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IOWA IMPROVES TO #16 IN THE AP POLL, #19 IN THE COACHES POLL

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Up, up -- but not away.

"Good job, Mr. Jok.  Fine work, Mr. Gesell."
"Good job, Mr. Jok. Fine work, Mr. Gesell."
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa had a light week last week -- just a comfortable 77-66 win over Nebraska on Tuesday night and then an off weekend -- but that win, coupled with losses from several teams ahead of them, led to another push upward in both polls.  Iowa moved from #19 to #16 in the AP Poll and from #23 to #19 in the Coaches Poll.

Iowa is the third-highest ranked team with three losses in the AP Poll, behind #13 Virginia and #14 Kentucky (but one spot ahead of fellow three-loss team Iowa State).  Iowa is the fifth-highest ranked three-loss team in the Coaches Polls, behind #11 Virginia, #13 Kentucky, #16 Arizona, and #18 Iowa State.  Maryland and Michigan State (#3 and #4, respectively, in both polls) continue to pace the Big Ten, but Iowa is the highest ranked team from the rest of the Big Ten.  Purdue and Indiana are lurking around the lower reaches of the Top 25.

Iowa hoops 1.11.16 rankings

Iowa, of course, has a massive game looming on Thursday -- at #4 Michigan State (now with a healthy Denzel Valentine).  It's not quite a showdown of Top 15 teams, but it's close (in the AP rankings, at least).  Could Iowa crack the Top 10 with a win over Michigan State in East Lansing?  Very possibly -- a 4-0 start in the Big Ten with two wins over Michigan State and another over Purdue would be pretty impressive-looking body of work, although that third loss on Iowa's resume does serve as a bit of an anchor to those aspirations.

Meanwhile, in bracketology news, Jerry Palm holds firm with Iowa as a #4 seed in his newest mock, sending them to the Denver sub-regional in the West bracket. Joe Lunardi moved Iowa from a #5 seed to a #4 seed in his new mock bracket, sending them to the Spokane sub-regional in the South bracket. A top-4 seed?  Yes, please.  As always, there's a lot of basketball yet to be played -- but things are looking very good for Hawkeye hoops right now.