Iowa’s Pre-Big 10 Basketball Schedule is Great News For the Hawks
The Iowa men's basketball team kicks off the post-Luka Garza era Friday night with an exhibition game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The regular season gets started next week.
The Hawkeyes went 22-9 last year but have lost a lot in preparation for the new season. Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp both got drafted into the NBA and CJ Fredrick is now with Kentucky. Combined, the three played approximately 85 of the team's 200 minutes per game last year and combined for more than half of Iowa's average 83.7 points per game... 46.4 to be exact. Even the cupboard is far from bare, Iowa's non-conference schedule could be helpful.
CBS Sports ranks Iowa's non-conference schedule as the second-easiest in the nation. There are 358 teams in college hoops, and Matt Norlander of CBS ranked them all. In November and December, Iowa will face seven teams that are ranked 233 or below. There's a road game at #25 Virginia in the Big 10-ACC Challenge, and a neutral-site game against #58 Utah State, and a visit to Iowa State thrown in there, but that's a very manageable early-season schedule for a team that will be no doubt looking for its identity early on. *It should be noted that there are two Big Ten games in December, as well. Those are at Purdue (December 3) and at home against Illinois (December 6).
Will Keegan Murray be able to handle being the man? Can Jordan Bohannon recapture his shooting prowess in his swan-song season? Will Patrick McCaffery be able to return from his hip surgeries to be a defensive stopper again? Can transfer Filip Rebraca be a difference-maker inside?
The season definitely holds more question marks at this point than it does answers. We start getting those in just a few days.
Iowa hosts Slippery Rock in an exhibition game Friday night, November 5 at 7:05. The regular season begins against Longwood on Tuesday, November 9 at 9 p.m. That's the nightcap of an Iowa women's and men's doubleheader inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.