Iowa’s men’s basketball team will start its 2014-15 Big Ten schedule in an unusual place. On the road.
The Big Ten released its conference schedule Thursday, and the Hawkeyes get started Dec. 30 at Ohio State. This will be the first time in coach Fran McCaffery’s five seasons that Iowa has kicked off league play away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa’s last road opener was also at Ohio State in 2008-09.
The Big Ten has expanded to 14 teams this season with the addition of Maryland and Rutgers. Each school plays five teams home and home, and the other eight just once – four at home, four on the road. Schools have known who they’ll play since Feb. 28, and received the dates last week.
“I don’t really study it that much,” McCaffery said. “I already knew who we were playing. I just know we’ve got to be ready when we play them.”
McCaffery, whose team has finished 9-9 in the league the past two seasons, expects the Big Ten to be very deep in 2014-15.
“I think the Big Ten will probably be as strong as it’s been in a long time, from top to bottom,” McCaffery said.
Television and tipoff times for most games will be determined at a later date. Iowa does know it will make two “Super Tuesday” appearances on ESPN – Jan. 20 at Wisconsin (8 p.m. Iowa time) and March 3 at Indiana (6 p.m.).
“I think when you can be on ESPN on ‘Super Tuesday,’ that’s one of the most visible nights of the entire college basketball season, for young people in particular,” McCaffery said. “So anybody who is thinking about Iowa is going to see us in those games. I think it’s great.”
Iowa will also play an ESPN nonconference game against North Carolina in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 3. That game, in Chapel Hill, N.C., will tip off at 6:30 p.m. (Iowa time).
The Hawkeyes’ nonconference schedule was also released Thursday. Highlights include an appearance in the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City, a home game with Iowa State Dec. 12 and a game with Northern Iowa in the Big Four Classic Dec. 20 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
IOWA’S 2014-15 MEN’S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Nov. 2 - Northwood (exhibition); 14 - 2K Classic regional round (opponent TBD); 17 - 2K Classic regional round (opponent TBD); 20 - vs. Texas, 2K Classic (Madison Square Garden, New York City; 21 - vs. Syracuse or California, 2K Classic (Madison Square Garden, New York City; 24 - Pepperdine; 26 - Northern Illinois; 29 - Longwood.
Dec. 3 - at North Carolina; Dec. 6 - Maryland-Baltimore County; 9 - Alcorn State; 12 - Iowa State; 20 - vs. Northern Iowa, Big Four Classic, Wells Fargo Arena, D.M.; 22 - North Florida; 30 – at Ohio State.
Jan. 5 – Nebraska; 8 – Michigan State; 13 – at Minnesota; 17 – Ohio State; 20 – at Wisconsin; 24 – at Purdue; 31 – Wisconsin.
Feb. 5 – at Michigan; 8 – Maryland; 12 – Minnesota; 15 – at Northwestern; 19 – Rutgers; 22 – at Nebraska; 25 – Illinois; 28 – at Penn State.
March 3 – at Indiana; 7 – Northwestern.