Iowa State released its 2014-15 non-conference basketball schedule last week and one of the more interesting games on the slate is a Jan. 3 date with South Carolina at the Barclays Center in New York.
Why exactly would Iowa State schedule Frank Martin’s Gamecocks on a neutral floor in the northeast? There are a few reasons. Here are three pretty good ones.
Iowa State has scoured the the northeast for talent fairly heavily since Fred Hoiberg became head coach and looking deep into what Iowa State is doing on the trail right now, there are multiple northeastern prospects in play.
But there is another recruiting aspect to this equation that has nothing to do with the geography of where the game will take place and it has everything to do with television.
According to a source, there is a decent chance that FOX Sports 1 will televise this game and the second of a Barclays Center double-header on Jan. 3. That would be another nationally televised game for the Cyclones. If Iowa State had scheduled a mid-major opponent in Hilton, a game like that likely would have ended up on Cyclones.tv.
“The biggest thing was trying to get another game on national television,” Iowa State assistant coach and lead recruiter Matt Abdelmassih said. “That is the biggest recruiting tool. It (the northeast) is only one area. We are fortunate to be able to get guys from all over. This allows our product to be more visible. It’s huge when you can tell a family that they can watch 75 or 80 percent of games on national television.”
There is a chance that Jameel McKay could be granted a waiver that would allow him to play the first half of the season but I sure wouldn’t bet on it. Because of that, this schedule sets up nicely for Iowa State when it comes to breaking the Marquette transfer in before Big 12 play begins.
The way it sets up, McKay will get three games under his belt before Big 12 play begins, those being a neutral floor game against Drake, a home tilt with Mississippi Valley State and the South Carolina game.
It is doubtful that McKay will be at 100 percent effectiveness after just three games but seeing a legitimate high-major opponent before being tossed into the Big 12 will certainly help.
Obviously, the Barclays Center is home to the Brooklyn Nets. Players love playing in NBA arenas.
“As a kid, I dreamt of stuff like this,” Naz Long said. “I am so happy that stuff like this is getting knocked off of my bucket list. If I could play in every NBA arena, truly, that would be a blessing. To do things like this, a lot of kids don’t get to do it. A lot of people overlook things like this but it is an honor, a privilege and something that I won’t take for granted.”