NCAA Opponent: Northwestern State

March 12, 2006

The University of Iowa men’s basketball team will play Northwestern State Friday in first round action of the 2006 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, the NCAA announced late Sunday afternoon, minutes after Coach Steve Alford’s squad defeated Ohio State to win the 2006 Big Ten Conference Tournament.

The Hawkeyes and Demons will square off in The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. Three other games will also be played on Friday in The Palace. Click HERE to review the bracket for the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Alford’s squad is the No. 3 seed in the Atlanta Region; Northwestern State is the 14 seed.

A victory on Friday and Iowa would then play the winner of No. 6 seed West Virginia and No. 11 seed Southern Illinois on Sunday. Duke, the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed, is the No. 1 seed in the Atlanta Region.

A pair of wins in Michigan could provide Iowa an opportunity to avenge its loss to Texas in the championship game of the 2005 Guardians Classic. Texas, the region’s No. 2 seed play Penn on Friday. North Carolina State, the No. 10 seed plays plays California, the No. 7 seed, in the bracket opposite Texas-Penn.

The UI Athletic Ticket Office is currently accepting requests for tickets for Iowa’s first round game. Click HERE for more information.

Iowa’s invitation to the NCAA’s post-season party is the 23rd in school history and the third under Alford. The Hawkeyes’ deepest run into the tournament is Final Four appearances in 1955, 1956 and 1980. The Hawkeyes advanced to the second round of the 2001 tournament under Alford’s direction, defeating Creighton by a 69-56 score before falling to Kentucky, 92-79. Last year, the Hawkeyes were beaten by Cincinnati in a first round game by a 76-64 count.

Only once before has Iowa entered the NCAA Tournament with a higher seed than it was awarded this year by the NCAA selection committee. The Hawkeyes were a No. 2 seed in 1987 when the Hawkeyes advanced to the championship game of the West Regional. Iowa was denied a trip to the Final Four by UNLV.

Iowa was a No. 3 seed in the 1981 event but was upset by Wichita State by a 60-56 count in first round action of the Midwest Region.