Indiana men’s basketball checked off another milestone marker Monday afternoon that the program hasn’t experienced in five years.
The Hoosiers rose to No. 10 in this week’s Associated Press Top-25 rankings. It is the first time since Dec. 12, 2017, that Indiana has been ranked in the top-10 of the AP poll.
Indiana’s one-spot Ascent in the eyes of the Voters is consistent with previous rankings. Mike Woodson’s Squad began the season at No. 13 in the preseason poll, jumped to No. 12 after week one, jumped again to No. 11 last week, and now, cracking the top-10.
Helping Indiana’s continued rise was a chaotic week for several top-ranked teams. North Carolina, previously the No. 1 team in the nation, lost two games in a five-day stretch and tumbled 17 spots to No. 18. Gonzaga and Duke, previous top-10 teams, also dropped to No. 14 and No. 17, respectively, as a result of two losses this past week.
Indiana is off to an undefeated 6-0 start this season, and have given AP poll Voters little reason for concern. IU added two more wins to its unblemished record this past week, defeating Little Rock and Jackson State by a combined 58-point margin. Sophomore guard Tamar Bates had a career-best game in IU’s 90-51 win over Jackson State as he tallied a career-high 22 points in 24 minutes off the bench.
Injury concerns are coming at a critical time for the Hoosiers, however. Junior guards Trey Galloway and Anthony Leal have not dressed for multiple games due to various lingering injuries, while preseason All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis did not play against Little Rock due to a back injury. Jackson-Davis returned against Jackson State, scoring 11 points in 19 minutes, but he was seen grasping his lower back on several occasions.
Arguably IU’s toughest stretch of the season begins Wednesday as it welcomes No. 18 North Carolina into Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Then, Indiana’s Big Ten season begins when it travels to Rutgers on Dec. 3 and hosts Nebraska on Dec. 7. Three days later on Dec. 10, Indiana heads to Las Vegas to play No. 4 Arizona at a neutral site, then the Hoosiers visit Allen Fieldhouse to battle No. 9 Kansas on Dec. 17.
As of the updated top-25 rankings, Indiana has or will play 11 teams currently ranked or receiving votes — No. 4 Arizona; Well. 5 Purdue; Well. 9 Kansas; Well. 16 Illinois; Well. 18 North Carolina; Well. 20 Michigan State; Well. 22 Maryland; Well. 25 Ohio State; RV Iowa; RV Michigan; RV Wisconsin.
As a conference, the Big Ten has nine teams ranked or receiving votes this week — Indiana; Purdue; Illinois; Michigan State; Maryland; Ohio State; Iowa; Michigan; Badger State.