Only a handful of college basketball teams are still playing in April and the Hawkeyes are one of them. Iowa is in New York City where they are getting ready to play Maryland in the NIT final four on Tuesday night.
Head coach Fran McCaffery was posing with the NIT trophy in the Big Apple. Iowa has won 10 of their last 13 games, by an average of over 13 points per game to get to the NIT semi's for the first time in school history.
It's a thrill for the Hawks to be playing at Madison Square Garden, especially for New York native Melsahn Basabe.
"He was probably the most excited in the locker room after the Virginia game," said Fran McCaffery. "I'm just thrilled for him. To be able to go to the Garden, in an atmosphere like this, with all his family there, playing as well as he's playing in the starting lineup, it's great for him."
"It means everything," said Basabe. "It's so exciting for us to be here at the Final Four of the NIT. We're two wins away from being crowned the champion so it's definitely exciting. I'm happy to be here but we're still a focused group. We want to obviously want to get what we want out of this. It's not a vacation trip. We want to finish the job but it's definitely a blessing."
Iowa is 0-2 all-time against Maryland, with the last meeting coming in 1999. They tip-off at 8:30 Tuesday night on ESPN 2. BYU and Baylor play in the first semifinal at six.
Three Siouxland natives have played big roles for the Hawks.
Freshman Adam Woodbury is averaging just under five points and five rebounds a game while starting every game.
Fellow freshman Mike Gesell, from South Sioux City, has been battling a foot injury the last two months, but is still averaging almost 9 points a game, with nearly 3 assists.
Junior Zach McCabe from Bishop Heelan is averaging almost 6 points and 4 rebounds per game.
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