By John Bohnenkamp
Iowa’s nonconference men’s basketball schedule isn’t going to have a lot of games, but it’s going to be strong.
The Hawkeyes will be playing North Carolina in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on December 8 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa, in the top 10 of every preseason national rankings, also will be playing Gonzaga in Sioux Falls, S.D., on December 19. Gonzaga was ranked No. 1 in the NCAA’s NET last season, a formula used by the NCAA tournament selection committee.
Iowa has won five of its last seven Challenge games. One of those wins came at North Carolina, 60-55, in 2014.
This will be the fifth meeting between the two programs. North Carolina’s lone win in the series came in the 2004 Maui Invitational championship game, a 106-92 victory. The two teams also played a home-and-home series in 1989 and 1990, with the Hawkeyes winning both.
“We’re excited to add North Carolina to our schedule,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said in a statement. “North Carolina is extremely well-coached with a skilled roster that will provide a challenge to our team. This will be an exciting matchup early in the season for college basketball fans.”
The Challenge games will be televised on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. Game times and television information will be announced later.
Iowa went 20-11 last season, 11-9 in the Big Ten. North Carolina was 14-19, 6-14 in the ACC, but the Heels bring back three starters.
The Hawkeyes will play a 27-game schedule this season, a shortened season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.