Iowa, Gonzaga men’s basketball teams will officially compete Dec. 19 in Sioux Falls

The matchup replaces Iowa’s previously announced game against Oregon State.


Katina Zentz

Iowa center Luka Garza looks to Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery during the men’s basketball game against Ohio State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, February 20, 2020. The Hawkeyes defeated the Buckeyes 85-76.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

The Iowa men’s basketball team confirmed Monday morning that it will compete against Gonzaga on Dec. 19 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in one of the premier nonconference matchups of the 2020 season.

A limited number of tickets will go on sale at a later date, according to a release. Masks are required for all spectators and will be available for free at the door. The game will be televised nationally on CBS and will tipoff at 11 a.m. (CT).

“We are excited to return to Sioux Falls and the Sanford Pentagon to compete against a talented Gonzaga team on a national stage,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said in a release. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mark Few and what his program has accomplished for quite some time. Adding a game of this magnitude to our schedule will be a good early test for our basketball team and prepare us for league play.”

Iowa’s matchup against Gonzaga replaces this summer’s previously announced game against Oregon State in Sioux Falls (Dec. 22).

The contest will be Iowa’s second trip to the Pentagon, which has hosted 28 NCAA Division I men’s college basketball games since opening in 2013. The Hawkeyes defeated Colorado, 80-73, on Dec. 22, 2017. This will be Gonzaga’s first visit to the Pentagon.

“We are looking forward to playing against an extremely talented Iowa team,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said in a release. “We have the utmost respect for Fran McCaffery and his program. We are excited for the opportunity to compete in the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls in a nationally televised game on CBS.”

Iowa is coming off a 20-11 season, and a fifth place conference finish with a mark of 11-9. The Hawkeyes were scheduled to play Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament before the game and tournament were canceled because of COVID-19 concerns.

Iowa and Gonzaga are both projected to be top five teams in the country at the start of the season.

All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year Luka Garza returns after his record-breaking junior season, in which he became the first player in program history to earn the National Player of the Year distinction from a news outlet.

The Hawkeyes have six other players returning with starting experience, including upperclassmen all-conference honorees Jordan Bohannon and Joe Wieskamp, and Connor McCaffery, who led all Division I players in assist-to-turnover ratio a year ago.

Gonzaga finished the 2019-20 season ranked second in the country, posting a 31-2 record. The Bulldogs defeated Saint Mary’s in the title game of the West Coast Conference Championships and were projected to receive a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

A likely preseason All-American pick Corey Kispert returns for his senior season, along with Joel Ayayi, who was named the 2020 West Coast Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player. The Zags also welcome back talented a front court duo in Drew Timme and Anton Watson, and five-star recruit Jalen Suggs leads the best recruiting class in GU history.

“Two of the best men’s college basketball teams in the country are going to be playing on Heritage Court and televised nationally on CBS – what more could you ask for?” Steve Young, president of Sanford Sports, said in a release. “Gonzaga has always been a team at the top of our wish list to play at the Pentagon, and Iowa is loaded with talent. I can’t say enough about these two programs and our staff for working together to make this incredible matchup happen.”

This will be the fourth meeting between Gonzaga and Iowa. The Hawkeyes won the first two contests in 1984 and 1985, while the Zags won the last meeting in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

The remainder of Iowa’s 2020-21 schedule will be announced at a later date.