Iowa finished off an impressive run through the B1G Tournament and won the event for the first time since the 2005-06 season. The Hawkeyes were rewarded with the No. 5 seed in the Midwest Region, where they will face No. 12 seed Richmond on Thursday afternoon.

Iowa really found its stride at the midway point of the B1G regular season and won 10 of its past 12 games. Keegan Murray will be in the NBA next season and can make an impact in every area, from 3-pointers to rebounds, blocked shots and steals. The Hawkeyes will have the best player on the floor in most games they play, and he has the talent to carry them to a deep NCAA Tournament run the program hasn’t seen in a while.

Thursday’s game will get started at 3:10 p.m. ET from the KeyBank Center in Buffalo.


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Richmond scouting report

The Spiders would not be an NCAA Tournament team had they not won 4 games in 4 days during the Atlantic-10 Tournament — three of which came by 5 points or less — to receive the conference’s automatic bid.

Tyler Burton is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder as he averages 16.3 points and 7.7 boards per game. He strung together plenty of impressive performances throughout the season when the team needed him, scoring 20 or more points 10 times this season.

Burton is not the only player who can go off in this offense, as the team’s third-leading scorer Jacob Gilyard played some of his best basketball during the conference tournament. He scored 32 points in the quarterfinal game and 26 in the title game. Without those two performances, the Spiders are not in the NCAA Tournament.

While Iowa likes to push the pace offensively, Richmond will look to slow things down. The Spiders rank No. 248 in possessions per game. By comparison, Iowa checks in at No. 68 in that category.


Iowa will overpower Richmond offensively, especially when it gets multiple attempts at the basket. Offensive rebounding is a major strength for the Hawkeyes in this matchup as they rank No. 48 in offensive rebounding per possession, and that’s where Richmond really struggles. The Spiders are No. 327 in that statistic. Iowa is a much more talented team, and its ability to create second and third chances make it that much more unlikely Richmond pulls off an upset.

Murray continues to elevate his game in an incredible breakout season as a sophomore, highlighted by an excellent B1G Tournament where he set a record for total points in a single B1G tourney. Murray averaged 25.8 points in the Hawkeyes’ 4 B1G Tournament matchups. He is incredibly efficient in shooting and probably should put the ball up even more than he does with a shooting percentage at 55.5%, including 40.5% from long range. It’s tough to imagine the Spiders doing much to get in his way.

The Hawkeyes have done a great job of blowing teams out they’re clearly better than this season, and that should continue in Round 1 with an 80-63 victory over Richmond on Thursday afternoon.

Who’s next?

Assuming Iowa gets past Richmond, the Hawkeyes will get a matchup with either No. 4 seed Providence or No. 13 seed South Dakota State. Despite the difference in seeding, that game is close to a toss-up according to the oddsmakers, and I’ve got Iowa taking on the Jackrabbits in the Round of 32.

The Hawkeyes have not reached the Sweet 16 since the 2014-15 season and in a shocker, I’m predicting that to continue. I always like to make one major surprise in my bracket, and South Dakota State is my team this year. The Jackrabbits play the exact same style as Iowa with an up-tempo pace, going all in on offense with very little defense.

South Dakota State ranks No. 1 nationally in effective field goal percentage and No. 1 in 3-point shooting percentage. When you consider Iowa ranks No. 77 in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency, this isn’t a bad spot to take a shot at an upset.

Assuming I’m wrong like most of the picks in my bracket each year and Iowa finds itself in the Sweet 16, the Hawkeyes would likely get a shot at the region’s top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in what would be another thrilling matchup with plenty of offensive firepower on both sides.

With the high-end talent of Murray, the Hawkeyes have an offense that can challenge any team in the country, and when the defense finds ways to get stops in key moments, Iowa can beat any team in the country. This should be a fun team to watch in the NCAA Tournament.