Iowa City – Any coach in post season play, no matter the tournament or circumstance, can tell you it doesn’t matter how pretty a win is but the name of the game is to survive and advance. The National Invite Tournament (NIT) is no different.
It might not receive the 24 hour ESPN marathon, or the tens of millions of completed brackets, but helping young teams develop during post season play is very important, and that’s something the NIT can offer. After Winter Storm Stella pushed back multiple games start times, the University of Iowa faced off against South Dakota University on Wednesday night at Carver Hawkeye Arena. While it wasn’t always the prettiest of times for the Hawkeyes as they committed 16 turnovers throughout the course of the game, they survived the Coyotes 72% free throw shooting on 25 shots, and out lasted South Dakota 87-75.
While the number one seeded Hawkeyes will be on to the second round, the same can’t be said about other teams in the tournament. Upsets have become synonymous with March Madness, in the first two days of this year’s NIT, three of the four 7 seeds upset the 2 seeds they were matched up against, also number one seeded California lost at home to eight seed CSU Bakersfield. While winning the NIT may seem like a consolation prize to some, the journey and the experience that comes with it all is worth playing for and according to South Dakota coach Craig Smith, “Iowa is a good team that’s going to do some damage.”
Up next for the Iowa Hawkeyes they will take on Texas Christian University, who in the Big 12 Tournament knocked off number 1 ranked Kansas in the first round, Sunday March 19 at Carver Hawkeye Arena. Tipoff is expected for 6:30pm.