The University of Iowa basketball team is traveling it Indianapolis today (Thursday) to prepare for their first round game Friday in the Big Ten tournament. Iowa coach Steve Alford says he won’t handicap the event. Alford says he thinks all ten games are going to have a lot of excitement and hype to them as teams continue to advance through the bracket.

Alford says a majority of the teams aren’t playing to get into the NCAA tournament — but are playing to improve their seeding in the big dance. Alford says he thinks seven of the 11 Big Ten teams will get into the NCAA tourney and he says another three teams could make the NIT if they don’t win the conference tournament and the automatic bid. Alford says that speaks to how good the league is.

Alford says one thing that favors his team heading into the tournament is the high caliber of defensive play. Alford says Iowa hasn’t had this kind of field goal percentage defense since the 1960’s and he says that’s their staple, and defense is important in the postseason. Alford says they also have to make some shots. Iowa is the two seed in the tournament and plays the winner of today’s Minnesota-Michigan game on Friday.