1586 LINKEDIN 2 COMMENTMORE

The Iowa basketball team continues to break new ground, for the first time this season garnering first-place votes in national polls.

The Hawkeyes were voted fifth in the nation with three first-place votes in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll released Monday, up two spots from last week after Iowa's double-digit wins over Penn State and Northwestern. There are only 32 coaches that vote in that poll, so almost 10 percent think the Hawkeyes (19-4 overall, 10-1 in the Big Ten Conference) are the nation's best team.

In the later-released Associated Press poll, Iowa was voted fourth — one point behind third-ranked Oklahoma — with 11 first-place votes out of 65 ballots (17 percent).

Both polls ranked Villanova No. 1, followed by Maryland and Oklahoma. Xavier was fourth in the coaches' poll, fifth in the AP.

This is believed to be the first time Iowa has received first-place votes since the late 1980s. Iowa was ranked No. 1 nationally by the AP for one week during the 1986-87 season after an 18-0 start.

The jockeying in the national polls is reflective of there not being a clear front-runner. Seven different teams received first-place votes in the coaches' poll, including No. 8 North Carolina (which lost twice last week) and No. 9 Michigan State. One coach's ballot ranked Iowa 10th.

Six different teams got No. 1s from AP voters, including No. 7 Virginia.

The Hawkeyes latest stature will be put to the test with Thursday's ESPN-televised showdown at Indiana (19-5, 9-2). Iowa is off to a 10-1 Big Ten start for the first time since 1981-82 and has won nine of those games by double digits, including Sunday's 77-65 win at Illinois.

1586 LINKEDIN 2 COMMENTMORE