at deadline), with one game remaining. Unless UNI can win the MVC tournament, which could happen, a bid for March Madness isn’t likely.

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