COVID-created schedule interruptions have been a regular feature of the 2020-21 college sports schedule, but Iowa men's basketball has been less impacted by them than most so far. Their home game with Michigan State, originally scheduled for 1/14, was ultimately moved to 2/2 to accommodate a COVID-induced stop in competition from Sparty. And their home game with Nebraska was also impacted; originally scheduled for 1/24, that game was instead placed in limbo while Nebrasketball went into a COVID-generated hiatus for several weeks. Nebraska has been back on the court for two weeks now, but their game with Iowa (the only scheduled meeting between the two this season) hadn't yet been rescheduled -- until now. But the return of Nebraska to Iowa's schedule has also led to some movement for another game on the slate.
SCHEDULE CHANGES— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) February 20, 2021
2/25: Iowa at Michigan (6 pm CT)
3/4: Nebraska at Iowa (TBD)#Hawkeyes
Iowa's game at Michigan (also the only scheduled meeting between those two teams in this season) was originally set for 3/4. Instead, Iowa will be hosting Nebraska on that day and the Michigan game will be around 10 days earlier, on 2/25, this coming Thursday. Iowa had no games scheduled between this Sunday's home game against Penn State and next Sunday's scheduled game at Ohio State, so it always seemed like a good possibility that a rescheduled game would get placed in that week. We just didn't quite anticipate that the scheduling musical chairs played by the Delanybot 9000 would move the Michigan game into that spot.
That sets up one hell of a 96-hour stretch for Iowa basketball: at #3 Michigan at 6 PM CT (ESPN) on Thursday, February 25, and at #4 Ohio State at 3 PM CT (CBS) on Sunday, February 28. If Iowa takes care of business against Penn State tomorrow, they'll almost certainly re-enter the Top 10 in next week's polls, setting up a pair of Top 10 throwdowns on the road. That's a daunting schedule to be sure -- but it's also similar to what Iowa could face in the weekend at the Big Ten Tournament. It's a huge opportunity for Iowa to solidify their credentials as a potential #2 or #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, as well as a chance to tighten their grip on a top-four finish in the Big Ten (and a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament). It certainly won't be easy, but hey -- if you want to be a top team, you're going to have to show that you can beat the other top teams too. Iowa will have an excellent opportunity to do just that next week.
Here's what the final five games of Iowa's regular season schedule (with current rankings and records) look like now:
|2/21/21||4:00 PM||PENN STATE (7-11, 4-10)||Iowa City, IA||FS1|
|2/25/21||6:00 PM||#3 MICHIGAN (15-1, 10-1)||Ann Arbor, MI||ESPN|
|2/28/21||3:00 PM||#4 OHIO STATE (18-4, 12-4)||Columbus, OH||CBS|
|3/4/21||TBA||NEBRASKA (5-14, 1-11)||Iowa City, IA||TBA|
|3/7/21||11:30 AM||#21 WISCONSIN (15-8, 9-7)||Iowa City, IA||FOX|