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Instant Breakdown: Northern Iowa
The Texas Longhorns are the 6 seed in the West regional and they will face the Northern Iowa Panthers. Here is the instant breakdown of the Northern Iowa Panthers.
Who is Northern Iowa?
Northern Iowa University is located in Cedar Falls, IA. They have an enrollment of nearly 14,000 students. Their basketball team is in the Missouri Valley conference.
How good are they?
Really good mid-major. Ben Jacobson has been at Northern Iowa since 2001 and became the head coach in 2006. He is the winningest coach in Northern Iowa History. He has posted 2-30 win seasons and won 20+ games 7 of his 10 seasons as head coach.
What are some quality wins?
They beat North Carolina at home in November and they beat Iowa State in Des Moines in the Big 4 classic. They are also on a 6 game winning streak.
What are their bad losses?
An 11 seed for a mid-major is an indicator of a good team, however, they are not as good as the seeding suggests. They got swept in the regular season by Loyala-Chicago who only won 7 Missouri Valley conference games.
When they faced the middle of the Missouri Valley conference, they split the games again those opponents. WIthout the Missouri Valley tournament buzzer beater, they would be out.
Was the buzzer beater awesome?
So where do they matchup well against Texas?
3 point shooting is what Northern Iowa does best. They ranked 48th in the country in 3 point shooting. If they start hitting 3 pointers and Texas can't make shots, the Longhorns could be out early.
Where do the Longhorns have an advantage?
Inside the paint. The Longhorns do well in blocking shots. The Panthers are very tall at the guard spot but they do not have a big man taller than 6'9". Opponents of the Panthers rank 68th in the nation in blocked shots against Northern Iowa. I doubt they will challenge the paint defense of the Longhorns but I would expect Isaiah Taylor to have driving lanes and the opportunity to score a lot of points.
So who wins?
The 6 seeds have beaten the 11 seed 64% of the time. While Northern Iowa is on a hot streak, the Longhorns have the size and skill to take care of the Panthers and hopefully get a chance for revenge against Texas A&M.
*Texas wins 72-57*