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Is Iowa's non-conference slate setting them up to walk the plank next season?

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa's 2016 non-conference basketball schedule is continuing to take shape with more and more games announced -- and it's looking more challenging than we had anticipated, given the enormous roster turnover Iowa will be dealing with next fall.

The new-look Hawkeyes will be taking part in the Gavitt Tipoff Games, an early season series of games between the Big East and the Big Ten, for the second straight year.  Last year Iowa's veteran-laden team traveled to Marquette and recorded an early season blowout win over the Golden Eagles. This year Iowa will get a home game against Seton Hall in the Gavitt Games.

Seton Hall finished 25-9 in 2015-16, good for third in the Big East. They put together a tremendous run in the Big East Tournament, though, beating Xavier in the semis and then stunning eventual national champion Villanova in the Big East Tournament final. The Pirates earned a #6 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but they had a short stay in the Big Dance -- an under-seeded Gonzaga team (#11 seed) trounced them 68-52 in the first round.

Last season was a big step forward for Seton Hall -- they hadn't made the NCAA Tournament since 2006 and they'd been a .500 team for several years prior to last year's breakthrough.  They seem poised to build on last year's success in 2016-17, though -- all four of last year's top four scorers were sophomores and could be back next year. The biggest question mark is leading scorer Isaiah Whitehead. Whitehead, a 6-4, 210 lb guard, averaged 18.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.2 spg, and 1.4 bpg and was named Big East Tournament Player of the Year. Like Iowa's Peter Jok, he's currently testing the NBA Draft waters. If he returns, Seton Hall is probably a preseason Top 25 team and a very stiff challenge for a young Hawkeye team.  Even if he doesn't return, though, Seton Hall should still have quite a bit of talent and be a very solid early season test for Iowa.

The Gavitt Tipoff Games series is planned to last at least eight years, with each Big East team playing at least six times and each Big Ten team playing at least four times. Given that Iowa played in the series last year, I expected that they might sit out this year's iteration in order to give another Big Ten team an opportunity to play in the series -- evidently not.  And just in case you were curious, Iowa is 1-0 all-time against Seton Hall, having beaten them waaaaay back in 1983 in an early season non-conference game.

Other 2016 Gavitt Tipoff Games announced by Rothstein and CBS (home team listed first):

Ohio State-Providence
Minnesota-St. John's

Georgetown and Maryland played last year, only with the game in Maryland. St. John's and Minnesota features two teams who ranked #222 and #223 in the final KenPom rankings and while they're both likely be better next year (they could hardly be worse), that matchup is still pretty woof-inducing.  DePaul-Rutgers is no charmer, either.