Three weeks ago, Northern Iowa looked like it would need to run the table to even be considered for the NCAA tournament.
The surging Panthers are at least making the case.
Northern Iowa (17-11, 10-6 MVC) has won six straight and are now third in the Missouri Valley behind Wichita State and Creighton heading into Saturday's home game against Denver (17-8, 13-2 WAC).
Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson says the Panthers found their own way of doing things successfully by surviving some hard stretches. Jacobson credits strong defense, improved rebounding and senior leadership for his team's surge.