There’s more than bragging rights on the line Friday when Iowa meets Iowa State in a highly anticipated men’s basketball game at Hilton Coliseum.
It’s also an opportunity for the Hawkeyes to beat a ranked team and improve their NCAA resume. The Cyclones are ranked 17th in this week’s Associated Press poll. Iowa is No 23. This marks just the second time the teams meet with joint residency in the top 25.
It also happened on Dec.19, 1987, when No. 20 Iowa State got 54 points from Lafester Rhodes in a 102-100 overtime victory over No. 7 Iowa at Hilton Coliseum. This is the ninth time both teams have been ranked in the same season, covering a total of 33 weeks.
“I think it legitimizes everything,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said of the dual ranking. “You have two really good teams going at it. When you’re a player, you want to play in meaningful games. You want to play in a game that means a lot to a lot of people. This game means a lot to a lot of people. It’s an important game. It’s why you work so hard.”
Iowa beat No. 6 Purdue in the final game of the 2010-11 season, and won four of seven games against ranked foes in 2011-12. But last season, Iowa was 0-7 against Top 25 competition and ended the season in the NIT.
“We had an opportunity against Villanova, and we let that one get away,” Iowa senior forward Zach McCabe said.
The Wildcats, now No. 10, beat Iowa 88-83 in overtime in the title game of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas on Nov. 30.
Iowa has six games remaining against teams currently ranked in the top five – two each against No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 5 Michigan State.
But first, the Cyclones.
“Now, with both teams ranked, it shows the quality of our program and how we’ve stepped up so far,” said McCabe, who was on an 11-20 team as a freshman. “It shows our growth, and the type of players and character we have on our team.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball