We've known for a while that Iowa's annual non-conference tournament next fall be the Emerald Coast Classic, an event in the Florida panhandle (Destin, FL, to be specific) over Thanksgiving weekend. Now we have a better idea of exactly who Iowa will be playing in those games.
Memphis will play Providence and Iowa will play Virginia in the first round of the 2016 Emerald Coast Classic, sources told @CBSSports.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 4, 2016
The big boy portion of the bracket for next year's Emerald Coast Classic also features Memphis and Providence. Iowa will play Virginia on Friday, November 25 (the same day as the Iowa-Nebraska football game in Iowa City) and they'll play Memphis or Providence on Saturday, November 26 in either the championship game or the 3rd-place game (pending results from Friday).
The Emerald Coast Classic also includes four schools from smaller conferences -- St. Francis NY, Savannah State, Grambling, and the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley. However, based on the way this tournament has been set up previously, Iowa won't be competing against any of them in Destin, FL -- instead they'll face two of those four teams in Iowa City prior to heading down to Destin. The games against those teams are essentially like the "guarantee" games Iowa routinely plays against low-major opponents in the non-conference portion of the schedule.
Virginia was an excellent team in 2015-16, going 29-8 and finishing runner-up to North Carolina the ACC regular season and ACC Tournament. They made it to the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament before getting stunned by a ferocious second-half comeback by Syracuse. That said, next year's Cavaliers team will look very different -- they lose ACC Player of the Year Malcom Brogdon to graduation, as well as Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey, who were significant contributors. All told, they lose three of their top four scorers and rebounders from this season. But the cupboard won't be bare in Charlottesville, either -- they added an ESPN 100 recruit in 2015 (Mamadi Diakite) and have four more coming in their 2016 recruiting class (Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, Jay Huff, and DeAndre Hunter).
Virginia should represent a very strong early season test for an Iowa team that will also be breaking in a lot of new faces. Iowa and Virginia last faced off in the NIT quarterfinals back in 2013; Iowa won that game, 75-64.
Incidentally, Iowa State won the 2015 Emerald Coast Classic, so Iowa will have a chance to continue Hawkeye State dominance in the event.