Iowa opens its Big Ten schedule today against Ohio State. Despite not being ranked, the Hawkeyes might be the best team in the league, but need to prove it on the court against the Buckeyes and in 15 games thereafter.
Iowa (11-3) and Ohio State (10-3) tipoff at 5:30 p.m. today in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa remained unranked when the new polls came out Monday. The Hawkeyes were receiving votes, but not in the Top 25.
“We don’t have any control over that,” Bluder said. “So all we have to do, all we can do, is to go after the next game, win the next game.
“Sometimes people get put into the Top 25 and never come out, seems like they can do no wrong once you get anointed up there. Other teams like us, seems like we have a hard time doing that.
“Maybe we’re the Rodney Dangerfield of women’s basketball.”
No respect? At least national women’s basketball website FullCourt.com wrote a story this week titled: “Hawkeyes strong pre-conference deserving of national recognition.”
According to RPIratings.com, Iowa is ranked 12th nationally in RPI. Only Penn State (7) among Big Ten teams ranks higher.
The AP Top 25 features No. 9 Penn State, No. 14 Purdue and No. 25 Nebraska out of the Big Ten. Ohio State is ranked 24th in the USA Today Coaches Poll along with Pen State (9th), Purdue (14th) and Nebraska (19th).
“We look at the rankings,” senior Morgan Johnson said. “We’re a little disappointed to not see our name up there right now. But we are way more capable than what maybe we’re getting credit for right now.
“If we continue to build on that, we have a little edge going with that.”
Several months ago, at the Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, when the preseason votes were added up, Penn State and Nebraska were the unanimous 1-2 picks for the 2013 Big Ten title by the coaches and the media. Purdue and Ohio State split the vote for third.
Since then Iowa has carved out a 11-3 record against a schedule ranked 15th-best in the country. That includes wins over then-No. 12 West Virginia, then-No. 22 Iowa State, and then-No. 20 Texas.
“We were not picked in Top 3,” Iowa senior Jaime Printy said. “But we always finish higher than we’ve been picked in the preseason. If we play like how we know how, we can do some damage out there.”
The road to rankings and quest for a title starts with the Buckeyes. No easy task. Ohio State owns an 8-2 record over Iowa in the previous 10 meetings.
The Buckeyes feature senior guard Tayler Hill (19.4 ppg) and Ashley Adams, a 6-foot-5 junior who averages 10.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
Amber Stokes also is averaging double-figures (10.8 ppg) for the Buckeyes, who have won four in a row.
“It’s a while new season,” Johnson said. “We have all the momentum right now. We’ve been playing good, things have been clicking.”
Iowa did not lose a game in December and are on a six-game winning steak overall.
“We don’t have those All-American names on our roster, so we’re not kind of picked in those situations,” Bluder said of the preseason pass over. “But our teams’ always kind of been a blue-collar team, works hard, works smart, so we win games.
“We haven’t challenged for that Big Ten title for, what, four years.”
Iowa tied for second last season. Since sharing the title in 2008, Iowa has placed third or better each successive season.
“I think we can (win it),” Johnson said. “It’s a reasonable goal that’s exciting to think about. But that’s in the future. We can’t overlook anybody right now.”
There’s a long ways to go before the Hawkeyes try for their sixth straight NCAA Tournament
ESPN.com latest bracketology has Iowa as a fifth seed hosting Toledo in the opening round in Iowa City.
“Right now, we want to be in that top group again in the Big Ten, but certainly if we’re poised to be in that championship spot, we’ll reevaluate and redo those goals,” Bluder said.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball