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Iowa’s Big Ten Basketball Conference Opponents Leaked

Plus a look at their schedule, at large

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports released sourced information regarding who each Big Ten team will play twice - aka “mirror games.” Here is who Iowa drew for home-and-homes:

Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Penn State

Which means they’ll play Illinois, Nebraska, Northwestern, Maryland, Michigan State, Purdue, Rutgers, and Wisconsin only once.

If the Big Ten is able to match the schedule up with last year’s so one-offs don’t occur at one team’s court in back-to-back years, then Northwestern, Michigan State, and Wisconsin would be coming to Carver-Hawkeye Arena. I have no idea if this is actually the case, but it would be a great scenario to face two conference contenders - Northwestern and Michigan State - at home in their single regular season games.

Here’s a reminder where they ranked according to KenPom at the end of last year (with maximum continuity as of late May):

Returning KenPom Figures

Team Record Conference 2017 AdjEM (KenPom) B1G Margin/100 Poss Maximum Continuity
Team Record Conference 2017 AdjEM (KenPom) B1G Margin/100 Poss Maximum Continuity
Minnesota 24-10 11-7 16.00 3.4 87.26
Iowa 19-15 10-8 10.48 -1.2 85.60
Ohio State 17-15 7-11 10.20 -3.9 81.32
Northwestern 24-12 10-8 15.82 2.5 79.78
Penn State 15-18 6-12 7.30 -5.7 78.96
Michigan State 20-15 10-8 15.51 2.9 77.98
Purdue 27-8 14-4 23.12 11.6 75.22
Indiana 18-16 7-11 14.49 -3.1 66.26
Maryland 24-9 12-6 14.33 5.6 61.46
Nebraska 12-19 6-12 5.13 -8.3 54.88
Rutgers 15-18 3-15 2.22 -15.7 52.48
Michigan 26-12 10-8 23.05 8.4 43.62
Wisconsin 27-10 12-6 22.99 7.8 38.98
Illinois 20-15 8-10 11.31 -3.6 33.64
KenPom $

Michigan, Minnesota, and Indiana all finished in the top half of the conference by AdjEM (expected margin adjusted for opponent), though only Minnesota has a continuity over 50%. Both Ohio State and Indiana are breaking in new coaches. Penn State is Penn State, which means Iowa will probably struggle again with the game in Happy Valley.

Overall, it isn’t as strong a slate as it could be, but not as weak as last year’s, when they faced the two worst teams (Nebraska and Rutgers) in home-and-homes.

Out of Conference Refresher

With next year’s conference opponent taking shape, here’s a reminder on next year’s out-of-conference opponents look, with 3 cupcakes likely to be added. Per Scott Dochterman of Landof10:

Nov. 10 or 11: Chicago State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena

Nov. 12-18: First-round Cayman Islands Classic opponent at Carver-Hawkeye Arena (date, opponent TBA)

Nov. 20-22 — Cayman Islands Classic

Nov. 26-28 — Big Ten/ACC Challenge at Virginia Tech (date/time TBA)

Dec. 7 — at Iowa State

Dec. 16 — Big Four Classic vs. Drake at Des Moines

Dec. 19 — Southern Utah at Carver-Hawkeye Arena

Dec. 22 — vs. Colorado at Sioux Falls, S.D.

Rothstein also reported a while back the Big Ten would move two conference games per team to the weekend of the conference championship game in early December. It is also being done so they can meet the scheduling of Madison Square Garden for the Big Ten Tournament in Jim Delany’s march to the sea. In terms of branding, locking down the weekend of the B1G conference championship with a marquee lineup of conference basketball games looks good at face value. Execution-wise, it could tax the players as we’ll likely see Iowa at Virginia Tech/Conference Opponent 1/Conference Opponent 2/at Iowa State within 9 to 11 days.

It adds additional complexity when scheduling Iowa’s three remaining non-conference games. The following two constraints already exist:

  • Since they don’t overlap matchups with Iowa’s finals schedule, it’s unlikely any game is played the two intrastate matchups; and
  • The latest Iowa has every faced a non-conference opponent in the Fran era is December 22 so I don’t envision they’ll add post-Colorado

While it seems like Iowa is running out of runway on these games, one more seems like a lock the week of November 13th. They could also add another post-Cayman Islands. Other than that, they’ll have to break from recent “tradition” to fit that third game in there around the winter break or get creative with by scheduling it during a conference by or even after the tournament.


Iowa’s season is starting to come into focus as they’ll face teams who played in last year’s NCAA tournament in at least 11 games. It offers plenty of opportunities to make their mark and show how much they’ve improved upon last year’s rebuild. The stretches of multiple games with limited rest will also offer McCaffery a showcase for the depth of talent he has accumulated.

Let us know how you feel about the draw in the comments.