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Iowa WBB potential path to an NCAA Tournament 1 seed

Kyle Huesmann01/30/23
Article written by:On3 imageKyle Huesmann


Photo by Dennis Scheidt

The Iowa Women’s Basketball team has completely changed the direction over their season since their loss at Illinois on January 1st dropped them to 11-4. The Hawkeyes fell to a five seed in the bracket projections are the loss, but have since won six games in a row, including road wins over #18 Michigan and #10 Ohio State. All the sudden, Iowa is 17-4, 9-1 in Big Ten play and up to #6 in the AP Poll. With nine games remaining the regular season, the Hawkeyes are very much in the discussion for a top seed in the NCAA Tournament.


The Hawkeyes have improved their resume with three quad one wins over their six-game winning streak and now they sit at 5-4 in Q1 games. They are 5-0 in Q2 games, while a couple of them have the potential to move up a line. Oregon State, Purdue and Nebraska all sit within ten spots of becoming a quad one team in the NET. Against Q3 and Q4 teams, Iowa is 7-0, while Penn State still could move up to the quad two level. If things fall the right way, the Hawkeyes opponents have a chance to help them out a bit.

Bigger picture, Iowa sits at #9 in the NET rankings and they sit in a tie for 14th with five quad one wins. They are also tied for 18th in quad one win percentage among teams that have played 5+ quad one games. Resume wise, they are looking at a two seed right now.

As of Friday, Charlie Creme of ESPN had the Hawkeyes as a 2 seed facing off against Eastern Illinois in the opening round. The one seeds were South Carolina, Connecticut, Indiana and Stanford. The two seeds were Iowa, Ohio State, LSU and Notre Dame.


Although the Hawkeyes are currently projected to be a two seed, there are opportunities ahead to bolster the resume. They still must play home/away against both #8 Maryland and #4 Indiana. Also remaining is a trip to Lincoln to face Nebraska. That means there are five quad one opportunities on the schedule. A 4-1 record in those five games and some help from a couple of those previously mentioned borderline Q1 teams could give Iowa double digit Q1 wins. Then of course there is the Big Ten Tournament in Minneapolis to potentially add more.

It’s no secret, the Hawkeyes will have have to make a pretty good run over the last five weeks before Selection Sunday. Per Warren Nolan, they project South Carolina, UConn and Stanford to win out in the regular season, which would all but lock up a one seed for each of them. That leaves one spot, presumably for LSU, the Big Ten champion or a wildcard in Utah. The Tigers are currently undefeated, but have just one ranked game on their entire schedule.

If the Hawkeyes continue their hot streak and pick up several quad one wins down the stretch, they can certainly put together an argument for a one seed. However, unless LSU drops a couple of games down the stretch it will be hard get the spot whether they have any ranked wins or not.


Caitlin Clark has said that her biggest goal is to reach a Final Four with the Hawkeyes. The best way to do that is avoid the other top teams in the tournament until the latest possible round. That means securing a spot in the top seed lines.

What would a one seed mean for Iowa? It would allow the Hawkeyes to avoid South Carolina, UConn or Stanford until the Final Four. They also would not have to face any of the top 12 teams in the tournament along the way.

While it appears that a two seed is a much more reasonable landing spot for Iowa, the schedule down the stretch gives them plenty of opportunities to bolster the resume. The first chance comes on Thursday, as they Hawkeyes welcome #8 Maryland to Carver-Hawkeye Arena.