Can Iowa break its NCAA tournament hex and make a deep run in ’21?
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Heading into the final weeks of the 2020-21 NCAA Men’s Basketball season, University of Iowa center Luke Garza is an overwhelming favorite with the sports books to take home National Player of the Year honors.
If you can find one to bet with, Garza has odds of around -1400 to -1500, meaning you would have to lay $1400 to get $100 back.
Yeah, he is a lock.
But can he lead Iowa to a national championship? That is the big question.
Although maybe the question should be, can he get the Hawkeyes to the Sweet 16?
Trivia question: when was the last time Iowa made the Sweet 16?
In their last seven appearances, Iowa has failed to get out of the first weekend of March Madness, which is madness, considering the teams the Hawkeyes have had in that time.
It has been since 1987 for an Elite Eight berth, and since 1980 for a Final Four appearance.
Right now, Iowa is projected to be a two seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, which will have a new flavor to it in 2021, thanks to COVID-19. But since the tournament was canceled in 2020, whatever it will look like will be better than that was.
The whole tournament will be played in and around Indianapolis, but unlike in past years, it will start with the First Four on Thursday, March 19 (instead of Tuesday and Wednesday), with the first round played on Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21 (instead of Thursday-Friday) and the second round Sunday/Monday March 22-23.
The next weekend will see games played Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, which is pushed back two days from normal. The Final Four and NCAA Championship Game will be played in their normal spots.
Right now, Iowa has odds around +1800 to win the title, far behind the two overwhelming favorites, unbeatens Gonzaga and Baylor. Gonzaga already has a 99-88 win over Iowa this year.
But the tournament is going to bring a different set of pressures. One of the two unbeatens will fall at some point, and there will be at least two other teams making the Final Four. The most recent Bracketology has the Hawkeyes as the second seed in the same bracket as Baylor, which is probably not ideal. To be the best, though, you will most likely have to beat one of the two juggernauts.
Can Iowa do it?
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