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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Saturday / September 23.
  • Iowa State Takes Out Oklahoma as No. 1 Falls Again

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    There must be something in the water in Iowa. For the third time this season, the No. 1 team in the land lost in the Hawkeye State.

    There must be something in the water in Iowa.

    For the third time this season, the No. 1 team in the land lost in the Hawkeye State.

    The latest example came on ESPN’s “Big Monday” when No. 19 Iowa State took out newly-minted No. 1 Oklahoma, 82-77.

    Already this season, Northern Iowa beat North Carolina and Iowa beat Michigan State.

    “Basketball is alive and well here. Basketball is at an elite level in Iowa,” said Iowa State’s Georges Niang, who grew up in Massachusetts and went for 22 points in the win.

    It was the Cyclones’ first win over a No. 1 team since toppling Wilt Chamberlain’s Kansas Jayhawks in 1957.

    Oklahoma had just been named the No. 1 team in the nation on Monday afternoon.

    Now No. 2 North Carolina, No. 3 Kansas or No. 4 Villanova could all potentially move up to No. 1.

    It wasn’t just Niang, though.

    Monte Morris scored 20 points and had two key late shots, living up to his nickname of “Big Game Tae.”

    Jameel McKay came alive and had 18 deflections while controlling the paint.

    And Matt Thomas was the unsung hero by making Buddy Hield work his butt off to get 27 points.

    “We came ready to play. But Iowa State had more fight than us,” Hield said.

    Meantime, what’s going on in Iowa?

    Is it the cold weather?

    Iowa State (14-4, 3-3 Big 12), Iowa and Northern Iowa have all taken down a No. 1 team.

    Iowa State assistant T.J. Otzelberer isn’t surprised.

    Jarrod Uthoff is a mismatch nightmare playing the 4 spot,” he said of the Iowa star who is averaging 18.6 points and 6.2 rebounds. “He gave us 30 points in a half and made it look effortless. When Peter Jok is making shots, the Hawkeyes can really score the ball. And their mixing defenses really keeps people off balance.”

    As for Northern Iowa, which took out a Marcus Paige-less Carolina team in November, Otzelberger added: “They have a great sense of who they are and are extremely well-coached. They proven that they can play with anybody in the country when they are making shots.”

    Opposing teams take note: there’s something going on in Iowa.

    Play there at your own risk.

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    Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.