How do you follow up an early season trip to Atlantis? You head to the Big Apple, of course.
Iowa, Syracuse, Texas and California to play in the 2014 2K Sports Classic, Nov. 20-21, at Madison Square Garden in New York City! #Hawkeyes— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) March 12, 2014
The 2K Sports Classic is one of the countless early season tournaments that litter November and December in college basketball. It doesn't have the history of Maui or the Preseason NIT, but it does usually have a solid core of teams. This year's field included Indiana, Washington, UConn, and Boston College; last year's field had Villanova, Purdue, Alabama, and Oregon State. Next year's field actually looks like one of the stronger ones in a while, though. Syracuse is, of course, a perennial hoops power, while Iowa and Texas look to make the NCAA Tournament this spring and Cal is on the bubble. Per Hawkeye Sports, all of the teams are expected to return multiple starters next year, although early entrants to the NBA Draft and transfers can throw a wrench in those plans, of course.
The 2K Sports Classic features four games in NYC between the aforementioned teams (two semifinals, a consolation game, and a "championship" game), as well as a handful of of "regional round" games before the games at MSG. However, much like Iowa's game against Abilene Christian before this year's Battle 4 Atlantis event in the Bahamas, the results of those games have no real bearing on the tournament field at the neutral site -- that field is set and they'll play one another no matter what.
This year, those "regional round" games featured the likes of LIU-Brooklyn, Stony Brook, Detroit, Boston University, Toledo, Florida Atlantic, UC-Irvine, and Eastern Washington. This year, that meant some real dross (LIU-Brooklyn, Eastern Washington, Florida Atlantic), but also some very solid teams (Boston, Toledo, UC-Irvine). If nothing else, they should be a cut above most of the MEAC/SWAC dreck Iowa has played in non-con games the last few years.
The MSG foursome (Iowa, Syracuse, Texas, Cal) will be seeded in some fashion; I'd be surprised if it didn't end up being #1 Syracuse, #2/3 Iowa, #2/3 Texas, and #4 Cal, though. Texas, (maybe) Cuse, and a trip to MSG? That's not too shabby at all for Iowa hoops.
The 2K Sports Classic previously was previously known as the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic and was affiliated with the American Cancer Society. As of 2012, though, the tournament beneficiary became the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that provides assistance to military veterans wounded in active duty.