Iowa Moves Up to #14/15 In The New Polls

By RossWB on November 26, 2018 at 2:15 pm
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© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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A new week brings with it new polls and Iowa men's basketball is sitting even prettier in this week's polls than they were a week ago. Iowa debuted at #20 in the AP Poll a week ago and moved up to #14 this week; they debuted at #22 in the Coaches Poll last week and moved up to #15 this week. Not bad for a week when their only game was a win over a very bad Alabama State team!

Iowa benefited from a spate of losses from teams ranked in the mid-to-low teens a week ago. #14 Florida State lost to Villanova, #15 Mississippi State lost to Arizona State on a neutral floor, #16 Clemson lost on a neutral court to Creighton (a loss which dropped them from the Top 25 entirely, which seems a little harsh), #17 UCLA suffered back-to-back blowout losses to Michigan State and North Carolina (lol [REDACTED]), #18 TCU lost at home to Lipscomb (?!), and #19 LSU lost a pair of games to Florida State and Oklahoma State. All those losses freed up space in the 14-20 range and Iowa was well-positioned to take advantage of those losses and zip up the rankings. Iowa benefited from not playing much last week and, thus, not having many opportunities to lose. As the classic film WarGames taught us, sometimes the winning move is not to play at all. 

WarGames

It's been a while since Iowa was ranked this highly so early in the season: 

The last time Iowa was ranked as high as #14 in the AP Poll at any point in the season was near the end of the 2016 regular season, when they were ranked 8th. Those were heady days.

Iowa's shiny new ranking will be tested by three games in the next seven days. Iowa's big week starts with a game against unranked Pitt at home tomorrow night in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge before a pair of Top 25 vs Top 25 clashes bookend the weekend: a home game with #22 Wisconsin on Friday and a trip to East Lansing on Monday to face #9 Michigan State. We should get a good sense of how legitimate Iowa's ranking is soon. 

In fact, the entire Big Ten retains a heavy presence in the AP Top 25 this week. Over 25% of the Top 25 (7 of 25 teams) hails from the Big Ten this week. #7 Michigan and #9 Michigan State are the only B1G teams in the Top 10, but the back half of the Top 25 features #14 Iowa, #16 Ohio State, #19 Purdue, #22 Wisconsin, and #24 Maryland. Indiana and Minnesota are among the top ten teams in the Also Receiving Votes category as well. The Big Ten continues to look pretty stacked this season. 

Iowa also placed highly in another new ranking that was officially unveiled on Monday: the NCAA's new NET rankings, where they sit at #15. 

The NET rankings are intended to replace RPI and help the NCAA Basketball Selection Committee select and seed the 68 teams who make the NCAA Tournament. If you need a refresher on the NET rankings, the NCAA has provided this graphic to explain them a bit more: 

You can also find more information on the NET rankings here. The first edition of the rankings includes some surprising results, like Ohio State at #1, Loyola Marymount at #10, Belmont at #12, and Nebraska at #14 (and they were apparently #1 in the previous week's rankings!). These rankings, uh, might take a little getting used to. CBS Sports' Matt Norlander has a good breakdown of the new rankings here, including some analysis of the flaws in these rankings. 

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