Hawkeyes Stay At No. 5 In ESPN Rankings

John Bohnenkamp

Iowa remained at No. 5 in ESPN's latest Way-Too-Early men's basketball rankings.

The Hawkeyes are the highest-ranked Big Ten team on the list. Baylor is the new No. 1 team, followed by Villanova, Gonzaga, Virginia and Iowa.

ESPN's Jeff Borzello says of Iowa:

"Luka Garza is back, and so Iowa is looking more and more like a Final Four contender exiting the summer. Garza will be the Wooden Award favorite entering next season after finishing second to Dayton's Obi Toppin last season. After the improvement we've seen from the big man his first three seasons with the Hawkeyes, what can we expect from Garza as a senior? The best guess might be an expanded perimeter game. He attempted only 26 3-pointers in 11 nonconference games but upped it to 83 attempts in 20 Big Ten games. If Iowa is going to live up to its preseason expectations, however, it's not going to be solely because of Garza. It will have to come on the defensive end. The Hawkeyes were 12th out of 14 Big Ten teams last season in defensive efficiency, and the last time they finished inside the top 10 in the league at that end of the floor was 2016. That needs to change."

Borzello projects a starting lineup of Garza, Jordan Bohannon, Connor McCaffery, CJ Fredrick and Joe Wieskamp.

Wisconsin is ranked No. 6. Illinois is at No. 7 after being unranked. Kansas, Duke and Tennessee complete the top 10.

Michigan State is 13th and Ohio State is 23rd.

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