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Iowa guard Bakari Evelyn on tuning out the crowd noise, making key free throws and helping his team get a big road victory. Hear more: Hawk Central

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You're probably not overselling the significance of Sunday's Iowa basketball road win at Minnesota if you think it's ultimately the most important or gutsy win this team may put together this season.

Have there been better quality wins than the 58-55 slog up at Williams Arena? Of course.

Have there been more influential victories? Given the circumstances, maybe not.

Either way, that 11-0 run to close the afternoon did enough to keep the Hawkeyes treading water, both in the gauntlet that is the Big Ten Conference and in the spider web that is the national polling picture.

Iowa (18-8, 9-6 Big Ten) found its way to 20th in both major polls released Monday. Fran McCaffery's squad is down three spots from 17th in the USA TODAY Coaches' Poll and up a slot from 21st in The Associated Press rankings. The AP volatility, especially, comes after a Saturday in which nine ranked teams lost.

MORE:Ryan Kriener enjoys his Minnesota moment

If the conference season ended today, Iowa would be the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten tournament. Yet the Hawkeyes are just two games clear of 10th-place Purdue.

All the while, the team is still in the conversation for a top-four NCAA Tournament seed or a possible backdoor into an Omaha site assignment if the cards fall right.

ANALYSIS:Breaking down the geography of Iowa's possible NCAA placements

The Hawkeyes have just one game this week, a 6 p.m. Thursday home showdown with No. 24 Ohio State (17-8, 7-7).

USA TODAY COACHES' POLL

  1. Baylor (23-1) [21 first-place votes], 788 points
  2. Gonzaga (26-1) [11], 772
  3. Kansas (22-3), 723
  4. San Diego State (26-0), 717
  5. Dayton (23-2), 659
  6. Duke (22-3), 652
  7. Maryland (21-4), 601
  8. Florida State (21-4), 524
  9. Penn State (20-5), 503
  10. Kentucky (20-5), 488
  11. Louisville (21-5), 466
  12. Auburn (22-3), 398
  13. Villanova (19-6), 383
  14. Seton Hall (18-7), 355
  15. Creighton 20-6), 340
  16. Oregon (20-6), 311
  17. Colorado (20-6), 287
  18. West Virginia (18-7), 279
  19. Marquette (17-7), 171
  20. Iowa (18-8), 168
  21. Arizona (18-7), 132
  22. Houston (20-6), 131
  23. Butler (19-7), 124
  24. Ohio State (17-8), 79
  25. Michigan State (17-9), 76

Dropped out: No. 23 Illinois; No. 24 Texas Tech.

Others receiving votes: Texas Tech 59; Brigham Young 56; Michigan 44; Illinois 24; Virginia 20; Louisiana State 16; Northern Iowa 10; Rhode Island 9; Southern Methodist 6; Oklahoma 6; St. Mary's 5; Florida 5; Rutgers 3; East Tennessee St. 3; Cincinnati 3; Stephen F. Austin 2; Wisconsin 1; Arizona State 1.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS TOP 25

  1. Baylor (23-1) [48], 1,559
  2. Gonzaga (26-1) [14], 1,518
  3. Kansas (22-3) [1], 1,434
  4. San Diego State (26-0), 1,404
  5. Dayton (23-2), 1,294
  6. Duke (22-3), 1,285
  7. Maryland (21-4), 1,194
  8. Florida State (21-4), 1,088
  9. Penn State (20-5), 1,024
  10. Kentucky (20-5), 1,011
  11. Louisville (21-5), 837
  12. Villanova (19-6), 824
  13. Auburn (22-3), 818
  14. Oregon (20-6), 742
  15. Creighton (20-6), 718
  16. Seton Hall (18-7), 672
  17. West Virginia (18-7), 552
  18. Colorado (20-6), 501
  19. Marquette (17-7), 404
  20. Iowa (18-8), 254
  21. Butler (19-7), 242
  22. Houston (20-6), 237
  23. BYU (21-7), 188
  24. Arizona (18-7), 102
  25. Ohio State (17-8), 95

Receiving votes: Texas Tech 92, Michigan State 87, Michigan 83, LSU 55, Rhode Island 39, Virginia 32, Cincinnati 14, Stephen F. Austin 14, Illinois 12, Northern Iowa 9, Utah State 8, Rutgers 6, Florida 6, East Tennessee State 5, Saint Mary's 4, Tulsa 3, Richmond 3, SMU 2, New Mexico State 2, Wright State 1, Arizona State 1

Danny Lawhon works across the Register’s sports department, from editing, social media and sports wagering to bowls, brackets and data dives. Reach him at dlawhon@registermedia.com or follow @DannyLawhon on Twitter.

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