It isn’t the sexiest non-conference schedule in America next season but it will by far be the most challenging of the Fred Hoiberg era.
With yesterday’s Big 12/SEC Challenge announcement (Iowa State drew a road trip to Texas A&M), next year’s non-con is all but set – other than a few low-major games here and there.
According to director of basketball operations Micah Byars, there are still additional contracts that Iowa State has yet to receive.
What we know…
Nov. 13: Colorado (in Sioux Falls, S.D.)
Nov. 16: Chicago State
Nov. 23: Tennessee-Chattanooga
Nov. 27: Virginia Tech (Emerald Classic in Destin, Fla.)
Nov. 28: Illinois or UAB (Emerald Classic)
Dec. 11: Iowa
Dec. 13: Home game vs. low/mid-major
Dec. 19: Northern Iowa (Big 4 Classic in Des Moines)
Dec. 22: @ Cincinnati (return date will be Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 in Ames)
Dec. 30: Coppin State
Jan: 30: @ Texas A&M (Big 12/SEC Challenge)
*** A lot of fans were disappointed with the Texas A&M news yesterday and I totally understand. Iowa State has been there and done that. What makes these challenges fun is playing against teams you don’t normally see. But A&M, who returns its top three scorers and adds a top-10 recruiting class to the equation, will be better than Florida (as an example) next year. LSU would have been a great draw. From a strength of schedule perspective, this is probably the third best scenario for the Cyclones, who have to go on the road in this event this year.
*** My way too early guess is that UAB beats Illinois on Nov. 27 setting up a Cyclone/Blazer rematch from last year’s NCAA Tournament. I hope this happens.
*** Northern Iowa is always good but should be down compared to the Panther team we all saw a season ago. The same goes for Iowa.