On Saturday, the state of Iowa was jumping for joy. The state is currently experiencing an abundance of success at the collegiate level. Both the Iowa State Cyclones and the Iowa Hawkeyes were victorious against two very good programs this past weekend. The Cyclones had two huge wins against fellow Big 12 opponents. One of them, Kansas, was ranked number 9 last week according to the AP top 25. The Iowa Hawkeyes also made a statement in their win against the Ohio State Buckeyes who started the season ranked in the top 20. This win catapulted the Hawkeyes into the top 25. If the success of these teams continues, we may see universities in Iowa making a deep run down the brackets this upcoming March.
In all the excitement over this weekend’s games, Northern Iowa can be pushed out of the spotlight. They hold the 20th spot on the top 25 which should not be overshadowed. All three teams being in the top 25 is definitely a historic event. Ever since the creation of the AP poll system, all three teams have not been ranked this highly.
By itself having three teams in the top 25 is an impressive feat but there are two notable aspects that add to this miraculous event. The state of Iowa does not breed the best talent compared to other states. If the talent pool is limited, it nearly guarantees a mediocre program. A limited number of recruits is not even the main issue. Most of the talent ends up leaving to play outside the state. Some notable NBA players who came from Iowa are Harrison Barnes, Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison. None of those aforementioned athletes stayed in Iowa.
In order to be successful, these schools had to be resourceful and take advantage of their situation. The teams in Iowa are big on building their teams through transfer students. So far, it seems to be an effective strategy. They also have a sense of consistency at the head coach of each team has been a part of the organization for many years.
As of right now the Iowa State Cyclone are playing at a level above Northern Iowa and Iowa. They have beaten some high ranked teams and have dealt with adversity. Injuries to their starting lineup do not disrupt them. In the recent game against Kansas State, Jameel McKay came off the bench and performed at a high level. Even when someone goes down, they exhibit a “next man up” mentality.