And now we take a brief break for Cy-Hawk festivities to talk... basketball! Iowa men's basketball released a full schedule for the 2021-22 season, so let's take a look at it:
|FRI 11/5/21||Slippery Rock (exhib)||Iowa City, IA|
|TUE 11/9/21||Longwood||Iowa City, IA|
|FRI 11/12/21||Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC)||Iowa City, IA|
|TUE 11/16/21||North Carolina Central||Iowa City, IA|
|THU 11/18/21||Alabama State||Iowa City, IA|
|MON 11/22/21||Western Michigan||Iowa City, IA|
|FRI 11/26/21||Portland State||Iowa City, IA|
|MON 11/29/21||Virginia (ACC-Big Ten Challenge)||Charlottesville, VA|
|FRI 12/3/21||Purdue||West Lafayette, IN|
|MON 12/6/21||Illinois||Iowa City, IA|
|THU 12/9/21||Iowa State||Ames, IA|
|SAT 12/18/21||Utah State||Sioux Falls, SD|
|TUE 12/21/21||SE Louisiana||Iowa City, IA|
|WED 12/29/21||Western Illinois||Iowa City, IA|
|MON 1/3/22||Maryland||Iowa City, IA|
|THU 1/6/22||Wisconsin||Madison, WI|
|THU 1/13/22||Indiana||Iowa City, IA|
|SUN 1/16/22||Minnesota||Minneapolis, MN|
|WED 1/19/22||Rutgers||Piscataway, NJ|
|SAT 1/22/22||Penn State||Iowa City, IA|
|THU 1/27/22||Purdue||Iowa City, IA|
|MON 1/31/22||Penn State||University Park, PA|
|THU 2/3/22||Ohio State||Columbus, OH|
|SUN 2/6/22||Minnesota||Iowa City, IA|
|THU 2/10/22||Maryland||College Park, MD|
|SUN 2/13/22||Nebraska||Iowa City, IA|
|THU 2/17/22||Michigan||Iowa City, IA|
|TUE 2/22/22||Michigan State||Iowa City, IA|
|FRI 2/25/22||Nebraska||Lincoln, NE|
|MON 2/28/22||Northwestern||Iowa City, IA|
|THU 3/3/22||Michigan||Ann Arbor, MI|
|SUN 3/6/22||Illinois||Champaign, IL|
Whew. A few thoughts:
* Iowa's season gets underway in just under two months -- time sure does fly. The Hawkeyes won't need to leave Iowa City for a while at the start of the season -- their first six games are all in Iowa City. Those six opponents are not exactly against a who's who of opponents. Nor are they likely to do much for Iowa's NET ranking.
Iowas 2021-22 MBB sked. Final 2020-21 NET for non-conference opponents:— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) September 8, 2021
Longwood 258; Kansas City 242; NC Central 328; Alabama State 343; W Michigan 301; Portland 321;
Virginia 20; Iowa State 224; Utah State 47; SE Louisiana 330; Western Illinois 309.
Iowas final NET was 7. pic.twitter.com/35H9CvSqsJ
Still, given the dramatic makeover this Iowa team is going to undergo in its first season without Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp and the bigger roles several young players are going to be asked to inhabit, easing into the season is a justifiable decision.
* Iowa's difficulty goes from 0-60 after that easy-looking start, though, with back-to-back road trips to Virginia (for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge) and Purdue (to kick off Big Ten play). Those two games ought to be impressive early tests for this new-look Iowa team, games that may tell us a lot about how this squad is developing.
* After that potential doozy of a two-game road trip (and a Big Ten home opener against Illinois), things do settle down for the rest of December, with potential lay-ups against Utah State, SE Louisiana, and Western Illinois on tap, plus the latest iteration of the Cy-Hawk game. Iowa State can hardly be much worse than they were last season, but it's unclear just how improved they might be.
* Incidentally, for the second straight season Iowa isn't taking part in a non-conference exempt tournament. COVID caused the postponement of those events last year, but it's not clear why Iowa is sitting them out again this season. Iowa does have another game in Sioux Falls (against Utah State), though, so yay?
* It's hard to know who's going to be good and who isn't in Big Ten hoops this year, but at least on paper an opening stretch of Purdue (away), Illinois, Maryland, Wisconsin (away) feels like a pretty daunting way to start league play, particularly for such an inexperienced squad. Purdue and Wisconsin are two of the Big Ten's toughest road venues (and the Boilermakers figure to be one of the preseason favorites this season) and Illinois and Maryland have been strong in recent seasons.
* Just for the record --
Big Ten single plays: Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Rutgers, Wisconsin
Big Ten double plays: Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Penn State, Purdue
* Only playing Michigan State and Ohio State once might be a good thing. Only playing Indiana and Northwestern once might be a bad thing. Unclear on Rutgers. Double-plays against Minnesota, Nebraska, and Penn State could be useful, but double-plays against Purdue and Michigan could be painful.
No tip-off times or TV information has been provided for any games yet.
Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? Excited for a new-look Iowa hoops team in 2021-22?