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Iowa men will play North Carolina in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

[ 0 ] May 1, 2014 |
Mar 23, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Marcus Paige (5) speaks to an official during a game against the Iowa State Cyclones in the third round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at AT&T Center. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

Mar 23, 2014; San Antonio; North Carolina guard Marcus Paige (5) speaks to an official during a game against Iowa State in the third round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at AT&T Center. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

The day after Roy Williams made a recruiting visit to Adam Woodbury’s home in Sioux City, the 7-footer called North Carolina’s basketball coach and told him he’d be signing with Iowa.

“He said he was sorry he wouldn’t be my coach,” Woodbury said of a November 2011 conversation. “I told him Iowa was the place for me, and he said he wished me luck unless we play those guys some day.”

That day is Dec. 3. That’s when Iowa will play at North Carolina as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Dates and matchups were released Thursday. The start time and TV network will be released at a later date. ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU will carry every game in the Challenge, expanded to 14 games this season.

This will be Iowa’s second trip to Chapel Hill, N.C., and the Dean Smith Center. The ninth-ranked Hawkeyes won 98-97 at No. 6 North Carolina in 1989. The Hawkeyes lead the series 2-1. The Tar Heels won the most recent meeting in the title game of the 2004 Maui Invitational and went on to win the NCAA title.

The game also will be a reunion for Woodbury, Iowa teammate Mike Gesell and North Carolina guard and reigning team most valuable player Marcus Paige. The three were AAU teammates on the All Iowa Attack/Martin Brothers team. Paige, a guard who averaged 17.5 points last season and also was voted the Tar Heels’ best defender, was an all-stater at Linn-Mar of Marion.

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery tried to recruit Paige, too. But Williams, who also signed Harrison Barnes of Ames and raided the state to get Raef LaFrentz, Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich when he was the coach at Kansas, added Paige to that list.

Paige has seen Woodbury and Gesell play in person in college. He was at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to watch Iowa defeat Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 22.

“We are excited about the opportunity to play North Carolina,” McCaffery said. “North Carolina is a talented basketball team that is extremely well-coached. This game will enhance our nonconference schedule and be a good road test for us early in the season.”

Iowa also will join Syracuse, Texas and California in the 2K Sports Classic on Nov. 20-21 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Hawkeyes will host Iowa State and play Northern Iowa at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines in the third annual Big Four Classic.

North Carolina was 24-10 last season. The Tar Heels ended the season with an 85-83 loss to Iowa State in a third-round NCAA Tournament game. North Carolina lost leading rebounder and second-leading scorer James Michael McAdoo, who declared for June’s NBA Draft, and No. 3 scorer Leslie McDonald, who was a senior.

Iowa, 20-13 last season, also returns three starters. The Hawkeyes won its ACC/Big Ten Challenge game last season, outscoring Notre Dame 98-93 in Iowa City. That was Iowa’s first victory in the Challenge since 2005.



Jan. 7, 1989: Iowa 98, North Carolina 97 at Chapel Hill

Dec. 9, 1989: Iowa 87, North Carolina 74 at Iowa City

Nov. 24, 2004: North Carolina 106, Iowa 92 at Maui, Hawaii




Nebraska at Florida State

Rutgers at Clemson


Syracuse at Michigan

Ohio State at Louisville

Pittsburgh at Indiana

N.C. State at Purdue

Illinois at Miami (Fla.)

Minnesota at Wake Forest


Duke at Wisconsin

Michigan State at Notre Dame

Iowa at North Carolina

Virginia at Maryland

Georgia Tech at Northwestern

Virginia Tech at Penn State

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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