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College Basketball Rivalries: Iowa vs. Minnesota - Status Check

Let's take a look at one of the more even rivalries in the Big Ten, between the Golden Gophers and Hawkeyes.

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Since the 1979-80 season, the Iowa Hawkeyes and Minnesota Golden Gophers have clashed a total of 68 times. And over the years, these two neighboring states have engaged in a near-evenly matched series of games, with an average point differential of just 2.7 points in these 68 games. Last year, these two teams drew at one victory apiece, and going forward, it would be difficult to say that anything different would be occurring. Let's plunge into the ins and outs of this rivalry.

Iowa-Minnesota Historically

The boys from The Hawkeye State currently lead the rivalry from a head-to-head standpoint, with a win-loss record of 36-32 since the 1979-80 season. In addition, according to Sports-Reference, the Hawkeyes have outscored the Golden Gophers 4,857-4,676, giving a point differential of +181 that leans toward Iowa. It seems evident that despite the close margin in terms of win-loss record, it would not be crazy to say that Iowa has dominated over Minnesota over the years, given the gross difference in point differential.

Iowa-Minnesota in Recent Years

The Golden Gophers have been closing the gap over the last six years. Since the 2007-08 season, Minnesota has won eight of the last 12 meetings, including six straight victories over the Hawkeyes from the 2007-08 season to the 2010-11 campaign. So while Iowa City may have a stranglehold on the rivalry for the last three decades or so, the team from the Twin Cities has recently closed the gap.

Iowa-Minnesota Recruiting

The two schools have not been engaged in many recruiting battles over the last few years. Iowa's Adam Woodbury, a four-star center from the Class of 2012, received offers from both schools, but decided to stay in state and join Fran McCaffrey's club. Aside from this instance however, it's been relatively tame on the recruiting trail. Time will tell to see if this department intensifies as Richard Pitino gains traction in future years as head coach.

Final Thoughts

There seems to be a bit of a divide, in my opinion, on the status of this rivalry. While Iowa has held the advantage in recent years, it's evident that Minnesota is steadfast approaching the .500 mark. And with 4-star recruit Kevin Dorsey coming soon to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, this could provide enough ammunition for the Golden Gophers to take the lead in the head-to-head department. Nevertheless, this under-the-radar rivalry continues to bring levels of excitement and close games to the table, and that's truly all you can ask for.