What it means: Iowa is one victory away from winning the NIT, for the first time in school history.
The Hawkeyes defeated Maryland in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, holding off a Terrapins rally in the second half (see below).
Iowa (25-12, 9-9 Big Ten) had its bubble burst on Selection Sunday a little over two weeks ago, but has responded well, winning four games since that disappointment.
Maryland (25-13, 8-10 ACC) began its season with a loss to Kentucky at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and ends its season a few subways stops north at MSG.
The turning point: After Maryland took a 4-0 lead, Iowa scored 11 straight points to take command of the game early. The Hawkeyes led by as many as 14 in the first half, 33-19. But the Terrapins rallied to cut the deficit to five at intermission, 38-33, thanks to a Dez Wells dunk in the closing seconds.
Iowa expanded the lead back to double digits, 47-35, early in the second half. Maryland closed to within four, 49-45, on a Nick Faust 3-pointer. But then the Hawkeyes scored seven straight to reassert control. The Terps stayed within striking distance, eventually cutting the lead to five again, 61-56 -- but they could get no closer. Eric May delivered the dagger -- a trey with just over a minute remaining, making the score 69-60 and putting the game out of reach.
Star watch: Junior forward Roy Devyn Marble was terrific for Iowa, with 21 points and nine rebounds. May added 12 points, and Aaron White chipped in 10. Nine different players scored for the Hawkeyes.
Sophomore center Alex Len had a team-high 16 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots for Maryland. Wells, the team's leading scorer, had just nine points.
Number crunch: Maryland had 17 turnovers in the game, while Iowa had just six. That was a problem for the Terps all season long -- they were 338th out of 345 teams in turnover differential coming into the game.
Also, Maryland shot just 9-for-16 from the foul line (56.3 percent), while Iowa shot 19-for-24 (79.2 percent).
What's next: Iowa plays Baylor in the championship game, Thursday at 9 p.m.
Maryland heads home to College Park, and looks forward to next season.