Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery likes how different guys have stepped up during his Hawkeyes’ 4-0 start, including a win over Oregon.
Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central
By any measure, the Iowa men’s basketball team is among the top 15 teams in the nation.
Three different ranking systems released Monday confirmed this. The Hawkeyes (5-0) moved up seven spots in the USA Today coaches’ poll to No. 15. They moved up six spots to No. 14 in the Associated Press writers’ poll.
And Iowa even landed at 15 in the initial release of the NCAA Evaluation Tool, or NET, which is replacing the RPI system this year and will be used to seed the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in March. The system looks at strength of schedule and the quality of a team’s wins and losses, among other factors.
It is the highest Iowa has been ranked this early in a season since the Hawkeyes were No. 7 on Nov. 26, 2001. It is the team’s first 5-0 start in five years.
Iowa played only one game last week, a 105-78 home dismantling of Alabama State, But the Hawkeyes are still reaping the benefits of beating Oregon (now 21st in the coaches’ poll) and Connecticut two weeks ago in the 2K Classic tournament.
Iowa hosts Pitt at 8 p.m. Tuesday and then begins Big Ten Conference play against two other ranked teams — vs. No. 22 Wisconsin on Friday and at No. 8 Michigan State next Monday.