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.
The Hawkeyes worked out at NYU on Monday and will get to practice at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
Freshman point guard Mike Gesell, from South Sioux City, has been battling a foot injury the last two months. Gesell has started 30 of Iowa's 36 games, but missed the last four of the regular season before returning for the Big Ten tourney.
He's still not 100 percent, but he'll be on the floor.
"I was feeling pretty good. I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing," said Gesell. "I'm just trying to play as many minutes as I can. The coaches do a good job of managing it for me or helping me manage it."
"The question always with him is how effective and how long," said Fran McCaffery. "The other night he looked great for a half and then we had to shut him down. Same thing happened at the Michigan State game. The other one's he was fine. Hopefully he'll be OK and be able to play 18 or 19 minutes. That would be about the max for him I think."
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.
"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.
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