116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
It has probably dawned on you that it’s become quite a college basketball season in Iowa.
On Saturday, Northern Iowa clinched the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball regular-season title with an overtime win over Loyola Chicago. On Sunday, Iowa secured a share of the Big Ten’s women’s basketball regular-season crown for the first time since 2008 by defeating No. 6 Michigan in Iowa City, 104-80.
Monday night, Iowa State (23-5) hosts Baylor for sole possession of first place in Big 12 women’s basketball, with the winner a near-certainty to finish out the regular season later this week as the champion.
The Iowa and Iowa State men aren’t in championship contention, but both are exceeding the expectations of outsiders and are on the good side of the NCAA tournament bubble right now. Drake’s men came up one game shy of tying UNI, but were still a sparkly 13-5 in the Missouri Valley.
Iowa is 10-7 in the Big Ten entering its Monday night home game against Northwestern, and 20-8 overall.
Iowa State is just 7-9 in the Big 12, but that’s seven more wins than last season. And, it’s 20-9 total. The Cyclones were 3-9 in the conference not long ago, but have snapped back by winning their last four games.
Iowa sophomore Caitlin Clark is going to be a first-team All-American, and that’s not open to debate. She is, as it is popular to say, a cheat code. The national leader in points and assists per game? That’s crazy.
Trae Young did the same for the Oklahoma men’s team in 2017-18. Have your name alongside Trae Young’s in basketball feats, and you’ve done something.
Iowa State’s Ashley Joens is an All-America candidate herself with 20.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game for a top-10 team. Iowa’s Keegan Murray has to be in the conversation for first-team All-America. He averages a Big Ten-best 23.2 points.
Iowa State’s Izaiah Brockington is a lock to be first-team All-Big 12. He is third in the league in scoring. He is a 6-foot-4 guard who is second in his 10-team conference in rebounding.
UNI’s AJ Green scored 32 points in the conference clincher against defending-champ Loyola. He, like the other mentioned players here, is great.
So is Iowa women’s center Monika Czinano, who averages 20.8 points, fourth-best in the Big Ten.
Some season in Iowa, huh?
Also, huzzah to the Cornell College men’s basketball team. The Rams won at Ripon 82-79 in double-overtime Saturday night to win the Midwest Conference tournament and qualify for their first NCAA Division III national tourney since 2009.
I’m probably overlooking other teams and individuals. In some years, that isn’t a problem. This year, there’s an overflow of good hoops stories.
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