Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, March 17, 2015

For the first time since 2005-06, Iowa has made the NCAA tournament in consecutive seasons.

The Hawkeyes, the No. 7 seed in the South Region, open the tournament Friday vs. No. 10 Davidson.

Get my Iowa NCAA tourney capsule below.


NO. 7 IOWA vs. No. 10 Davidson, Friday, Seattle

Fran McCaffery NCAA record: 2-6.

Last tourney appearance: 2014, lost to Tennessee in opening round

Best-case scenario: One-and-done. Iowa arrived in Chicago for the Big Ten tourney as one of the hottest teams in the conference, winners of six in a row. Alas, the Hawkeyes stumbled, losing their opening matchup to No. 13 Penn State. Is that a sign of things to come for a program that lost its opening NCAA game last year? Iowa is searching for its first NCAA victory since 2001, going one-and-done in each of its last three appearances. This clash with Davidson should be a fun, up-and-down the court affair. Beat the Wildcats, and No. 2 Gonzaga figures to loom. And, it will be tough to get by the Bulldogs. If the Hawkeyes can do it, they could meet No. 3 Iowa State in the Sweet 16. How cool would that be? Iowa lost to the Cyclones earlier this season, 90-75.

Key player: Aaron White. The senior forward has been a force down the stretch, scoring over 20 points in each of the last five games. He also has had 14- and 13-rebound games in that span. Want more? Here you go: The 6-9 White scored in double figures in 10 of his final 11 tilts. White is a dervish on both ends of the court, the true pulse of this team who averages 16.0 points and 7.5 rebounds. He?s also a good free-throw shooter for a team loaded with them. Iowa shoots 74.5 percent from the line. He sets the tone for a deep Iowa team that can run the court, shoot and score.

Key number: 39.2. That is what opponents shoot from the field against Iowa, which is the lowest percentage in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes make foes work for their shots and bring a lot of length to the table between White, Gabe Olaseni and Jarrod Uthoff. This team feeds off the sideline intensity of McCaffery.

Know Davidson: This is one of the nation?s better mid-major programs, with Steph Curry putting the school on the map with a run to the Elite Eight in 2008-the third trip to the Final Eight in school annals. This year?s team is led by Atlantic-10 Player of the Year Tyler Kalinoski, a 6-4 senior guard who averages 16.9 points and 5.7 rebounds. He?s legit. Jack Gibbs and Brian Sullivan are his able sidekicks in the backcourt for a team that has excellent offensive flow. Defense? It?s not so stout for Davidson.

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.