After starting out 5-0 in conference play, the Iowa Hawkeyes have broken into the Top 10 of the USA Today Coaches' Poll. Fran McCaffery's bunch are now ranked #9 in the nation. They jump up nine spots from last week and crack the top 10 for the first time since 2002.
The boost in national acclaim and attention is largely in part due to Iowa's play over the last few weeks. They defeated Michigan State without Denzel Valentine at home by 13, came back from behind against Purdue to knock off the Boilermakers on the road, blew out Nebraska at home, went to the Breslin Center and beat MSU with Denzel Valentine by 17, and followed it up with a win at home over Michigan on Sunday.
There isn't too many teams across the country that have that kind of production already achieved within conference play. Add that to non-conference wins over Florida State, Marquette, and Wichita State and the fact they haven't lost in over a month, and there's perfectly good reason why Iowa is now in the Top 10 and projected to be a 2-seed in many NCAA Tournament bracket predictions.
This is even more noteworthy because Iowa will likely head to Des Moines for their first couple tournament games if they are awarded a top 3-4 seed. Less travel and more fan support is always nice to begin the tournament.
Iowa plays next on Thursday at Rutgers at 6:00 p.m. CST on ESPNU.