When the UNI Panthers return to action on tonight they will do so as a ranked team. The Panthers are 8-0 on the season and are 23rd in the latest AP Poll. It is their first national ranking since 2010 team that upset Kansas in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the “Sweet 16”.

It’s great, I was hoping we would crack it last week…being ranked is secondary to so many things that happened during the season, but I will tell you the same thing I told you last time, it is great for this program,” UNI coach Ben Jacobson says. He says this team has done so much to get ready for the season and it is great to see them recognized.

While Jacobson says the ranking won’t help them practice better or help them win, it is an accomplishment. “And I am really proud of our guys to put ourselves in a position to be ranked in the top 25, no question,” Jacobson says.

It will be the first of two road games this week as the Panthers visit Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday. UNI won its first road game of the season at Stephen F. Austin, in what Jacobson was a good game in a tough environment. Jacobson says the Panthers will be tested on defense by a Denver team that will be patient on offense as they have 5 guys who can make 3 pointers. Denver is 4-3 on the season.

(Reporting by Elwin Huffman, KOEL, Oelwein)