Schwartz: 10 Sentences – Elite 8 Edition

March 31, 2019

Written by David Schwartz

Ten sentences to get us through until Monday night, when the Hawkeyes will take on Baylor in the Elite 8:

1. There comes a point in every basketball season when a team hits a wicked 3-4 game stretch in which every point seems critical, you win a close one, lose a couple of close ones, win a nail-biter, after which you sit back and silently wish your team could just once get a win without all of the drama.

2. And then it happens, and you think “OK, this is what I needed” – a low-stress victory and an extra notch in the win column without taking a year off your life.

3. You expect that low-drama win to come along sometime in January, not in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, but wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what happened Saturday morning during the Hawkeyes’ 79-61 victory against North Carolina State.

4. Aside from a brief third-quarter run by the Wolfpack that cut Iowa’s lead to less than 10, this was the sort of game in which your pulse doesn’t get above 80 bpm, and because the Hawkeyes took care of business the way they’ve been taking care of business all season, we as fans are rewarded with Iowa’s first trip to the Elite 8 since 1993.

5. Megan Gustafson and Hannah Stewart combined for 43 points and 23 rebounds; Hawkeye basketball in 2019 will play at least one game in the month of April.

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6. The last time Iowa played in an Elite 8 game they ran up against a Tennessee squad led by one of the best coaches in the history of college basketball, Pat Summitt, and won, 72-56.

7. This time around, the Hawkeyes will face Baylor, a team with two national-championship seasons over the last 15 or so years, but let’s not psyche ourselves into thinking the Bears are unbeatable – they’re not undefeated (although they are close).

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8. What’s been great about Iowa’s run to the Elite 8 – what might be the coolest part about it – is how no one associated with the Hawkeye program seems surprised, no one has expressed a we’re-just-happy-to-be-here mentality, and nor should they; the Hawkeyes and Maryland dominated the Big Ten’s regular season, and now Iowa has carried that right through the first two weekends of the NCAA Tournament and are half-way to the six wins they need for the ultimate goal: a national championship.

9. Understatement alert: Beating Baylor will be far more of a challenge than beating N.C. State.

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10. If the Hawkeyes win, it won’t be another victory that lets us catch our breath as we anticipate whatever comes next; no, Monday night Hawkeye fans are going to be an elated, screaming, tightly wound mass of enthusiasm as they watch their team play for a spot in the Final Four.

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

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