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Iowa men release Big Ten Conference schedule
August 30, 2012 - Andy Heintz
The Iowa men's basketball team will open the Big Ten Conference season against one of the league favorites as well as playing the first seven games against opponents with a combined 178-72 record last season.
Iowa will open the Big Ten schedule at home against Indiana on New Year’s Eve day (Dec. 31). The Hawkeyes last opened Big Ten play against the Hoosiers on Jan. 2, 2008, in Iowa City.
“The first portion of our Big Ten schedule is very difficult,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “I’ve been coaching in this league for two years, and I don’t remember any part of the schedule not being difficult. I don’t care who you are playing home or on the road… everyone has talent and a great coach. Everyone has guys coming back and a strong recruiting class.”
The conference season for all 12 teams begins on New Year's Eve and culminates in March with the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at the United Center in Chicago.
Iowa's schedule includes four Big Ten weekend home dates, which includes the matchup against the Hoosiers as well as a home contest against Wisconsin on the 20-year anniversary of Chris Street's death on Jan. 19.
Start times and television information for all Big Ten games will be released as a later date.
The Hawkeyes will have seven home weekend dates this season and four of those include conference games. The four conference opponents are Wisconsin (Jan. 19), Northwestern (Feb. 9), Minnesota (Feb. 17) and the season finale against Nebraska (March 9).
Iowa’s two conference byes come after its fourth Big Ten game (Jan. 13) and 14th contest (Feb. 21). Both are weekend byes. The beginning of the Big Ten schedule could not be any tougher for the Hawkeyes. Ten of the first 12 games come against conference competition which appeared in the NCAA or NIT postseason last year.
The first seven opponents had a combined .712 winning percentage last year and six of the seven teams won 20 games or more and the seven teams averaged 25.4 victories.
The final weekend of the regular season will be against Nebraska on March 9. That will be the third consecutive year that the Hawkeyes will play their final regular season game in Iowa City at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Also, the final two games and three of the final four contests also will be played at home.
The Hawkeyes host Purdue on Feb. 27, travel to Indiana for their road finale on March 2 and then host Illinois and Nebraska to end the regular season.
However, before all of those home games that conclude the season, Iowa also will play four of five games away from home. The Hawkeyes' schedule includes road tilts at Ohio State on Jan. 22, Purdue on Jan. 27, Minnesota on Feb. 3 and Wisconsin on Feb. 6. The squad's lone home contest in that stretch will be against Penn State on Jan. 31.
The Hawkeyes welcome back four starters from a squad that advanced two rounds deep into the National Invitational Tournament last season and also introduces a top 20 recruiting class to fans.
Iowa will be led by junior guard Roy Devyn Marble as well as junior forwards Melsahn Basabe and Zach McCabe and sophomore Aaron White. Senior guard Eric May, sophomore guard Josh Oglesby and sophomore center Gabe Olaseni also return.
The recruiting class features four-star center Adam Woodbury and four-star point guard Mike Gesell. Both are expected to play significant roles as true freshmen this season as the Hawkeyes look to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006.
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