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IOWA CITY — Iowa’s future non-conference basketball schedule will take another step forward with the creation of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, which was announced on Monday morning.
The Gavitt Tipoff Games features eight games annually for eight years between the Big Ten and Big East conferences beginning in 2015-16. The games will be played on four consecutive days in the first full week of the college basketball season. The series honors Big East founder Dave Gavitt.
“We are excited to honor Dave Gavitt and his contributions to the sport of basketball through the establishment of the Gavitt Tipoff Games,” Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement. “Dave was a friend and a mentor to me and often mentioned that college basketball should do a better job of tipping off the season, similar to opening day in baseball. I think he would approve of our effort to start a new tipoff tradition, grow the game and serve the best interests of the student-athletes and coaches in these two great conferences.”
Each Big Ten team — including Iowa — will play a minimum of four times during the eight-year span. Every Big East school will play at least six times. Annual rivalry games between the conferences such as Creighton-Nebraska and Marquette-Wisconsin, will continue as either part of the series or individually.
The series will continue to bulk up Iowa’s non-conference slate. The Big Ten will continue its annual challenge against the ACC, and Iowa is locked into the Big 4 Classic in Des Moines for at least one year during the Gavitt Tipoff Games. The Hawkeyes will continue to play Iowa State each year as well as compete in an exempt tournament, which consists of three or four games.
Iowa has a rich history against many Big East schools, and some matchups offer intrigue. Here’s a look at possible storylines for future Gavitt Tipoff Games matchups.
IOWA-CREIGHTON — The Bluejays border the state and have relied recently on heavy doses of Iowans, from Kyle Korver to Doug McDermott and Grant Gibbs. Coach Greg McDermott is an Iowa native and formerly coached Iowa State and Northern Iowa. They last met in Des Moines in 2011 in a 23-point Creighton victory. Iowa’s last NCAA tournament win came against Creighton in 2001. The schools are slated to compete against one another in a closed scrimmage this year. They’ve played 25 times,
IOWA-VILLANOVA — A trip to Philadelphia would provide a nice homecoming for Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery. The Hawkeyes and Wildcats squared off in the Battle 4 Atlantis title game last November, which Villanova won in overtime. Historically, Villanova center John Pinone sank two free throws with 12 seconds left to lead Villanova past Iowa 55-54 in the 1983 Sweet Sixteen. It was the final game for Iowa Coach Lute Olson, who accepted the coaching position at Arizona three days later.
IOWA-GEORGETOWN — In the biggest win of the last 60 years of Iowa basketball, the Hawkeyes beat Georgetown 81-80 in the 1980 Elite Eight. Iowa rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit and won the game on Steve Waite’s three-point play late. Vince Brookins scored 22 points and Ronnie Lester had eight points and nine assists. Iowa shot 60.8 percent from the floor and made 19 of 20 free throws. It was the teams’ only meeting.
IOWA-BUTLER — The fans’ interest from both sides adds spice between the schools. Iowa hired Butler’s Todd Lickliter as coach in 2007, a year in which he claimed national coach of the year honors. Lickliter fizzed at Iowa, going 38-58 in three seasons before he was fired. Iowa fans grew tired of Lickliter constantly mentioning Butler. Butler fans hailed Lickliter’s accomplishments at their school and claimed Iowa was the reason for its woes under Lickliter.
IOWA-XAVIER — Iowa staged a strong comeback at the recent Battle 4 Atlantis, rallying from a 15-point second-half deficit to win in overtime. Xavier topped the Hawkeyes at the Paradise Jam tournament in 2010, and Iowa won the other meeting in 1938.
IOWA-MARQUETTE — The teams have played 17 times historically but none since 1982. Iowa downed Milwaukee-based Marquette 86-81 in the 1955 Elite Eight.
IOWA-DEPAUL — Surprisingly, the schools have played just three times and their last regular-season game was in 1956. Their last meeting was in the 1995 NIT. They had a chance to play in the 2012 Cancun Challenge, but Iowa won its semifinal while DePaul lost its first game.
IOWA-PROVIDENCE — There’s no real history between the programs, although Iowa alum Keno Davis served as head coach from 2008-2011. Providence won the only meeting, 71-70, back in 1965.
IOWA-ST. JOHN’S — Twice the schools played as part of holiday tournaments with each winning one. Their last meeting was in 1970.
IOWA-SETON HALL — The Hawkeyes won a holiday tournament game against Seton Hall in 1983 in the schools’ only meeting.
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