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Iowa Basketball: Illinois Loss Drops Hawkeyes Further in AP, NET

Iowa continues to fall down the rankings, but remain in the top-10.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Illinois
Iowa continues their fall.
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Another week, another loss for the Iowa Hawkeyes as they fell 80-75 to Illinois on Friday night. It was a tough road loss to a good team while Iowa was playing without starting shooting guard CJ Fredrick. Despite the circumstances, the loss cost Iowa.

First and foremost, the Hawkeyes not only failed to gain ground on conference leader Michigan, but they fell another half game back with the Wolverines still idle. They’re now a half game behind Illinois and Ohio State, who are tied for second place in the conference standings. Iowa is also on the wrong end of the tie breaker with no chance to even the score thanks to the Big Ten’s scheduling this season.

In the polls, the Hawkeyes continued the slide started a week ago. The AP is out with their latest on Monday and Iowa has gone from 7th nationally down to 8th. While it’s not a significant decline, it does make it 4 spots Iowa has now dropped in the last two weeks.

Here’s a look at the full poll:

  1. Gonzaga (61 first place votes)
  2. Baylor (3 first place votes)
  3. Villanova
  4. Michigan
  5. Houston
  6. Texas
  7. Ohio State
  8. Iowa
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Alabama
  11. Tennessee
  12. Illinois
  13. Texas Tech
  14. Virginia
  15. Creighton
  16. Virginia Tech
  17. West Virginia
  18. Missouri
  19. Wisconsin
  20. Florida State
  21. UCLA
  22. Florida
  23. Kansas
  24. Purdue
  25. Drake

As you can see, there was quite a bit of movement in the back end of the top-10 this week thanks to quite a few upsets. Had it not been for some of those, Iowa likely would have fallen further. Ohio State and Oklahoma both jumped into the top-10 this week while Texas Tech and Virginia both fell out. The Sooners have now won three straight games over ranked opponents and moved up a whopping 15 spots this week accordingly.

On the whole, the Big Ten now has 3 teams in the top-10 and remains at 6 teams ranked in total. Michigan was unchanged at #4 while OSU jumps Iowa to land at #7. For their efforts, the Illinois Fighting Illini jumped 7 spots (feel free to debate the merits of jumping that far for a home win in which you were favored over a team down a starter) to #12. Wisconsin continues their slide down to #19 after losing at Penn State over the weekend. And Purdue rounds things out at #24 after taking down then #21 Minnesota.

One other note on the AP - shout out Drake for cracking the top-25. The Bulldogs remain unbeaten at 16-0 and it’s a crying shame Iowa and Iowa State don’t still play Drake and UNI every year.

Over in the Coaches Poll, it’s a similar story as Iowa comes in at #8 there as well, down one spot as in the AP. In the NCAA’s NET rankings, Iowa falls one spot to #6. That’s just behind Illinois, who has one more loss and not a lot of high quality wins. The advanced metrics continue to like Iowa as both Sagarin and KenPom have the Hawkeyes at #5 with Houston jumping over Iowa from a week ago.

The Hawkeyes have a series of challenges facing them this week, but as noted, that’s also a big opportunity. Iowa is back in action on Tuesday night as they face off with a struggling Michigan State team in their makeup of an earlier postponed matchup. That’s a 6pm CT tip on FS1.