We know quite a bit about Iowa's non-conference basketball schedule, including their opponent in the ACC-B1G Challenge. Now we know a little bit more about their conference hoops schedule, too, courtesy Fanrag Sports' Jon Rothstein.
Sources: Iowa's mirror Big Ten opponents in 17-18 will be Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Penn State.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) July 20, 2017
"Mirror" opponents just means the teams that Iowa will be playing home and away in this upcoming season. In other words, they'll be playing Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Penn State at home and away, and they'll be playing Illinois, Maryland, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Rutgers, and Wisconsin either home or away. Which of those games will be at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and which will be at other venues is still to be announced.
Obviously, we'll need to see the remaining details -- the home or away status, the sequencing of the games, bye weeks, etc. -- for Iowa's B1G schedule (and overall schedule) to be able to more effectively project things for Iowa in 2017-18. But at least this gives us a little bit more idea of what the schedule will look like.
On the whole, Iowa's "mirror" opponent draw doesn't seem too bad. Michigan State is the strong preseason favorite to win the Big Ten and Purdue is expected to be one of the top teams in the league as well and Iowa will only have to play them a total of two games rather than twice apiece. They also only have one game apiece against Maryland and Northwestern teams expected to be fairly formidable next season. On the down side, they also only get one game apiece against an in-transition Illinois team, Rutgers, and a Nebraska team that seems to be cratering. They also only get one game against Wisconsin and irrespective of the quality of the Badgers, that's one of Iowa's best basketball rivalries (maybe the best, depending on who you ask), so it's always a bit disappointing to play them only once instead of twice per season.
But Iowa does get two games against Minnesota; that hoops rivalry was on life support a few seasons ago, but there have been some very exciting games in the series lately and the Gophers' dramatic turnaround under Richard Pitino last year has definitely added some zest to that series. They're also expected to contend near the top of the Big Ten next year, so that pair of games could also be a good measuring stick for Iowa's program.
The Iowa-Indiana basketball rivalry is a pretty good one as well and this will be the first chance to see the Archie Miller-led Hoosiers. They have to replace OG Anunoby, Thomas Bryant, and James Blackmon, Jr., though they are adding multiple 4* recruits to try and mitigate those losses. Ohio State also has a new coach (former Butler head coach Chris Holtmann) but a lot of holes on the roster. Michigan loses three of their top four returning scorers (Derrick Walton, Jr., Zak Irvin, and DJ Wilson), but returns Moritz Wagner and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Beilein is a wizard at developing talent year after year. Penn State seems to be perpetually "up-and-coming," but they do have a lot of promising talent returning in 2017-18.
EDIT: And now we know a bit more about the Big Ten portion of the schedule.
As we already knew, Iowa will be playing Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State, and Ohio State home and away next year. Now we know that they'll also have home games against Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin, as well as road games against Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, and Rutgers. From a competitive standpoint, that's pretty friendly for Iowa -- they get the most challenging opponents (MSU, Purdue, Northwestern, Wisconsin) in the friendly confines of Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which should help. And while Big Ten road games are never easy, you'd much rather try to win a game in Piscataway or Lincoln than, say East Lansing or West Lafayette.
What do you make of Iowa's conference schedule? Are you bummed Iowa will play Wisconsin (and Our Most Hated Rival) just once? Looking forward to a pair of games against Minnesota? Hit up the comments.