New week, new polls -- but this time the question on the minds of Iowa fans wasn't whether they could make it another week ranked in the Top 5, but how far the Hawkeyes would fall after their ugly loss to Penn State in Happy Valley last week. It turns out the answer to that question is... not that far. Iowa fell from #4 to #8 in the AP Poll and from #6 to #8 in the Coaches Poll. (They're also #8 in the KenPom rankings as of this writing, so Iowa basketball is all about #8 at this point.)
Once again, Iowa benefited a bit from the unpredictability and high frequency of upsets that have come to characterize this regular season. Four other teams ranked in last week's Top also lost (and West Virginia lost twice) and eight teams ranked between #11 and #25 also lost, making it difficult to move too many teams up to claim the spots that could have been vacated by Iowa and their fellow Top 10 losers.
Iowa is still the second-highest ranked Big Ten team, although the team they're trailing in the ranking has changed, going from Maryland a week ago to Michigan State this week. Sparty, Iowa, and Maryland all remain ranked in the Top 10, so the Big Ten still has a trio of teams ranked up there. Two other Big Ten teams, Indiana and Purdue, are also ranked between #15 and #20 in the polls.
Iowa's run of consecutive weeks in the AP Top 5 ends at four weeks, but their #8 ranking means that their streak of consecutive weeks in the AP Top 10 extends to six weeks. That ties the streak that they put together in 1993. Iowa hasn't had a longer streak of appearances in the AP Top 10 since 1989, when they were ranked in the AP Top 10 for nine straight weeks (or ten, if you include the preseason rankings).
The Penn State loss stung, but Iowa basketball is still doing things that we haven't seen from an Iowa team in a quarter-century -- that's pretty awesome. Still, to keep this wild ride in the Top 10 going Iowa's going to need to get wins over Wisconsin and Ohio State this week -- and they're almost certainly going to need to play better than they did against Minnesota and Penn State a week ago. Let's hope we see those improved performances and that we're toasting seven straight weeks in the AP Top 10 a week from now.