By RON MALY
This Hawkeye basketball team is starting to make a believer out of me.
Tonight's 59-57 road victory over a 22nd-ranked Wisconsin team that's definitely doing the old fold-up a at the wrong time of the season has me more convinced than ever that Iowa can make it to the NCAA tournament.
Maury John, the late and legendary Drake coach, used to tell me that what Wisconsin is doing is "going into the tank."
The Badgers have a 22-8 record and Iowa is 17-13, but the Hawkeyes were definitely the better team tonight in Madison,Wis.
Indeed, Iowa has been one of the better teams in the entire Big Ten Conference recently.
There's a regular-season finale at home against Penn State and a conference tournament still to play, but I'm starting to think the Hawkeyes are playing the best basketball the league.
Unlike a lot of other people, though, I refuse to call Iowa a young team. Instead, it's a team with senior Peter Jok and a lot of talented underclassmen that is demonstrting more maturity with every game.
There was nothing young about how Iowa won tonight over a Wisconsin team that was tentative and uncertain.
The Hawkeyes scored the game's final 7 points to knock off a second straight ranked team.
And Wisconsin has now lost 5 consecutive games to unranked teams.
The way the Hawkeyes are playing, they have just as good a chance of winning the Big Ten tournament as any other team.
Then there will be no doubt they'll be in the NCAA's Big Dance.