Iowa, that football basketball powerhouse!

The Hawkeyes just about shocked college football nation this season, going 12-0 in the regular season and temporarily sitting in a playoff spot. (Then came losses to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game and Stanford in the Rose Bowl, but still: quite a season). And now: Iowa’s men’s basketball team is No. 3. Yes, in the country.

It’s the (School) Year of the Hawkeye.

Iowa jumped from ninth to third in Monday’s AP top 25 poll, snagging its highest ranking since January 1987.

If you’re just tuning in, Iowa basketball can claim, since Christmas, two victories each over Michigan State and Purdue and nine-game winning streak.

And it’s not just the Hawkeyes. Iowa State is ranked No. 14. And our Amelia Rayno pointed out last week that three teams from the state of Iowa have upsets over No. 1-ranked teams: Iowa beat Michigan State, Iowa State beat Oklahoma and Northern Iowa (unranked now) beat North Carolina early in the season.

Rayno wrote in her College Basketball Insider last week that in this season of no clear national favorite, Iowa has to be considered one of the frontrunners.

The Gophers play Iowa just once this season. It could be a bloody Valentine in Iowa City on Feb. 14 when Minnesota (6-14, 0-8) rolls in as a big underdog.

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