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Northwestern plays Iowa in the Big Ten Tournament. LET'S SPOIL THEIR TOURNEY Y'ALL

No. 11 Northwestern will play No. 6 Iowa at 8 p.m. Thursday night in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. The Hawkeyes need the win to make the NCAA Tournament. NU doesn't need the win, but it would provide solace for our sick, twisted hearts.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

1. Just so we can feel again

Man, Northwestern's season has been brutal. After the season-ending injury to Jared Swopshire - and yes, before him it was Drew Crawford and JerShon Cobb losing their seasons - NU has been one of the worst teams in Big Ten history. Eight straight losses, seven by double-digits, three by 20 points or more. Seniors like Alex Marcotullio and Reggie Hearn do not deserve to have their careers end with a ninth straight loss. It would be really nice to get a win of any type for those guys, and for us fans who have watched it.

2. Because, man, we've been there before.

Remember last year, when Northwestern was a Big Ten win or two away from making the NCAA Tournament, and lost in overtime in the first round to Minnesota? Remember two years ago, when Northwestern needed two wins in the Big Ten Tournament, got the first behind a tourney-record 35 from Juice Thompson, then lost in overtime to a No. 1 Ohio State team - a win that surely would have put Northwestern into their first ever NCAA Tournament?

Well, guess where Iowa is.

SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean has them amongst the next four out. The Bracket Matrix has them in the first four out. A loss to Northwestern is a bad loss, and in the first round of the Big Ten Tourney, it would kill their tourney hopes dead.

3. Because screw Iowa, that's why.

Northwestern-Iowa isn't much of a basketball rivalry. Neither team is consistently good enough for it to matter. With the exception of a Michael Jenkins game-winner - in what, 2005? - these teams haven't even played many competitive, memorable games. Typically one team is mediocre and the other is awful. The last three years have featured two season sweeps by Northwestern and one season sweep by Iowa this year.

But you know what? It should be. Northwestern-Iowa in football is defined by hate, harm, and hairline fractures. Iowa knocked Pat Fitzgerald out of the Rose Bowl. Northwestern ended Ricky Stanzi's promising 2009 season. Iowa reciprocated by ending Dan Persa's season - kind of - and basically his career in 2010. NU has had its fair share of upsets against the Hawkeyes, and we've heard about it ever since.

This year, Iowa has beaten down Northwestern twice: once, 70-50 in a brutally ugly game at Welsh-Ryan, once 71-57 in a game where THEY KILLED JARED SWOPSHIRE'S KNEE. This win would be revenge for both losses and some ragged cartilage.

So stop reading your damn books, Northwestern fans. Let's give em hell.