Faculty basketball picks — Will Iowa’s fashion work at NCAA event time?

Iowa is the latest No. 1 seed in ESPN’s newest Bracketology projection, as a Hawkeyes workforce that has proved to be rather more than simply Luka Garza has been the nation’s foremost offensive juggernaut in 2020-21. However is Fran McCaffery’s program, which has no means been synonymous with journeys to the second weekend of the NCAA event, a real nationwide title contender? ESPN.com’s panel of specialists tackled that query, thriller groups and miracle-working coaches, and the entire high video games of faculty basketball’s fourth weekend of 2020-21.

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Iowa moved to the high line in Bracketology this week, an acceptable spot for a program that has received all six of its video games double digits and scored greater than 90 factors each day out. What NCAA workforce from years previous does this Iowa group most evoke for you? Do you are concerned about whether or not the Hawkeyes’ fashion will work within the NCAA event?

Jeff Borzello, faculty basketball insider: I am undoubtedly involved about Iowa on the defensive finish. The Hawkeyes have merely outscored opponents up up to now, which might be a problem in opposition to Gonzaga on Saturday and within the Huge Ten, the place video games are typically just a little extra rugged and coaches are extra acquainted with one another’s tendencies. Fran McCaffery’s workforce had an elite offense final season, too, however Iowa gave up greater than 86 factors per sport in its 11 losses. The Hawkeyes have not ranked inside the highest 95 in adjusted defensive effectivity since 2016; that has to vary.

It is laborious to discover a workforce like Iowa prior to now, although. There have been loads of groups — Creighton final season involves thoughts — which are closely reliant on the 3-point shot and are not nice defensively, however they did not have an enormous man like Luka Garza. The Doug McDermott-led Creighton groups is likely to be higher comparisons. From a personnel standpoint, a souped-up model of a few of these Omar Samhan-led Saint Mary’s groups from a decade in the past aren’t unhealthy comparisons — however Iowa is significantly better and extra explosive.

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