Hawkeyes draw road test in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

Iowa will play at least seven non-conference games away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena as part of its increasingly-challenging 2017-18 basketball schedule.

That became clear Thursday, as the Hawkeyes were assigned a game at Virginia Tech as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. It marks the first time in the 19-year history of the challenge that Iowa has drawn back-to-back road games; it played at Notre Dame last season.

“With the nature of this event, there comes a time in the rotation when teams are to play consecutive road games,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said in a statement. “It is our turn to do so this season."

Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Fran McCaffery reacts during the second half against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa won 85-72.

McCaffery's 2017-18 Hawkeyes have five neutral-site games already on the books: three in the inaugural Cayman Islands Classic from Nov. 20-22 (Cincinnati, Richmond, South Dakota State and Wyoming are among the headliners); one against Drake in the annual Hy-Vee Classic in Des Moines; and one against Colorado in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Add that to a pair of road games against teams that reached last year's NCAA Tournament – at Iowa State and now at Virginia Tech – and that makes seven. The last time the Hawkeyes played seven games away from Carver-Hawkeye as part of its non-conference schedule was in 1999-2000, Steve Alford's first season at Iowa.

Iowa is 0-3 all-time against the Hokies, all in Big Ten/ACC Challenge games (2006, 2009 and 2012). The Hokies were a 9-seed in last year's NCAA Tournament and lost a first-round game against Wisconsin. 

Iowa will likely have six home games to announce as part of its typical, 13-game non-conference schedule. And in another wrinkle to the 2017-18 slate, every Big Ten team will play two conference games – one home, one away – on the first weekend in December. The league is front-loading its schedule this year with the league tournament Feb. 28-March 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, a week earlier than its traditional placement.

In other Hawkeye hoops news Wednesday, jersey numbers for three incoming freshmen were announced: No. 2 for forward Jack Nunge; No. 30 for guard Connor McCaffery, who will redshirt; and No. 55 for big man Luka Garza. The last Hawkeye to wear 55 was Greg Helmers in 1998.