Previewing Iowa basketball’s non-conference schedule

Before Iowa takes on Big Ten foes, it has to battle Power Five and mid-major squads from out of the conference.


Nick Rohlman

Iowa forward Cordell Pemsl drives for a layup against Alabama State in Carver-Hawkeye on Nov. 12, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Hornets, 92-58.

Pete Ruden and Adam Hensley

Nov. 4, Carver-Hawkeye, Guilford (2017-18 record: 15-12)

The Quakers don’t necessarily make opponents quake in their boots, but a balanced scoring offense works in their favor. Last season, Guilford boasted three players who scored at least 11 points per game. Marcus Curry, now a senior, led the group, netting 16.2 a game. Guilford’s opponents averaged 11.3 3-pointers last season.

Nov. 8, Carver, Missouri-KC Kangaroos (10-22)

2017 was not a good year for the Kangaroos. There were two separate points in the season in which they went on losing streaks of at least five games on their way to the 22-loss season. The Kangaroos’ biggest claim to fame last year was losing to NCAA Tournament Cinderella Loyola by 10 in November.

Nov. 11, Carver, Green Bay (13-20)

Sandy Cohen III enters his fifth season in college hoops, and he’s going to be Green Bay’s go-to man on offense. The Marquette transfer netted 16.1 points per game last year in his first season in a Phoenix uniform. Green Bay had two losing streaks of four games or more last year.

Nov. 15, New York, Oregon (23-13)

Oregon will be Iowa’s biggest test in its first seven games, when the 2K Classic commences. The Ducks closed the season with a run to the second round of the NIT before getting eliminated by 2-seed Marquette, 101-92. Oregon returns leading scorer and assist man Payton Pritchard but loses Troy Brown Jr., who was selected by the Washington Wizards No. 15 overall.

Nov. 16, New York, Syracuse (23-14) OR Connecticut (14-18)

Tyus Battle is coming back for his junior season, and that means the Orange will have their best scorer back for (potentially) his final season. Battle scored 19.3 points per game last season, and the Orange made it all the way to the Sweet 16.

The Huskies had a relatively disappointing campaign, but do-it-all guard Jalen Adams might be a reason UConn turns things around this year. Adams scored 18.1 points, hit 43 percent of his shots, dished out 4.7 assists, grabbed 4.2 rebounds, and tallied 1.5 steals per game for the senior.

Nov. 21, Carver, Alabama State (8-23)

When the Hawkeyes met the Hornets last year, it wasn’t pretty for Alabama State, which got slaughtered, 92-58. And that was just the second game of what would become a 13-game losing streak to open the season. The Hornets never proved themselves against a quality opponent last year, so you can almost chalk up a “W” for Iowa.

Nov. 27, Carver, Pittsburgh (8-24)

In 2013, Pittsburgh finished 24-9. Last season, that record was flipped. The Panthers have been on the decline since, going 21-12 in 2016, then 16-17. Pittsburgh finished a woeful 0-18 in ACC play in former head coach Kevin Stallings’ second season at the helm.

Dec. 6, Carver, Iowa State (13-18)

Like the Hawkeyes, Iowa State missed the NCAA and NIT Tournaments after losing seven-straight games to end the season, making it increasingly clear the transition from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm has not gone as smoothly as fans had hoped. With Lindell Wigginton returning and Donovan Jackson departing, things could go either way for the Cyclones.

Dec. 15, Wells Fargo Arena, Northern Iowa (16-16)

Panther fans have their eyes set on freshman point guard A.J. Green, a four-star recruit from Cedar Falls. He’s a 247 Sports top-100 recruit, and the recruiting website ranks him as the second-best prospect in the state. UNI needed a shooting boost after hitting just 33.5 percent of its shots from 3-point range in 2017-18.

Dec. 18, Carver, Western Carolina (13-19)

For being in the Southern Conference, the Catamounts had their share of tough battles early in the season against three top-15 opponents. However, they lost all of those contests by at least 28 points. With Iowa’s track record against smaller schools (in most seasons), the Hawkeyes should find a way to win.

Dec. 22, Carver, Savannah State (15-17)

The Tigers and Hawkeyes are no strangers to one another. In 2016, Iowa and Savannah State clashed in Carver, resulting in a lopsided 116-84 victory for the Hawkeyes. The game featured 18 made 3-pointers by Iowa, which hit from all over the floor. The Hawkeyes hit 11 3-pointers in the first half, the same number the Tigers made for the entire game.

Dec. 29, Carver, Bryant (3-28)

Bryant had a total of three wins last year. Not great. Those victories came over Hartford, Sacred Heart, and Mt. St. Mary’s. Those three wins don’t necessarily scream “World Beater.” Iowa might have had a down year last season, but the Bulldogs shouldn’t be a problem.

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