Iowa Men's Hoops Climbing the Charts

<P>Though much of this week's attention is focused on Iowa Football recruiting, the Iowa Men's Basketball team is off to a fantastic start, and the results are beginning to roll in. We take a quick look at what Steve Alford's Hawkeyes have done to date in the rankings and by the numbers.

The Hawks moved up one spot in this week's AP Rankings to #16. Also, in the first RPI Report Released by the Big Ten conference this week, the Hawks check in at #5 in the country, while the Big Ten ranks #2 overall. Iowa also checks in at #10 in Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings.

RPI - Through games of Dec. 12

By Conference

1. ACC .6195
2. Big Ten .5933
3. SEC .5762
4. Big East .5716
5. Big 12 .5699
6. Pac-10 .5609
7. Missouri Valley .5541
8. Conference USA .5420
9. Mid-American .5360
10. Sun Belt .5290

School Adjusted RPI

4. Illinois .7124
5. Iowa .7091
15. Wisconsin .6562
37. Ohio State .6095
45. Minnesota .6014
54. Michigan State .5907
73. Michigan .5700
88. Indiana .5541
123. Purdue .5283
124. Penn State .5278
204. Northwestern .4672

Tough Schedules: According to the RPI Report, the Big Ten's strength of schedule is the toughest in the country. After one month of non-conference play, the Conference has taken on 14 top-25 ranked teams, more than the ACC (8), Big East (3), Big 12 (3), SEC (10) and Pac-10 (8). The Big Ten squads have also competed against 29 teams among the ACC, Big East, Big 12, SEC and Pac-10. The ACC follows behind the Big Ten, facing 22 teams among those six conferences, while the Big East has competed against 17.

The Big Ten has four of the top 30 toughest schedules led by the Indiana Hoosiers, who are rated 17th in strength of schedule and followed by Wisconsin (19th), Purdue (23rd) and Iowa (29th). For the Hoosiers, three of their four losses have been against squads ranked in the top 10 of the national polls - Connecticut, Kentucky and North Carolina, while the Hawkeyes went 2-1 at the EA Sports Maui Invitational, defeating Louisville and Texas, before falling to North Carolina.

Coaching Milestones: With a 97-72 record in his six seasons at the Hawkeye helm, Iowa head coach Steve Alford is only three wins away from becoming the fifth coach in school history to earn 100 victories. Earlier this season, he captured his 250th all-time victory and now has a record of 253-149 in 14 years of coaching.

HOT HORNER: Jeff Horner is off to a great start this year and has picked up where he left off from his torrid second half pace from a season ago.

Horner is 26th nationally in three-point shots made per game and is 18th nationally in three-point percentage (.545). He leads the Big Ten in both categories. Horner is 16th in the nation with 6.7 assists per game, and second in the Big Ten.

Teammate Erek Hansen is 7th in the nation with 3.8 blocked shots per game

As a team, Iowa is 13th in the country in scoring offensive, averaging 85.3 points per game and they are 21st in the nation in three-point field goal percentage. Iowa is 18th in assists per game and 9th in blocks per game.

Again, it should be noted that Iowa has done this in playing one of the more challenging schedules in college basketball. rates Iowa's strength of schedule to date as the 11th most challenging in the nation.


Horner and Pierre Pierce are 6th and 7th in the league in points per game, respectively, while Adam Haluska and Greg Brunner are tied for 16th.

Brunner is 6th in the league in rebounds per game, while Horner is 12th.

Haluska is 5th best in the league at the free throw line, while Pierce leads the league in steals, with Horner 3rd.

HORNER, PART II: Take a look at where Jeff Horner rates in the Big Ten, statistically. All of these stats are per game numbers:

Points: 6th
Rebounds: 12th
Assists: 2nd
Defensive Rebs: 5th
FT %: 10th
Steals: 3rd
3 FG %: 3rd
3's Made: T-1st
Assist to Turnover: 3rd

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