Big Ten does Iowa men no favors in league schedule

 

Iowa forward Aaron Fuller, center, battles to maintain control of the ball against Michigan forward Zack Gibson, left, and guard Zack Novak during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big Ten men's tournament Thursday, March 12, 2009 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Iowa forward Aaron Fuller, center, battles to maintain control of the ball against Michigan forward Zack Gibson, left, and guard Zack Novak during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Big Ten men's tournament Thursday, March 12, 2009 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The Big Ten announced its single-play games for the 2009-10 men’s basketball schedule. Iowa plays at Wisconsin and hosts Penn State. It’s debatable whether any place is a good destination for the Iowa men’s basketball team after losing 11 straight road games. That tied a season record and is one road loss from tying the all-time school record.

So it’s easy to look at the Big Ten slate — the dates have not been announced — and shrug your shoulders. After all, Iowa’s last two league seasons have produced an 11-25 record, the worst two-year Big Ten record in school history. But it would have worked to Iowa’s favor had the league flipped the single plays with Iowa hosting Wisconsin this year and traveling to Penn State. Here’s why:

 Iowa has lost its last eight games at Wisconsin by an average of 10 points. Iowa has lost its last three at Penn State, but those losses have come by a combined seven points. Before the recent three-game losing streak, Iowa had won three straight at State College by an average of 15 points. With a young, inexperienced and recently unsuccessful team, the schedule could have provided that break for Iowa. It did not.

It’s not like Iowa has many other reprieves on its Big Ten road schedule, either. Here’s a look at Iowa’s recent history at Big Ten venues:

  • At Illinois: Lost 8 straight and 19 of 20
  • At Indiana: Lost 3 straight and 7 of 9
  • At Michigan: Lost 1 but won 3 of 4
  • At Michigan State: Lost 14 straight
  • At Minnesota: Lost 1 and 3 of 4
  • At Northwestern: Lost 4 of 5
  • At Ohio State: Lost 4 straight
  • At Purdue: Lost 3 of 4
  • At Penn State: Lost 3 straight (does not play in State College this winter)
  • At Wisconsin: Lost last 8

The in-state schools are no picnic, either. Iowa plays at both Northern Iowa and Iowa State this year, while hosting Drake. Here’s the recent trend involving Iowa and its in-state rivals:

  • At Iowa State: Lost 3 straight
  • At Northern Iowa: Lost 3 of 4
  • At Drake: Lost 2 straight, but won 13 previous games (Iowa hosts Drake this year)

Iowa also plays in Kansas City’s CBE Classic (formerly known as the Guardians Classic) this fall. The opening round games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena include Duquesne and Illinois-Chicago. Iowa owns a 2-1 record against Duquesne, but never has played Illinois-Chicago. Iowa then will play two games against either Pittsburgh, Texas or Wichita State at Kansas City. Pittsburgh was ranked No. 1 for three weeks last year, while Texas also qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Wichita State played in the postseason College Basketball Invitational. Iowa last played Pittsburgh in 1997, and Wichita State in 1981 (the heartbreaking NCAA tournament loss). Iowa played Texas in the Guardians Classic in 2006.

 As for the Big Ten, here’s a look at all of the single-play match-ups. It’s nice to see Michigan State and Purdue play twice this year, because they easily are the top Big Ten teams returning this year. But it’s also strange for Wisconsin, which has its single plays againsts Iowa and Minnesota. Those three teams are considered priority rivalries in Big Ten football and must play annually.

  • ILLINOIS | Minnesota, at Michigan
  • INDIANA | Michigan State, at Penn State
  • IOWA | Penn State, at Wisconsin
  • MICHIGAN | Illinois, at Purdue
  • MICHIGAN STATE | Ohio State, at Indiana
  • MINNESOTA | Wisconsin, at Illinois
  • NORTHWESTERN | Purdue, at Ohio State
  • OHIO STATE | Northwestern, at Michigan State
  • PENN STATE | Indiana, at Iowa
  • PURDUE | Michigan, at Northwestern
  • WISCONSIN | Iowa, at Minnesota
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One Response to Big Ten does Iowa men no favors in league schedule

  1. Doug says:

    Would you really have given Iowa a chance @Wisconsin if Kelly and co. hadn’t transferred? Last I checked, only two conference teams had ever won games at the Kohl Center, those being Illinois and MSU.

    I think Iowa actually got a favor this year. Despite going what would have been an automatic loss @Wisconsin, they don’t have to make the long trip to Happy Valley, which should work to their benefit.

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