The schedule for Iowa’s highly anticipated 2013-14 men’s basketball season was released today. The Hawkeyes, hoping to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006, open and close the Big Ten season at home. Here are 10 pivotal games to watch as Coach Fran McCaffery’s fourth team tries to take that big step from NIT runner-up to NCAA qualifier. (See the entire Big Ten composite schedule here).
Nov. 28 – Xavier. This first-round meeting at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas would give Iowa’s non-conference resume a nice little bump with a victory.
Dec. 3 – Notre Dame. Iowa hasn’t won an ACC/Big Ten Challenge game since 2005. Iowa’s last victory over the Irish, 121-106, came in the consolation game of the 1970 NCAA Tournament.
Dec. 13 – at Iowa State. Superstitious? This Friday the 13th test might carry over to the bewitching hour. Tip is 8:30 p.m.
Jan. 5 – at Wisconsin. Iowa won at the Kohl Center two seasons ago, and was an unkind rim-out on a Josh Oglesby 3-pointer away from doing it again. If the Hawkeyes want to make some serious Big Ten noise, this would be a good place to start.
Jan. 28 – Michigan State. This is a game that got away in the last minute a season ago, even without the injured Devyn Marble. Beating Tom Izzo, on national TV, would be an NCAA enhancer.
Feb. 1 – at Illinois. Coming to Assembly Hall in Champaign has not been a bubbly experience for Iowa of late. The Hawkeyes have lost 11 straight there, and 22 of the last 23.
Feb. 4 – Ohio State. The Buckeyes cruised on their last visit to Carver-Hawkeye Arena by a 76-47 margin two seasons ago. Iowa has lost seven straight games to Ohio State.
Feb. 18 – at Indiana. Another national “Super Tuesday,” appearance, another chance to show the NCAA selection committee that the Hawkeyes deserve a spot.
Feb. 25 – at Minnesota. A win two years ago, a meltdown last season at Williams Arena. A great opportunity for a stretch-drive victory.
March 8 or 9 – Illinois. The final regular-season game, and a Carver-Hawkeye farewell to seniors Deyvn Marble, Zach McCabe and Melsahn Basabe. A chance to head into the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, Ind., with some momentum.
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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball