Iowa State moves up, Iowa almost moves out in latest college hoops rankings

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Randy Peterson, rpeterson@dmreg.com

Iowa State’s gauntlet week has created an opportunity.

Iowa’s opportunity week has created somewhat of a gauntlet.

That’s the story of the state’s two Power Five basketball teams, based on the final national poll rankings of January that were released Monday.

The Cyclones, who took Big 12 Conference leader Kansas to the wire at Allen Fieldhouse before thumping Ole Miss on the road in the Big 12/SEC Challenge this past week, made significant leaps. Iowa State moved from 25th in the USA TODAY Coaches’ Poll and 24th in The Associated Press poll to No. 20 in both sets of rankings.

The Hawkeyes, who ran out of steam in the second half at home against Michigan State before floundering on defense last Sunday at Minnesota, slipped from 19th to out of the rankings in the AP poll and from 21st to 25th in the coaches’ poll.

The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central use the coaches’ poll as its default rankings system.

Iowa State (15-5, 4-3 Big 12) has a chance to capitalize on Saturday’s important road win with a pair of Big 12 Conference home games this week. The Cyclones face cellar-dweller West Virginia (9-11, 1-6) at 6 p.m. Wednesday before a key contest against Texas (11-9, 3-4) at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Iowa (16-5, 5-5 Big Ten), meanwhile, has just one game in the next 10 days, and it’s a biggie — a 6 p.m. Friday home contest against Michigan (19-1, 8-1), ranked fifth in both polls. It’s the last scheduled game for the Hawkeyes against a team ranked in the top 20, although Iowa has games against Maryland (Nos. 24/21) and Wisconsin (Nos. 23/24) remaining.

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Source: Des Moines Register