Editor’s note: Reporters for the Gazette and KCRG-TV9 weigh in on what basketball team in Iowa is the best pound-for-pound team in the state. To clarify, this isn’t to say a high school girls team would beat the Iowa State men. This is a measure of how good a team is in its respective game, at whatever level it competes in.
Jeff Johnson, Iowa City West boys: Going off the grid here a little bit with this one, but how can one argue the state’s best team pound-for-pound isn’t Iowa City West’s boys’ team?
The Trojans are defending state champions, have won 34 consecutive games and just beat the second-ranked team in Class 4A by 10 points.
West has three Division I college players on its roster in Jeremy Morgan (Northern Iowa), Wyatt Lohaus (Northern Iowa) and Dondre Alexander. It also has one of the top coaches in the state in Steve Bergman. Pound-for-pound, that’s pretty good.
Scott Saville, Iowa City West boys: The defending state champs have won 34 games in a row. The Trojans have three Division 1 players in Jeremy Morgan, Wyatt Lohaus, and Dondre Alexander. They also have a couple of other players that could develop into division one players. Watch for 6’6 junior Chike Ukah to blossom into a big time player next season. This is the most athletic team I have covered in Eastern Iowa. The Trojans are loaded with athletes like Myzeah Batie-Gaddy who at 6″4 is built like a division one linebacker. They also have great role players like Austin Swank and David Dileo who can light it up from behind the arc.
On a couple of those past state champion teams at Linn-Mar might have had better top end talent, but they did not have the depth to match up with this Iowa City West club. I would rank West as the second most talented basketball team I have ever covered in the state of Iowa. Those Linn-Mar teams played great team basketball and I am starting to see that out of this West team. Ames High School with Harrison Barnes, Doug McDermott and Bubu Palo is the best team in modern day Iowa high school basketball.
The only thing preventing this West team from winning back to back state titles is themselves. Don’t get me wrong if they have a bad shooting night and someone else gets hot they are beatable.
Josh Christensen, Iowa City West/Iowa State women: In boys basketball, I would have to go with Iowa City West. I haven’t been able to see them play live, but the highlights I have seen are amazing. To me they’re a complete team and I can see them going undefeated again and winning the state championship.
For women’s basketball, this is a tough one between Iowa State and Iowa. Both teams have had some big victories, but I’ll have to go with Iowa State as of right now. Iowa really hurt themselves losing to Michigan at home and they have two games on the road at Wisconsin and Michigan State. Iowa State does have a tough match-up against Baylor, but they’ve won two big games in their conference against Texas and Texas Tech. If Iowa can win its next two games on the road, they’re the best, but right now I have to say Iowa State.
Overall, Lisa Bluder’s team is 4-0 against ranked teams. The Iowa, Iowa State and UNI men’s teams are a combined 0-7 against ranked opponents.
The Iowa State and UNI women have not faced a ranked opponent. So with the Hawkeye women boasting the only ranked wins in the state, they are pound-for-pound the best team in Iowa.
Jeff Linder, North Linn girls: The Lynx are 13-0, the only remaining unbeaten in the area.
The fifth-ranked squad in Class 2A took sole possession of the Tri-Rivers Conference lead Tuesday with a 37-31 win over previously unbeaten Cascade.
Sophomore Nicole Miller averages about 20 points per game.
Mike Hlas, Cornell College women: Unbeaten. ‘Nuff said.
Rob Gray, Iowa Western CC: The Iowa and Iowa State men’s and women’s teams have had — and will continue to have — their respective shining moments this season. I like the Iowa and ISU women, in particular, to reach the NCAA Tournament and possibly win a game or two.
But to rank Iowa’s college teams on a relative “pound-for-pound” basis, it’s hard not to put the Iowa Western Community College men’s team at the top.
The Council Bluffs-based Reivers, as of Jan. 9, are ranked No. 7 in the NJCAA poll. They’re 17-0 and feature a direct Cedar Rapids connection in wing Josiah Coleman, who starred at Kennedy. Heck, there’s even a player from Belize. Yes, Belize. I’ve been there and it’s a wonderful place.
That alone (OK, that, and the presence of Rhode Island recruit Xavier Munford) pushes the Reivers to the apples-and-oranges summit for now.
Why for now?
In part, because a Jan. 19 showdown with NJCAA No. 13 Indian Hills Community College of Ottumwa looms. Should be a good one.
Honorable mention: Four Iowa men’s teams in NAIA Division II. They currently (Jan. 9) hold four of the top 10 spots in the rankings (No. 4 William Penn, No. 7 Northwestern, No. 9 Mount Mercy, No. 10 Dordt).
Final tally: Iowa City West boys (3), Cornell women, Iowa State women, Iowa women, North Linn girls, Iowa Western Community College men
Do you agree with the teams our reporters picked? Who do you think is the best pound-for-pound basketball team in Iowa? Vote and comment in the section below with what team you believe deserves some respect as one of Iowa’s best basketball teams.
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