Iowa center Luka Garza explains why his success this season could have only happened if he had attended Iowa. Listen to the Big Ten player of the year Hawk Central


With Iowa center Luka Garza announcing he will return for his senior season in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes immediately vault into the top of the Big Ten race and, potentially, the pool of teams who can realistically challenge for the Final Four.

Garza also immediately projects as a national player of the year favorite.

Hawkeye fans around the state were abuzz with the news Sunday. But there's been plenty of national reaction to Garza's decision, too.

CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein now views Iowa as the 2020-21 Big Ten favorite.

Rothstein's colleague at CBS Sports, national writer Gary Parrish, believes Iowa should now be considered a preseason top-10 team.

Heck, let's go even higher — ESPN's Jeff Borzello thinks Iowa could even rank in the top five when preseason polls are released.

Stadium's Jeff Goodman calls Garza the "clear" player of the year frontrunner.

Legendary ESPN broadcaster Dick Vitale got in on the action, too, saying Garza's return sets up what should be a big year of basketball in the Big Ten. (Yes, we think Fran McCaffery will sleep well tonight, too.)

The Athletic's Dana O'Neil thinks Garza's return puts the Hawkeyes in contention for a national title in 2020-21.

NBC Sports' Rob Dauster calls Iowa a "top ten team with Final Four potential."

Matthew Bain covers recruiting and pretty much anything else under the sports sun for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network.  Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.

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