A whopper of a week comes to the Iowa men’s basketball team far sooner than usual, and weekends will be the dominant part of the Hawkeyes’ Big Ten home slate.
The Big Ten Conference announced its league schedule for the 2018-19 season, and it’s different. It’s a 20-game slate for the first time. Everyone will play two league games between Nov. 30 and Dec. 6, and the remaining 18 after New Year’s.
The two before the holidays that will help make for an interesting seven days in Hawkeyeland. Iowa will host Wisconsin on Friday, Nov. 30. Three days later, the Hawkeyes play at Michigan State. Then on Dec. 6, Iowa State plays Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
After four more December nonconference games, the Hawkeyes will resume league play Jan. 3 at Purdue. Iowa closes regular-season play on March 10 at Nebraska.
Iowa plays three Big Ten home games on Fridays (also Feb. 1 against Michigan and Feb. 22 against Indiana). That’s new. Three other league home games will be on Sundays and two will be on Saturdays and Tuesdays.
The Hawkeyes will play at least one conference game on each day of the week. That’s new, too.
The Big Ten tournament will be March 13-17 in Chicago. The tourney was a week earlier last season so it could be held in New York’s Madison Square Garden, causing a jammed-up regular-season schedule.
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“We won’t do it again this way,” Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said last February. “If we can make it back to the Garden on a regular week, that’s great.”
Iowa’s nonconference schedule is no big whoop. The 2017-18 conference records of the 11 nonconference foes will be 71-121 or 70-122, depending on if the Hawkeyes play Connecticut or Syracuse on the second day of the 2K Classic in New York.
But, Oregon and either UConn or Syracuse should be two quality opponents, as presumably will Iowa State and Northern Iowa (Dec. 15 in Des Moines). The rest, including Pittsburgh (0-18 in the ACC last season and Iowa’s Nov. 27 opponent in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Iowa City) are nonentities until proven otherwise.
But 20 conference games changes means most Big Ten programs are less inclined to pack the nonconference with formidable foes.
Iowa hosts every Big Ten team but Minnesota, Penn State and Purdue, and won’t travel to Illinois, Maryland or Michigan. Game-times for conference games will be announced later this year.
2018 Iowa men's basketball schedule
Sun., Nov. 4 — Guliford (exhibition)
Thu., Nov. 8 — UMKC
Sun., Nov. 11 — Green Bay
Thu., Nov. 15 — vs. Oregon (at New York, N.Y.)
Fri., Nov. 16 — vs. Connecticut/Syracuse (at New York, N.Y.)
Wed., Nov. 21 — Alabama State
Tue., Nov. 27 — Pittsburgh
Fri., Nov. 30 — Wisconsin
Mon., Dec. 3 — at Michigan State
Thu., Dec. 6 — Iowa State
Sat., Dec. 15 — vs. Northern Iowa (at Des Moines)
Tue., Dec. 18 — Western Carolina
Sat., Dec. 22 — Savannah State
Sat., Dec. 29 — Bryant
Thurs., Jan. 3 — at Purdue
Sun., Jan. 6 — Nebraska
Wed., Jan. 9 — at Northwestern
Sat., Jan. 12 — Ohio State
Wed., Jan. 16 — at Penn State
Sun., Jan. 20 — Illinois
Thu., Jan. 24 — Michigan State
Sun., Jan. 27 — at Minnesota
Fri., Feb. 1 — Michigan
Thu., Feb. 7 — at Indiana
Sun., Feb. 10 — Northwestern
Sat., Feb. 16 — at Rutgers
Tue., Feb. 19 — Maryland
Fri., Feb. 22 — Indiana
Tue., Feb. 26 — at Ohio State
Sat., March 2 — Rutgers
Thu., March 7 — at Wisconsin
Sun., March 10 — at Nebraska
Wed.-Sun., Mar. 13-17 — at Big Ten Tournament, Chicago