Young Hawkeyes earn top seed, draw South Dakota in NIT opener

Young Hawkeyes earn top seed, draw South Dakota in NIT opener

Young Hawkeyes earn top seed, draw South Dakota in NIT opener

Fran McCaffery put the question to a quick and merciful death Sunday night.

University of Iowa men's basketball team earned a No. 1 seed in the NIT and will host eighth-seeded South Dakota (22-11) of the Summit League on Wednesday, March 15, at 6 p.m. (CT). That campaign in the NIT in 2013 was fun to watch, and it set the table for three straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Iowa players, like their coach, insist there will be no letdown.

"We got the opportunity to be in the NIT and be a 1 seed", freshman forward Cordell Pemsl said.

"Absolutely. We want to play angry. There are some teams in the NIT that are better than teams in the NCAA Tournament, so we're not going to overlook it". Overall I'd say we have a pretty favorable road to go deep here.

But it's also a reminder that they were one of the first four out of the NCAA tournament. "Obviously, it hurts to not make it when we were that close". We know at this point of the year, we can't play OK. "This team has always responded in a great way", said Smith. "There's some better teams than are in the NCAA Tournament, so we're not overlooking anyone". As Wagner said, as long as they don't let the emotion or frustration consume them, it can be productive.

"He's excited to play here, come back here", said guard Peter Jok, who is friends with Dickerson. Every player asked Tuesday afternoon flatly denied the Hawkeyes were that sort of team. "That's kind of how I look at it". "But at the same time, you don't really need motivation because it's the postseason".

While the NIT may feel like a step down to programs such as Iowa, Syracuse and IN, this is a big deal for the Coyotes.

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