Iowa men's basketball appears in AP Top 25 for the first time this season

For the first time this season, the Iowa men's basketball team made an appearance in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. The Hawkeyes (18-8, 8-7) were ranked No. 25 in the latest poll released on Monday morning. They received 59 points from eligible voters, one point ahead of Michigan State who Iowa plays on Tuesday night at home. 

Iowa's ranking comes off the heels of their biggest win of the season: a road ranked win at Ohio State (ranked No. 22 in the latest poll) on Saturday afternoon. Prior to that, the Hawkeyes were winless against ranked opponents. Their 75-62 result was Ohio State's first home loss of the season. 

"We knew we needed an opportunity for one of these games and to make the most of it," sophomore forward Keegan Murray said after Saturday's game. "I just felt like this win was a turning point for us and just our belief that we can knock off any team in the country if we play 40 minutes and we did that."

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Iowa is trending upwards as the regular season nears a close and postseason play becomes the focus. The Hawkeyes lost three of their last four games in January, dropping them to a 4-6 record in Big Ten play. This month, Iowa holds a 4-1 record with opportunities to add more wins including Nebraska and Northwestern who hold a combined 37% winning percentage. 

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Iowa's one of five ranked Big Ten teams joining No. 4 Purdue, No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 15 Illinois and No. 22 Ohio State. Currently, Iowa's a projected No. 7-9 seed according to various NCAA Tournament bracketology predictions. 

Kennington Lloyd Smith III covers Iowa Hawkeyes football and men's basketball for the Des Moines Register. You can connect with Kennington on Twitter @SkinnyKenny_ or email him at ksmith@gannett.com.