All Big Ten Network and no ESPN for Iowa women's basketball
IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa women's basketball will play seven games on the Big Ten Network this season. Six of those are Big Ten contests, with Iowa's remaining 10 conference games airing on BTN Plus.
None of Iowa's conference games are slated to air on an ESPN network. Its road game at Maryland last year was shown on ESPN2.
Three BTN games fall in or close to Thursday prime time slots. Opponents in those games? Florida State (likely a top-10 team), Maryland and Michigan State.
The rest of the seven games fall on a weekend and start at 3 p.m., 1 p.m. or 11 a.m. Early weekend tips usually draw consistently big crowds for the Hawkeyes.
Here is Iowa's full schedule of BTN games with opponents and tip times. Information regarding Iowa's BTN Plus games will be released at a later date.
Thursday, Nov. 30 Florida State 7 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 31 Michigan 3 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 4 at Maryland 5 p.m.
Sunday, Jan. 7 at Illinois 1 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 13 Purdue 3 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 1 at Michigan State 5 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 24 Indiana 11 a.m.
Iowa's BTN schedule reflects the theme of its overall conference schedule: a tale of two halves. Losses in those first three games against Florida State, Michigan and Maryland would come as no surprise. The Terrapins and Seminoles are good enough to make the Final Four. And the Wolverines, fresh off their WNIT win, are good enough to compete with Ohio State and Maryland for the conference title.
Then, the Hawkeyes will be favored in their final four BTN games. Illinois is still rebuilding. Purdue loses big pieces from last year. Michigan State loses huge pieces from last year. And Indiana will take a step back after a successful, outlying season for that program.
One surprise from the reveal is that BTN won't air Iowa's Jan. 25 home game against Ohio State. Kelsey Mitchell will be the Big Ten's biggest draw this year, so it'd make sense to put the Buckeyes on major networks as much as possible — especially in their games against teams battling for a top-five spot, such as Iowa.
The Buckeyes will have 10 conference games nationally televised — second only to Maryland's 11. BTN will air four of those Ohio State games; an ESPN network will show the remaining six.
Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewBain_.