The details for Iowa hoops' 2018-19 season are starting to lock into place. We know that Isaiah Moss and Tyler Cook are both going to be back in Iowa City after going through the NBA Draft process this spring. And, schedule-wise, we know that they'll be playing in the 2K Sports Classic in Madison Square Garden and that they won't be taking part in the Gavitt Tipoff Games between the Big Ten and the Big East. And know we know (apparently) who they'll be playing in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge this winter.
Iowa will host Pitt in the 2018 ACC/Big Ten Challenge, per a source.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 31, 2018
And it's official:
Iowa makes it official, the Hawkeyes will host Pittsburgh (0-18 in the ACC last year) on Nov. 27 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) June 1, 2018
Good news: after two straight seasons of going on the road in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, Iowa will get to host an ACC team this year. Pitt is also a fresh opponent -- Iowa has never played them in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. And, frankly, Pitt should also be a very winnable game for Iowa -- the Panthers lost their last 19 (!) games to end the 2017-18 season and went 0-18 (!!!) in ACC play last year.
Bad news: Iowa isn't likely to get much of a boost from beating Pitt next year. In fact, it may be more likely that this is simply a game that Iowa can ill-afford to lose, given that it would likely register as a pretty bad loss on their resume, especially since it will be in Iowa City. Pitt has a new coach (former Duke assistant Jeff Capel) after firing Kevin Stallings after just two disastrous seasons in charge.
While the football programs played each other four times between 2008 and 2015, Iowa doesn't have much hoops history with Pitt, especially recently. Iowa's 2-5 all-time against Pitt, with the first meeting coming in 1928 (a 44-40 Pitt win) and the most recent game coming in 1976 (a 103-80 Iowa win). Yes, that's right: the last time Iowa played Pitt in hoops there hadn't been a single STAR WARS movie released yet.
Iowa's history in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge has been, to describe it in a single word, bad. No team in the history of the Challenge has more losses than Iowa (12) and the only teams with fewer wins in the event than Iowa's five are the teams that joined up during the EXPANSIONMANIA drama earlier this decade. Iowa's currently riding a two-game losing streak in the event and is 3-4 in Fran McCaffery's tenure at Iowa. Last year they got pounded 79-55 by Virginia Tech in the event.
Pitt is 2-2 in the event, having sat out last year's event. (The ACC has 15 teams with Notre Dame, so one ACC team has to sit out the event each season.) They beat Maryland 73-59 in 2016 and lost 72-59 to Purdue in 2015 in their most recent ACC-B1G games.
The other ACC-Big Ten Challenge listings are:
- Indiana at Duke
- North Carolina at Michigan
- Michigan State at Louisville
- Nebraska at Clemson
- Minnesota at Boston College
- Syracuse at Ohio State
- NC State at Wisconsin
- Purdue at Florida State
- Virginia at Maryland
- Rutgers at Miami
- Virginia Tech at Penn State
- Georgia Tech at Northwestern
- Notre Dame at Illinois
Some of these match-ups are getting a little familiar: this is the second straight year that Georgia Tech-Northwestern and Duke-Indiana are playing each other and, in fact, it's the third time in the last four years that Duke and Indiana have played one another in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Spread the wealth, huh? The ACC absolutely throttled the Big Ten in these games last year (winning 11-3, the most lopsided winning margin in the history of the event by far), so hopefully the league can rebound a bit this year. But most importantly, Iowa needs to beat Pitt in their game. A loss could be a huge blow to Iowa's early season momentum and be a negative entry on Iowa's resume at the end of the season.
Tip-off times and TV network information will be released later this year.