IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa, given one last opportunity on national television to show it belonged in the NCAA Tournament, made the most of it.
Rodell Davis scored 19 points and Acie Earl 17 Sunday, leading the Hawkeyes to an 80-69 upset of No. 2 Ohio State, thwarting the Buckeyes' bid to win the Big Ten crown outright.
Two hours after the game, Iowa Coach Tom Davis heard the good news. His Hawkeyes were given the No. 7 seed in the Midwest regional but will have to face No. 12 East Tennessee State in a first-round game in Minneapolis.
'The team really exceeded my expectations today because, I figured, under the pressure and all, to play as well as they played was really remarkable,' Coach Davis said.
Ohio State, 25-3 overall and 15-3 in the conference after dropping its final two regular-season games, wound up tied with Indiana for the Big Ten crown. Indiana, beaten twice by the Buckeyes this year, knocked off Illinois 70-58 earlier Sunday to also finish up 15-3.
'Right now we have to regroup from a mental standpoint,' Ohio State Coach Randy Ayers said.
Iowa, on the proverbial bubble for the NCAA Tournament heading into the contest, led the entire way to improve to 20-10 overall and 9-9 in the conference, locking up an at-large bid.
Despite losses to Purdue and Iowa to close out the regular season, Ohio State received the top seed in the Midwest regional and will stay in Ohio, going up against Towson State in Dayton.
'We're really not concerned about the seed,' Ayers said. 'It would be nice to be No. 1 ... but you have to play good basketball if you want to do anything in the tournament.'
The Hawkeyes, who also upset Indiana on the road this season, scored the first four points of the game and kept on running, building a 14- point lead in the first half on a James Moses layin that made it 34-20 with 6:51 to go.
'We only had six turnovers at half against what I think is the best pressure in the country in Ohio State,' Coach Davis said. 'I just thought that said a lot for the way we were playing.'
Iowa led 47-39 at the intermission and held off every Ohio State charge in the second half. The Buckeyes, led by Jim Jackson's 24 points, managed to close within four, at 69-65 with 4:03 remaining on a Jamaal Brown follow. But the Hawkeyes closed out the game by making 9 of their final 12 free throws.
'We kept our poise,' Coach Davis said. 'Ohio State obviously made some real good runs at us. We did settle down again, regrouped and made some big defensive stops.'
Iowa outrebounded the Buckeyes 41-30 for the game, while Ohio State committed 17 turnovers. Brown added 15 points for the Buckeyes.
'I thought that was the difference in the game today, that they just went after the rebounds and the loose balls a little bit more than we did,' Ayers said.
Earl and Chris Street each had eight rebounds for Iowa, while Earl recorded three blocked shots. Moses finished with 12 points and Kevin Smith 11. Ohio State's Treg Lee was held to 6 points on 2 of 5 shooting before fouling out with 18 seconds left.