ESPN college basketball analyst Jimmy Dykes believes there are 20 to 25 teams that could reach the Final Four this year, and No. 18 Iowa (20-10) is one of them.
The reason for that? Two words: Luka Garza, who is averaging 23.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game for the Hawkeyes.
“If you haven’t watched Iowa play, just find 30 minutes this weekend or this week and watch one of their games,” Dykes said on The DA Show. “They got a kid named Luka Garza, who is a phenomenal big guy in college basketball – not just with his ability to, at 6-10, 250, to make threes, put it on the floor, pound you on the inside, but he plays harder than anybody I’ve seen this year, with the exception of John Fulkerson last night [for] Tennessee. I had the game at Kentucky. He played with the same kind of fight and venom for 40 minutes.
“But Luka Garza is a must-watch this year,” Dykes continued. “He’s right in that running for the National Player of the Year. So when you start looking at teams that are going to be hard to beat in the NCAA Tournament, I look at individual players that are going to be also hard to knock out because they just don’t let go of the rope. Luka Garza is on that list.”
So is Oregon’s Payton Pritchard, so is Seton Hall’s Myles Powell, and so is Kansas’ Udoka Azubuike.
But if Iowa reaches the Final Four, it will be because of Garza, who has led the Hawkeyes in scoring in 13 of their last 14 games.
“Luka Garza, he’s tremendous, and Iowa can really, really score,” Dykes said. “I’m a black-and-white, disciplined, dedication, defensive guy all my life. But I like offense in this tournament because of the uncertainty. Iowa can score enough to get to the Final Four.”