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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Iowa’s first win over a ranked team is a big one and shows it’s a Big Ten contender

The Dagger

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Iowa forward Melsahn Basabe tries to get to the basket as Ohio State guard Aaron Craft (USATSI)

Iowa had some decent wins on its resume going into Sunday's game against No. 3 Ohio State, but it had lost its only two games against ranked teams providing some doubts about the most experienced team in the Big Ten.

The 20th-ranked Hawkeyes wiped away those doubts by beating the Buckeyes on their home floor in coach Fran McCaffery's return from a one-game suspension for a blowup with officials at Wisconsin. It is Iowa's first win over a top-five team since 2001.

Iowa hit three consecutive 3-pointers midway through the second half after it seemed Ohio State might pull away. At that point it was clear the Hawkeyes would not go quietly. Instead they matched Ohio State's defensive intensity and won with better shooting down the stretch.

Iowa made 48 percent of its field goals, which is a good outing for any team against the Buckeyes. Five Hawkeyes scored in double figures led by Roy Devyn Marble who finished with 22. That kind of balance and the fact that Iowa can score inside and out will make them tough to beat the rest of the season.

While Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State are clearly still the favorites to win the Big Ten and the most likely teams from the league to advance deep into March, Sunday's win made it clear Iowa could also be capable when it's playing its best.

Ohio State started the season 15-0, but lost for the first time earlier in the week at Michigan State and did not respond the way it wanted to on its home court against Iowa.

Turnovers (17) and rebounding (minus-9) were the biggest problems, leading to extra possessions for Iowa. It wasn't point guard Aaron Craft's best outing. He scored six points with six assists, but also turned the ball over six times and fouled out.

It's the second consecutive year the Buckeyes have dropped two straight games in league play against ranked opponents. They responded to make a run in March a year ago and they should be expected to do the same this time.

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Kyle Ringo is the assistant editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at kyle.ringo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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