Iowa to Play in 2018 2K Sports Classic in New York City

By RossWB on September 6, 2017 at 10:00 am
Hoops Herky is ready for action.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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We just got Iowa's 2017-18 hoops schedule finalized a few weeks ago, but now we have some early word about Iowa's 2018-19 basketball schedule: 

The 2K Sports Classic is an annual preseason college basketball tournament held in Madison Square Garden every November. The four headline teams play a pair of games in MSG, but there are additional teams involved for some early season home games. For instance, when Iowa played in this event in 2014, their non-conference games against North Dakota State and Hampton were technically part of the 2K Sports Classic, even though the games were in Iowa City rather than MSG. So Iowa will likely play a pair of non-conference home games next season that are also a part of the 2K Sports Classic. The results of those games won't matter to who plays in the MSG games -- the MSG games will involve Iowa playing two games against either UConn, Syracuse, or Oregon. 

As far as the field for this event goes... it's pretty good! UConn, Syracuse, and Oregon are all big names. UConn won a national title just three years ago (2014). Syracuse has been a top program for decades under Jim Boeheim and has appeared in two of the last five Final Fours (2013, 2016). Oregon has become a national powerhouse under Dana Altman, making the Final Four last year (2017) and back-to-back trips to the Elite Eight in 2016 and 2017. It's hard to say exactly what those teams will look like next year, but based on recent history, they should all be pretty solid. Iowa, of course, should bring a team that looks a lot like this year's squad, only more experienced. Iowa's only senior is Dom Uhl, while they'll be adding highly touted recruit Joe Wieskamp. 

As previously noted, Iowa has some history in the 2K Sports Classic; in fact, this will be their third appearance in the event. They most recently played in it in 2014, getting blown out by Texas and then suffering a narrow loss against Syracuse in the next game. They also played in one of the very first 2K Sports Classics back in 1999, stunning #1-ranked UConn 70-68 in [REDACTED]'s first game in charge of Iowa (with a few exceptions, it was more or less all downhill after that), before losing to Stanford in the tournament title game. If you want, you can even watch the whole UConn game and see Dean Oliver, Rob Griffin, Jacob Jaacks, Duez Henderson, and Kyle Galloway beat the top-ranked team in the country: 

Although our favorite Iowa-UConn non-conference clash will probably always be their throwdown in the 1995 Great Alaska Shootout, aka "The Chris Kingsbury Game." 

Kingsbury went for 30 points and seven rebounds in the game, with 27 of his points coming in the second half or overtime of Iowa's 101-95 win. Get buckets, King. 

No match-ups for the 2018 2K Sports Classics games have been announced yet and likely won't for several months yet. As Rothstein notes in his article, though, a Syracuse-UConn game would "surely highlight" the event; given the passionate rivalry that those teams had in the old Big East days, I don't see why the organizers would skip a chance to set them up against one another. It's possible they could put them in separate games (against Iowa/Oregon) and hope that they meet in the finals, but's a risky strategy since one of them could, you know, lose. Right now my money's on Cuse-UConn being one of the semifinals and Iowa facing Oregon in the other one. In any event, this should be an exciting early season showcase for Iowa hoops next year. This field is certainly more interesting than what Iowa saw at the Emerald Coast Classic last year (Virginia and Memphis) or will likely see at the Cayman Islands Classic this year (Wyoming/South Dakota State and Cincinnati?). Bring on the big teams in the Big Apple. 

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