Iowa, Texas A&M at rare ranks

  • By JIM O'CONNELL
  • Tuesday, January 26, 2016 1:00am
  • News

Iowa is at its highest ranking in 29 years while Texas A&M is at its highest ranking ever.

The Hawkeyes, who have beaten five ranked teams this season, are third, their highest ranking since January 1987. That month the Hawkeyes spent their only week ever as a No. 1 team and three weeks at No. 2.

Roy Marble and Kevin Gamble were the stars of that team which finished 30-5 and reached the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament under first-year coach Dr. Tom Davis.

Texas A&M’s previous highest ranking was sixth which the Aggies were at for four weeks in 2006-07. This is their second straight week in the top ten.

IOWA WARNING: There have been five teams ranked No. 1 so far this season and three of them have lost a game in the state of Iowa.

North Carolina lost at Northern Iowa and Michigan State lost at the University of Iowa. Last week, Oklahoma carried their top ranking into the Hawkeye State and lost at Iowa State. Kentucky and Kansas were the other schools to be ranked No. 1 this season.

COMING IN: This week’s three newcomers — No. 22 Wichita State, No. 23 Oregon and No. 25 Notre Dame — were all ranked during the season.

Wichita State (14-5) was No. 10 in the preseason poll and the Shockers were ranked for two more weeks before falling out of the rankings. After starting 5-5, the Shockers have won nine straight games.

Oregon (16-4) had been ranked for four straight weeks, reaching as high as 15th before dropping out for the last six polls. The Ducks are back in having won five of their last six.

Notre Dame (14-5) was 19th in the preseason poll and then was ranked for two more weeks before dropping out. The Fighting Irish return on a four-game winning streak that includes a win at Duke.

GOING OUT: Butler, which was No. 18 last week, was the highest ranked team to drop out of the poll. The Bulldogs lost to Providence and Creighton last week.

Southern California moved into the poll last week for the first time this season at No. 21. The Trojans lost to Oregon and Oregon State last week for the quick visit to the rankings.

South Carolina, which started the season with 15 straight wins, reached as high as 19th in its five weeks in the poll. The Gamecocks fell out last week after losing to Tennessee.

MOVING AROUND: No. 3 Iowa, No. 10 Providence and No. 19 Indiana had the week’s biggest jumps with all of them improving their ranking by six places.

On the down side, Arizona’s fall from 12th to No. 18 was the week’s biggest fall.

BEATING THE BEST: One way to explain Iowa’s rise to No. 3 is that Hawkeyes have a national-best five wins over ranked teams this season. Iowa has swept fellow Big Ten teams Michigan State and Purdue and the Hawkeyes beat Wichita State early in the season.

No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 10 Providence both have four wins over ranked teams this season. Both teams have a win over Villanova.

CONFERENCE CALLS: Notre Dame joining the Top 25 gives the Atlantic Coast Conference six ranked teams. The Big 12 and Big Ten both have five teams in the Top 25 while the Big East has three. The Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference have two ranked teams each while the American Athletic Conference and Missouri Valley Conference both have one.

DOUBLE-RANKED GAMES: There are eight games this week featuring two ranked teams.

The only teams with two such games this week meet Monday night — No. 4 Kansas and No. 14 Iowa State. Their other double-ranked games will be part of Saturday’s Big 12-SEC Challenge when No. 20 Kentucky visits Kansas and Iowa State travels to No. 5 Texas A&M.

No. 24 Duke is at No. 15 Miami on Monday and No. 7 Xavier is at No. 10 Providence on Tuesday.

There are two double-ranked games on Thursday: No. 3 Iowa at No. 8 Maryland and No. 23 Oregon at No. 18 Arizona.

The other game between ranked teams is Saturday: No. 11 Virginia at No. 16 Louisville.

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