Who? The Hawkeyes of Iowa.
When do they play in the first round? Iowa plays American on Friday, March 20 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
What? The Hawkeye name is derived from The Last of the Mohicans. Herky came about in 1948.
Where? Iowa City, Iowa, UNESCO City of Literature.
Why? Gloriously tiny TLAs, a second-place showing behind the dominance of Maryland, and the ability to exceed expectations, even if just by a little, in the Big Ten.
How? They were an at-large selection.
Surprise? Predicted to finish third in the conference by the coaches, they ended up in second, four games back of Maryland.
Record: 24-7 (14-4 Big Ten)
Good wins: At Rutgers and at Nebraska.
Bad losses: Arkansas in Las Vegas.
Who's running this show? Lisa Bluder, since 2000, dean of the Big Ten (though does that make Stringer the dowager?).
Extra, Extra! Hawk Central, brought to you by both the
Literally by a single point (467 to 466), sophomore guard Ally Disterhoft leads the Hawkeyes in scoring, at an average of 15.1. Senior guard Melissa Dixon is a deadeye Hawkeye, pouring in 15 points per game on 45.1% from beyond the arc. Senior center Bethany Doolittle adds 13.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks.
And then there's senior point guard Samantha Logic, who does pretty much everything Iowa asks of her and then some, at 13.8 points, 6.8 rebounds (only four total behind the 6-4 Doolittle), and 8.0 assists per game.
That senior trio intrigues me for the tournament. They'll be a tough out.