According to a report from Jon Rothstein at CBS Sports, the match-ups for the 2016 ACC-Big Ten Challenge are finally set, which means we now know which ACC foe Iowa will face next winter. So who is it? Our old friends, Notre Dame.
Notre Dame will host Iowa in next season's ACC/Big Ten Challenge, sources told @CBSSports.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 23, 2016
Iowa and Notre Dame have become fairly regular dance partners in non-conference games of late. Iowa hosted Notre Dame in the 2013 ACC-Big Ten Challenge, winning a 98-93 track meet of a game. Iowa also faced Notre Dame last season, dropping a 68-62 game to the Irish at the AdvoCare Invitational near Orlando, Florida (you may not remember that game because it was the same day as Iowa beat Nebraska in football, which was a slightly bigger event...). This year's game will be the third between the two teams in the last four seasons.
Notre Dame went 24-12 in 2015-16 and ended the year ranked #17 in the final poll. They made it to the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament before losing out to North Carolina. Like Iowa, though, Notre Dame suffered some significant personnel losses this offseason. Zach Auguste, their starting center, graduated -- he was tops on the Irish in rebounds (10.7 rpg) and blocks (1.1 bpg) and second on the team in scoring (14.0 ppg). Notre Dame also lost their leading scorer, junior Demetrius Jackson (15.8 ppg). Jackson, the Irish's starting point guard, also led the team in assists (4.7 apg) and steals (1.2 spg). He gave up his final year of eligibility to enter the 2016 NBA Draft, where he is expected to be a first-round pick. The Irish do return multiple other starters, though, including V.J. Beachem, who led Notre Dame with 16 points when the Irish beat Iowa last season.
The addition of Notre Dame adds another challenging non-conference opponent to Iowa's slate for next season. Here's the updated look at Iowa's non-conference foes:
|Friday, November 11||Kennesaw State||Iowa City, IA||11-20||249||258|
|November 16||Seton Hall||Iowa City, IA||25-9||22||23|
|November 12-22||Texas-Rio Grande Valley OR*||Iowa City, IA||8-22||347||335|
|November 12-22||St. Francis NY OR*||Iowa City, IA||15-17||280||273|
|November 12-22||Savannah State OR*||Iowa City, IA||16-16||325||286|
|November 12-22||Grambling State*||Iowa City, IA||6-24||346||350|
|Friday, November 25||Virginia||Niceville, FL||29-8||3||4|
|Saturday, November 26||Memphis OR**||Niceville, FL||19-15||72||140|
|Saturday, November 26||Providence**||Niceville, FL||24-11||44||32|
|Tuesday, November 29||Notre Dame||South Bend, IN||24-12||35||32|
|Saturday, December 3||Nebraska-Omaha||Iowa City, IA||18-14||148||149|
|Thursday, December 8||Iowa State||Iowa City, IA||23-12||16||21|
|Saturday, December 17||UNI||Des Moines, IA||23-13||66||65|
|Tuesday, December 20||North Dakota||Iowa City, IA||17-16||192||221|
* Iowa will not be playing all four of these teams -- they'll be playing just two of them. But I listed them all in the table as they're all potential opponents.
** Likewise, Iowa will only be playing Memphis OR Providence in the Emerald Coast Classic, not both of them.
At this point, 11 of Iowa's non-conference games are set to some extent. There will probably only be 1-2 more games added to this slate, almost certainly home games against weaker opponents to round out the schedule. We'll update the schedule as additional information is released.
The other match-ups in the 2016 ACC-B1G Challenge are:
Michigan State at Duke
North Carolina at Indiana
Louisville at Ohio State
Syracuse at Wisconsin
Pitt at Maryland
NC State at Illinois
Nebraska at Clemson
Virginia Tech at Michigan
Purdue at Virginia
Georgia Tech at Penn State
Rutgers at Miami
Wake Forest at Northwestern
Minnesota at Florida State