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Iowa Basketball: Hawkeyes Move up in AP, Enter NCAA’s NET

A pair of top-25 wins propels Iowa back into the top-5 in the nation.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Rutgers
The Hawkeyes are back in the top-5 nationally.
Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa Hawkeyes had themselves an impressive week entering the new year. After taking a loss to Minnesota on Christmas day, Iowa bounced back for a pair of wins over top-25 opponents last week.

That started with a convincing 87-72 win over then #19 and top-ranked Northwestern and was followed up by a gritty if not dominating 77-75 win over Rutgers on Saturday. The thriller against the Scarlet Knights gave the Hawkeyes their first road win of the season and it came over the #14 ranked team in America.

Those two wins, along with a slew of losses in the top-10, propelled Iowa up five spots in the AP poll that was released on Monday.

Here’s a look at the full poll:

  1. Gonzaga (63 first place votes)
  2. Baylor (1 first place votes)
  3. Villanova
  4. Texas
  5. Iowa
  6. Kansas
  7. Creighton
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Tennessee
  10. Michigan
  11. Houston
  12. Illinois
  13. Missouri
  14. West Virginia
  15. Rutgers
  16. Minnesota
  17. Oregon
  18. Texas Tech
  19. Virginia Tech
  20. Clemson
  21. Duke
  22. Virginia
  23. Saint Louis
  24. Michigan State
  25. Florida State

The meat grinder that is the Big Ten this season has meant a fair amount of action within the conference. After matching the highest ever total with 9 teams ranked inside the top-25 a week ago, the conference still leads the nation but only has 7 teams ranked this week. That comes as Northwestern and Ohio State fall out.

The flip side of losses for the Wildcats and Buckeyes as the climb we saw from Iowa, as well as Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan. The Wolverines cracked the top-10 for the first time all year, making it 3 Big Ten teams to do so (along with Iowa at #5 and Wisconsin at #8). The conference also has 5 teams inside the top-15 nationally with Illinois coming in at #12 and Rutgers falling just one spot to #15. Minnesota is one spot behind them at #16 and Michigan State rounds things out tied for 23rd in the nation.

In addition to the fresh AP poll, the NCAA released their first NET rankings of the 2020-2021 season on Monday. As you’ll recall, the NET rankings are the ones used by the NCAA for the tournament and are updated every day beginning in January.

In the very first iteration, the Hawkeyes come in a bit lower than they’re ranked in either the AP (5th) or other popular computer metrics such as KenPom (5th). Through 11 games, the NCAA has Iowa at 7th nationally. That puts them third in the Big Ten, behind Illinois (4th) and Michigan (6th).

While nittty gritty reports are not yet available, there is some additional data provided by the NCAA. The Hawkeyes currently hold a record of 1-2 against quad 1 opponents and are 3-0 against quadrant 2. Iowa is perhaps penalized a bit for their 5 games, all wins, against quadrant 4 opponents. Michigan and Illinois, which are both ranked lower by all other ranking services, have only 2 quad 4 games each by comparison.

Here’s a look at the NCAA’s first NET rankings:

Image via

Iowa will be back in action on Thursday evening as they travel to Maryland. That’s a 6pm CT tip on ESPN2.