The new AP and USA Today Coaches polls are out and Iowa's occupying some rarefied air these days.
Iowa is 10th in the AP poll. First top-10 ranking since 2002.— John Bohnenkamp (@johnbohnenkamp) January 20, 2014
Yep. As we suspected on Friday, Iowa's win over Minnesota -- plus no small amount of chaos among last week's top 25 teams, especially in that 8-13 range -- has propelled them into the top 10 of the polls. Iowa last appeared in the top 10 in the 2001-02 season, although things didn't go so well for Iowa after cracking the top 10 that year.
The last time Iowa was ranked in the AP top 10, the Hawkeyes lost 4 of their next 5, all by double digits. Doubt that happens this year.— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) January 20, 2014
Iowa's best start since a NIT season (97-98) & highest ranking since a NIT season (01-02). Don't see this season ending with the NIT though.— Brendan Stiles (@thebstiles) January 20, 2014
Yeah, we're aiming for better results than that this year... and this Iowa team seems very capable of achieving them.
Welcome back to the top 10, Hawkeyes. It's been a while.
Here's the full AP top 25 in a lovely table.
AP Top 25 (January 20, 2014)
|3||Michigan St. Spartans||17-1||1497|
|5||Wichita St. Shockers||19-0||1368|
|7||San Diego St. Aztecs||16-1||1211|
|11||Oklahoma St. Cowboys||15-3||971|
|16||Iowa St. Cyclones||14-3||644|
|17||Ohio St. Buckeyes||15-3||549|
|18||Duke Blue Devils||14-4||447|
|19||Saint Louis Billikens||17-2||421|
|22||Kansas St. Wildcats||14-4||221|
No table for the USA Today Coaches Poll this week, but Iowa's ranked 10th in that poll as well; you can find the full set of rankings here.
As I said last week, obviously the rankings themselves aren't any sort of desirable end goal (those would include Big Ten championships and deep runs in the NCAA Tournament), nor do they directly impact Iowa's ability to achieve those real goals (a top 10 ranking isn't going to impact Iowa's ability to win a Big Ten title or, likely, what seed it gets in the NCAA Tournament). But rankings are a great indicator of which teams matter at a given point in time and they give us a sense of which teams are good. They also bring with them increased attention, which is the sort of thing that can turn heads in recruiting. They're also a nice way to document the progress of a team; for Iowa, a top-10 ranking is the latest sign of just how far Iowa has come under Fran McCaffery. Four years ago, it was laughable to even dream of Iowa being ranked in the top 10. Now it's not a dream -- it's reality. Enjoy the moment.