It's settled. The Hawkeyes don't just look like the Big Ten's best team. They are the Big Ten's best team.
Iowa's second-half surge lifted it past Purdue on Saturday, 83-71, a double-digit win over another ranked opponent, giving the Hawkeyes a season sweep of the Boilermakers not long after completing a season sweep of the Michigan State Spartans. Four of Iowa's seven wins to start the conference season have been against ranked competition, and the Hawkeyes — along with the unblemished Indiana Hoosiers — are one of just two undefeated Big Ten squads.
That enough proof for you?
Iowa was sensational Saturday. Trailing by three at the half, the Hawkeyes exploded out of the break on a 14-4 run, one that grew to 23-6, building a 15-point lead not even eight minutes into the second half. During that surge, the Hawkeyes made nine of the 12 shots they took, including 3-pointers by five different players. That stretch knocked out the Boilermakers, who didn't come within single digits until there were fewer than two minutes to play.
The Hawkeyes shot 60 percent from the field in the second half, looking like an unstoppable force as the lead reached as high as 19.
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Iowa finished with a 50-percent shooting mark on the afternoon, going 11-for-20 from 3-point range. The Hawkeyes turned a whopping 17 Boilermaker turnovers into 24 points, and despite getting beat on the boards and in the points-in-the-paint department, they made 18 free throws, 10 more than the Boilers.
Four Hawkeyes finished in double figures, led by the 22 points of Jarrod Uthoff, who is emerging as the frontrunner for conference player of the year honors and a legitimate candidate for national player of the year honors. Adam Woodbury had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Peter Jok also had 13 points, and Anthony Clemmons added 10.
Vince Edwards led the way for Purdue with 19 points and eight rebounds. P.J. Thompson scored 16 points, hitting four 3-pointers. A.J. Hammons had 10 points.
The win, Iowa's ninth straight, sent the Hawkeyes to 16-3 overall and 7-0 in league play. Another win over a ranked opponent ought to dramatically boost Iowa's ranking within the top 10 of the AP poll, particularly after losses this week by seven of the eight teams ranked higher. Another huge game awaits, as next up is a Thursday trip to Maryland.
Purdue fell to 17-4 overall and 5-3 in the conference with the loss. Next up is a Wednesday trip to Minnesota.