Iowa is likely just days away from its first NCAA tournament berth in eight years, but that's about the last thing on the mind of its fan base. They're wondering what happened to their beloved Hawkeyes. Iowa finished the regular season in a freefall hardly anyone saw coming.
The Hawkeyes have lost five of their last six games - all after a postponement at Indiana altered their schedule - and closed with a brutal home loss to Illinois 66-63 on Saturday night. The Hawkeyes, once a trendy pick for a long run through the postseason, hope to start fresh on Thursday against Northwestern in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament.
Michigan ended one long title drought last week. Now the Wolverines are trying to end another. After winning its first Big Ten title outright since 1986, top-seeded Michigan heads to Indianapolis looking for its first conference tournament title since the inaugural tourney in 1998. For the Wolverines, the last 15 years have been frustrating.
They have reached the tourney semifinals twice, haven't been back to the title game and haven't won multiple games in the tourney since going 3-0 in '98. The quest to change course starts Friday against either Illinois or Indiana, who play Thursday.
Ohio State plays Purdue, Minnesota faces Penn State and Iowa meets Northwestern in the other first-round games. The top four seeds - Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Nebraska - have byes into Friday's quarterfinals.