Hawkeyes host Air Force in non-conference battle

Dec. 23, 2004

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Iowa (10-1) will host the Air Force Academy (6-4) Tuesday, Dec. 28 as the Hawkeyes close the non-conference portion of the season with a pair of home games. Game time is 7:05 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,500).

Iowa improved to 10-1 with an 83-53 win over Texas Tech Dec. 21 at the United Center in Chicago. Air Force has been idle since a 66-59 overtime loss at Lamar on Dec. 13.

Radio: Iowa games are broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network. Gary Dolphin handles the play-by-play with color commentator Bob Hansen.

Television: ESPN Regional will carry the game to a network of stations that includes KGAN Cedar Rapids, KDSM Des Moines, KCAU Sioux City and KLJB. Larry Morgan and Mac McCausland will call the action.

Iowa has played 2,321 games since beginning basketball in 1902. Overall Iowa’s record is 1,385-935 (.597). That includes an 864-303 (.740) record in home games, a 521-633 (.451) record in games away from Iowa City, a 657-644 (.505) mark in Big Ten games and a 270-77 (.779) record in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa has compiled a 270-77 (.779) record in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa is 127-64 (.665) in Big Ten games and 143-13 (.917) in non-Big Ten games. Iowa has drawn over five million fans for men’s basketball games since the arena opened in 1983. Iowa has posted a 62-22 (.738) home record under Coach Steve Alford, including a 40-4 (.909) mark in non-conference home games.

Iowa is ranked 17th by the Associated Press and the Hawkeyes are 19th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. Iowa began the season receiving no votes in either poll.

With 10 wins in 11 games, Iowa has matched the 2000-01 Hawkeyes for the best start of a season under Coach Steve Alford. Iowa, in 2001, posted a 10-1 mark to start the season and ended the year with a 23-12 overall record. Iowa began the 1998-99 season with a 13-1 record.

The current seven-game win streak is the second longest for an Iowa team under Alford, as the Hawkeyes opened the 2000-01 season with nine straight wins. The Hawkeyes also had six-game win streaks in 2003-04 and 2001-02. Iowa has won as many as 11 non-conference games (not including post-season wins) six times since earning 12 non-conference victories during the 1988-89 season.

Junior guard Jeff Horner leads the Big Ten Conference in three statistical categories and ranks among the top eight players in the league in seven categories.

Horner is first in the league in three-point field goals per game (3.0), three-point percentage (.508) and assist/turnover ratio (+3.2). Horner is second in assists (6.6), third in steals (2.0), seventh in scoring (15.6) and eighth in free throw percentage (80.5%).

IOWA COACH Steve Alford
Steve Alford (pronounced ALL-ford) is in his sixth season as the head coach at the University of Iowa and his 14th season as a college head coach. Alford holds a career record of 255-149 (.631), including a 99-72 (.579) record at Iowa, a 78-29 (.729) record in four seasons (1992-95) at Div. III Manchester College and a four-year record (1996-99) of 78-48 (.619) at Southwest Missouri State. Alford ranks fifth among Iowa’s head basketball coaches in career wins and he is 34-46 (.425) in Big Ten games at Iowa. Alford is 8-5 in the NCAA Tournament (3-2 in Div. I and 5-3 in Div. III) and 2-4 in the NIT.

Alford led Iowa to the 2001 Big Ten Conference Tournament title and into the second round of the NCAA Tournament in his second season with the Hawkeyes. Iowa earned a return trip to the title game of the Big Ten Conference Tournament in 2002 and advanced to the NIT in post-season play in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The Hawkeyes set a Big Ten Conference Tournament record with seven straight wins over two seasons (2001-2002) before a last-second loss in the first round of the 2003 tournament. Alford’s record in the event is 8-4 in his five seasons.

Alford led Southwest Missouri State to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1999 and in 1995 Manchester advanced to the NCAA championship game before suffering its first defeat of the season.

Alford is a 1987 graduate of Indiana, where he led the Hoosiers to the 1987 NCAA title. Alford was a member of the 1984 U. S. Olympic team that earned the Gold Medal and he was the 26th player selected in the NBA Draft following his senior season. Alford played four seasons in the NBA before beginning his coaching career.

At Indiana, Alford started 120 of 125 games in four seasons. He served as team captain in 1987 when the Hoosiers were 30-4. Steve concluded his college career as Indiana’s all-time scoring leader with 2,438 points and he holds the Indiana record for career steals with 178. He was a consensus first team All-American and the Big Ten MVP as a senior.

Alford is a member of the Manchester College M Association Hall of Fame and the Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame. In 2001 he was named one of the “Top 50 Athletes” in the history of the state of Indiana and was selected as a member of the 15-man Indiana University all-Century team. A year ago he was one of five players selected to ESPN’s Big Ten Conference Silver Anniversary team, honoring Big Ten players from the past 25 seasons.

Alford has not coached against the Air Force or Falcon Coach Chris Mooney.

Iowa Coach Steve Alford collected career victory number 250 as a head coach with the 88-53 win over Centenary. His career mark stands at 255-149. Alford has a 99-72 record at Iowa, moving into fifth place on the Iowa list for coaching victories. Iowa’s top four coaches in career wins include Tom Davis (269), Lute Olson (168), Rollie Williams (139) and Bucky O’Connor (114).

Chris Mooney is in his first year as a college head coach, leading the Falcons to a 6-4 mark during the early portion of the season. Mooney spent the last two seasons as an assistant at Air Force, the last two as associate head coach. He is the fourth youngest head coach in Division I. Mooney joined the staff at Air Force after serving as head coach at Beaver College (PA) for two seasons and he has also served as a head coach on the high school level. As a member of the staff at Air Force, Mooney helped the Falcons lead the nation in scoring defense in 2002-03 (57.0) and 2003-04 (50.9). Air Force last season posted a 22-7 mark, making its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1962. Mooney earned his degree from Princeton in 1994, where he started all 107 games during his career and served two seasons as team captain. Mooney helped Princeton win two Ivy League titles. He earned Rookie of the Year honors in his first season and all-conference honors the following three seasons. Mooney has not coached against Iowa or Hawkeye Coach Steve Alford.

Iowa and Air Force are meeting for the first time.


  • Iowa’s all-time record against current members of the Mountain West Conference is 8-9, with Air Force and San Diego State the only current members of the league Iowa has not met at least once.
  • Air Force junior Nick Welch earned honorable mention all-American honors a year ago and he was the co-Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference.
  • Air Force associate head coach Mike McKee played at Lehigh University during his college career, which concluded in 1994. He was a starter that season when Iowa defeated Lehigh 104-77 in Iowa City. McKee had five points, six assists and four rebounds in the loss to Iowa.
  • Iowa holds a 16-5 record against teams from Colorado, having played Colorado (4-3), Colorado State (2-2), Denver (7-0), Colorado College (2-0) and Regis University (1-0).

Iowa used a solid defensive performance in taking an 83-53 win over Texas Tech Dec. 21 at the United Center in Chicago. Tech came into the game as one of the top scoring teams in the nation, averaging 87 points in its first seven outings. The Hawkeyes held Tech to 20 points while building a 32-20 halftime margin and pulled away from the start of the second stanza.

Iowa held Texas Tech to 35.7% shooting from the field, and the Red Raiders made just 25% of their three-point shots. The Hawkeyes won the rebounding battle, 47-35, outscored Tech 40-26 in the paint and held Tech to six fast break points and two second chance points. Tech was guilty of 21 turnovers.

Adam Haluska scored eight straight points as Iowa took a 10-3 advantage in the opening minutes as Iowa built their first half advantage with Haluska and forward Greg Brunner in foul trouble. Iowa scored the first five points of the second half and Tech was never closer than 14 points the rest of the way.

Haluska continued his scoring pace in the second half, leading all scorers with 21 points, matching a career-high, and he added six rebounds. Pierre Pierce added 15 points and five rebounds and Brunner collected nine points and a game-high eight rebounds.

The Hawkeyes received solid play from center Erek Hansen, who had nine points, six rebounds and six blocked shots, and the Hawkeye reserves added 22 points and 17 rebounds. Mike Henderson scored nine points, Doug Thomas added six points and six rebounds and Alex Thompson collected five rebounds.

Air Force has been idle since a 66-59 overtime loss at Lamar Dec. 13. The Falcons rallied from a 24-19 halftime deficit to force the extra period, but were outscored 16-9 in the extra session. Lamar shot 66.7% from the field and made 7-10 free throws in the overtime, compared to just 28.6% shooting by Air Force.

The Falcons were led by Nick Welch with 20 points, while Antoine Hood added 13 and Jacob Nurtschi had five rebounds.

Iowa ranks 10th in the nation in assists per game (18.6) and blocked shots per game (6.7), 12th in three-point field goal percentage (42%), 18th in winning percentage (.909) and 19th in scoring 83.1).

Individually, Erek Hansen is third in blocked shots (4.0) and Jeff Horner is 15th in assists per game (6.3) and 21st in three-pointers per game (3.2).

Ryan Kennedy (6-7, 210) is a sophomore forward who has joined the Iowa basketball team as a walk-on. Kennedy attended Roosevelt High School in Des Moines as a prep.

Kennedy earned honorable mention all-conference recognition as a prep senior, serving as team captain and earning team MVP honors.

In the 70-63 win over Iowa State, Iowa held the Cyclones without a three-point basket as ISU missed all six of its attempts. That marks the first time an Iowa opponent did not make at least one three-point basket since early in the 2001-02 season, when Iowa State missed all eight of its three-point attempts in a 78-53 loss to Iowa in Ames.

As a team, Iowa set two Gazette Hawkeye Challenge tournament records and tied a third, in the win over UNC Greensboro. The Hawkeyes set a tournament record and tied their own school record with 12 blocked shots. That record was set earlier this season in a loss to North Carolina. Iowa also shot 57.9% (11-19) from three-point range to set a tournament record and the 11 three-point field goals tied a tournament mark.

Iowa set its second single-game record of the season in a loss to North Carolina and tied that record in a win over North Carolina-Greensboro. The Hawkeyes blocked 12 shots in each of those two games, and junior center Erek Hansen led the way in both games with five each. The previous record of 11 blocked shots was set in an 80-65 win at Drake on Jan. 4, 1993.

Iowa set school and Carver-Hawkeye Arena records in its opening win over Western Illinois by making all 20 of its free throw attempts. Six Hawkeyes contributed to the record, with Pierre Pierce and Erek Hansen each making four. The previous best for a perfect free throw percentage (18-18) came in a win at Indiana in 1979. The previous record for Carver-Hawkeye Arena was 94.7%, when Iowa made 18-19 attempts vs. Wisconsin in 2001.

Several new faces have been big contributors in Iowa’s first 11 games. The newcomers are averaging 24.7 points and 12.5 rebounds per outing.

Junior college transfer Doug Thomas scored 14 points and led Iowa with nine rebounds in the opening win over Western Illinois, and he added 10 rebounds vs. UNC Greensboro. Thomas added eight points and five rebounds vs. North Carolina and he had six rebounds in the win over Texas.

Sophomore Adam Haluska has scored in double figures in eight of 11 games, including a career-high 21 points vs. Drake and Texas Tech 20 in a home win over Iowa State.

In the win at Drake, freshman Carlton Reed scored 14 points, while freshman Alex Thompson five rebounds in the win over Texas Tech.

Newcomers contributed 31 points and 13 rebounds in the opening win, 37 points and 11 rebounds vs. North Carolina, 39 points and 15 rebounds in the win at Drake, 22 points and 15 rebounds vs. Centenary and 27 points and 19 rebounds vs. UNC Greensboro.

As has been the case in recent years, the Iowa schedule is very demanding. Six of Iowa’s first 11 games have been against teams that advanced to post-season play a year ago. Iowa has posted a 5-1 record in those games, including a 4-1 record vs. teams that were in the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Iowa’s final two non-conference opponents, Air Force (NCAA) and Saint Louis (NIT) were also in post-season play last year.

Iowa took part in the EA Sports Maui Invitational early in the season, defeating #11 Louisville and #13 Texas, while falling to #11 North Carolina. The non-conference slate so far has also included Northern Iowa, Iowa State and Texas Tech, teams that participated in post-season play a year ago.

Iowa will play 16 games against teams that advanced to post-season play a year ago.

Iowa’s back-to-back wins over Louisville and Texas marks the second time Iowa has won consecutive games against ranked opponents under Coach Steve Alford. The Hawkeyes, during the 2002-03 season, defeated 20th-ranked Michigan State 68-64 and 8th-ranked Illinois 68-61.

Steve Alford has posted a 17-24 record against ranked opponents as Iowa’s head coach. Iowa, this season, has defeated 11th-ranked Louisville 76-71 and 13th-ranked Texas 82-80, with a loss to 11th-ranked North Carolina. Those three games were at the Maui Invitational.

Alford’s Hawkeye teams are 5-8 when playing teams ranked in the top 10, including wins over top-ranked Connecticut (70-68 in 1999-00), 2nd-ranked Missouri (83-65 in 2001-02), 5th-ranked Ohio State (67-64 in 1999-00), 7th-ranked Illinois (78-62 in 2000-01) and 8th-ranked Illinois (68-61 in 2002-03). The eight losses to top 10 teams have been once to top-ranked (Duke, 2001-02), once to 3rd-ranked (Illinois, 2000-01), twice to 4th-ranked (Michigan State, 1999-00 and 2000-01), twice to 5th-ranked (Tennessee, 2000-01 and Missouri, 2001-02), once to 9th-ranked (Kentucky, 2000-01) and once to 10th-ranked (Illinois, 2002).

In the 41 games against ranked teams, Alford and his Iowa team are 6-7 in home games, 8-8 at neutral sites and 3-9 when playing ranked teams in their home arena.

Junior center Erek Hansen has collected 40 blocked shots in just 10 games, moving among Iowa’s leaders in blocks for a season and career. A year ago Hansen blocked 40 shots in 22 games. The 40 blocks rank 10th best for a single season and his 80 career blocks ranks ninth among Iowa’s career leaders. Hansen had a career-best seven blocked shots vs. Iowa State and he blocked seven shots in the win over Texas Tech. He has blocked five or more shots in five of the 10 games he has played, and he is averaging 9.3 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 50% from the field. He had a career-high 14 points vs. Northern Iowa and he had 11 points and six rebounds vs. Texas.

Junior guard Jeff Horner is off to a fast start through 11 games, ranking among national leaders in assists and three-point field goals while averaging 15.6 points per game. Horner is averaging 6.3 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. Horner had a career-high 27 points in the win over Texas and he led the Maui Invitational in scoring with 63 points in three games. He added 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists in a win at Drake.

Horner made 15-23 three-point attempts in the three games in Hawaii, moving into Iowa’s top 10 in both three-pointers and three-point attempts. Horner was named Big Ten Player of the Week for his play in Maui. The honor is the second of Horner’s career, as he earned it last Feb. 9 after leading Iowa to a double-overtime win at Indiana. He added his first career scoring and assist double-double in the win over UNC Greensboro with 14 points and a career-best 11 assists. He added 16 points and nine rebounds in the win over Northern Iowa. Horner scored Iowa’s final five points in the last 95 seconds against the Panthers and he added 12 points and seven assists in a win over Iowa State. He is shooting 48.2% from the field, 50.8% from three-point range and 80.5% from the free throw line. Horner was named to the all-tournament team at the Maui Invitational and he was co-MVP (with teammate Pierre Pierce) of Iowa’s Gazette Hawkeye Challenge.

Junior guard Pierre Pierce is proving to be a very versatile player through Iowa’s first 11 games. Pierce is averaging 16.3 points, 4.2 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game and he leads the team with 30 steals. He has scored in double figures in all 11 games, has at least six assists in four games and five or more rebounds in eight games. Pierce made a three-point basket in the final minute to lead Iowa in a win over Texas, scoring 18 points vs. the Longhorns and 16 points vs. Louisville in Iowa’s first two games of the Maui Invitational. He added 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals in a win over Texas Tech. Pierce was named co-MVP (along with teammate Jeff Horner) of Iowa’s Gazette Hawkeye Challenge.

Junior forward Greg Brunner is Iowa’s top returning rebounder and he is averaging 7.2 rebounds this season. Brunner, who ranked second in the Big Ten in rebounding last season, had a season-best 13 rebounds in the win over Iowa State and 11 vs. Western Carolina. He had 10 rebounds vs. Louisville, nine vs. UNC Greensboro and eight in wins over Texas and Texas Tech. Brunner has scored in double figures in nine games, with a season-high of 23 in the win over Northern Iowa. He is shooting 54.7% from the field and 69.4% from the foul line. He was named to the all-tournament team of Iowa’s Gazette Hawkeye Challenge.

Sophomore Adam Haluska scored a career-high 21 points in wins over Texas Tech and Drake as he has scored in double figures in nine of 11 games. Playing against his former school, he added 20 points in a win over Iowa State, hitting 4-8 treys. Haluska had 19 points in the loss to North Carolina and 17 points vs. UNC Greensboro. He matched his career-high of four assists in the win over Northern Iowa and played an outstanding defensive game. In his first season at Iowa, Haluska is shooting 49.5% from the field and 80.4% from the free throw line while averaging 13.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.

Junior Doug Thomas is making a major contribution to Iowa’s rebounding efforts, as he is fourth on the team with an average of 4.8 per game. Thomas had nine rebounds in his first game as a Hawkeye and added a season-best 10 in a win over UNC Greensboro. Thomas had six points and six rebounds in the win over Texas Tech. Thomas is averaging 4.6 points while shooting 58.1% from the field and 75% from the foul line.

Iowa has three players, all juniors, who could reach the 1,000 point plateau this season. Pierre Pierce has scored 895 points, Jeff Horner has 804 and Greg Brunner has 690. Some notes on Iowa’s 1,000-Point Club include:

  • 35 Hawkeye players have scored over 1,000 points, the most recent being Glen Worley last season
  • The last Hawkeye to reach 1,000 points in three seasons was Dean Oliver in 2000
  • Iowa has had three 1,000-point scorers on the roster in the same season on three occasions. Jess Settles, Kenyon Murray and Chris Kingsbury in 1996, Roy Marble, B.J. Armstrong and Jeff Moe in 1988 and Marble, Armstrong and Ed Horton in 1989

Iowa has outscored its opponents 420-353 in the first half and 494-416 in the second half. Iowa has led at halftime in eight of 11 games and the Hawkeyes have outscored their opponent in the second half in nine games.


  • Iowa’s contest at Drake was the only true road game for the Hawkeyes in non-conference play. Iowa played three neutral site games at the EA Sports Maui Invitational and played Texas Tech at the United Center in Chicago.
  • Iowa has had four players or more score in double figures in nine of 11 games, with a season-best six players in the win over Western Illinois. Iowa is 1-0 when six players score in double figures, 1-0 when five players score 10 points or more, 6-1 when four reach double figures and 2-0 when two are in double figures.
  • Iowa has four players averaging between 12.7 and 16.3 points per game and four players averaging between 4.8 and 7.2 rebounds per outing.
  • Iowa is 8-0 when leading at halftime and 2-1 when trailing at intermission.
  • Iowa is 5-1 when controlling the opening tip and 5-0 when not controlling the tip.
  • Iowa is 4-0 in games decided by 10 points or less, and has not played an overtime game.
  • Under Steve Alford, Iowa is 30-6 when shooting at least 50% from the field, including 5-1 this season.
  • North Carolina and Northern Iowa are the only Iowa opponents to shoot over 50% from the field this season. Last season, Iowa was 0-5 when its opponent shot at least 50% from the field.

Iowa is seeking a fifth straight winning season, a streak that would match the second longest consecutive winning seasons record in Iowa basketball history. Iowa’s longest streak of consecutive winning seasons is seven, from 1950 through 1956. Pops Harrison, Bucky O’Connor and Rollie Williams all coached the Hawkeyes during those years. Only a 10-10 record in 1949 kept Iowa from 13 consecutive winning seasons (1944-56).

Lute Olson coached Iowa to five straight winning seasons from 1979-83, George Raveling and Tom Davis combined to coach Iowa to winning seasons from 1985-89 and Davis coached Iowa to winning seasons from 1995-99.

Iowa’s tri-captains for the season include juniors Greg Brunner, Jeff Horner and Pierre Pierce. Pierce, a native of Westmont, IL, started all 29 games a year ago, leading the team in scoring (16.1) while averaging 5.7 rebounds per game. Brunner, a native of Charles City, started 26 of 29 games. His 8.2 rebounds per game were a team best and ranked second in the Big Ten. Horner, a Mason City native, has started all 69 games over the past three seasons. He led the team in assists in each of the last two seasons while also averaging 13 points and 5.3 rebounds last year.

Iowa returns three starters and six lettermen from 2004. Those six returning lettermen last season scored over 1,200 points and totaled over 600 rebounds. The six players, in 2004, scored 60.1% of Iowa’s points, had 56.9% of the rebounds, 67.5% of the assists, 64.4% of the blocked shots and 45.2% of the steals.

In 29 games, a sophomore led Iowa in scoring 26 times and a sophomore was the top rebounder in 22 games. The Hawkeyes return their statistical leader from last season in all categories, with the exception of steals (Brody Boyd). The 13-man squad includes one senior, six juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen. The roster includes eight Iowans, plus one player from California, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Texas.

Iowa’s class of newcomers includes seven players. That list includes juniors Doug Thomas and Justin Wieck, sophomore Adam Haluska and freshmen J.R. Angle, Seth Gorney, Carlton Reed and Alex Thompson. The group is ranked the second best incoming class in the Big Ten and 20th in the nation by Hoop Scoop in the June issue of Basketball Times.

Street and Smith’s ranks the group as the top incoming class in the Big Ten and names Thompson on the all-Midwest team on its list of Top 100 Freshman.

Lindy’s rates the incoming class as 14th best nationally and lists Haluska fourth among its top 10 transfers. Athlon Sport’s also lists Haluska among the top transfers in the nation and rates the overall class fourth best in the Big Ten.


  • Iowa is one of four Big Ten teams to post a winning season in each of the last four years, joining Illinois, Michigan State and Wisconsin. Iowa advanced to post-season play for the fourth straight season a year ago.
  • Iowa’s 9-7 Big Ten record earned a fourth place finish in the conference race, a feat that was accomplished despite the fact that Iowa lost an average of 30 points and 17 rebounds from the team that posted a 9-4 record through its first 13 games of the season.
  • Iowa collected four Big Ten road wins in 2004 and seven in the last two seasons. In Big Ten play, only Illinois (six) and Michigan State (five) won more road games a year ago as Iowa won at Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State and Minnesota. The Hawkeyes won three road games in 2003. Under Steve Alford, Iowa has won at least three Big Ten road games in three of five seasons.
  • Iowa ranked second in the Big Ten, for all games, in five statistical categories, including scoring offense, field goal defense, three-point field goal percentage, rebounding margin and assists per game.
  • Iowa’s single-game bests in 2003-04 included Pierre Pierce with 28 points vs. Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament, a career-high. Greg Brunner had 14 rebounds in the double-overtime win at Indiana, also a career-high. Jeff Horner had a then career-high nine assists in the win over Drake and 2004 Brody Boyd had seven steals in Iowa’s win over Northern Illinois.

Fans of the University of Iowa basketball program may join Iowa Coach Steve Alford and radio announcer Gary Dolphin each week during the season for the “Hawk Talk with Steve Alford” radio call-in show. The show takes place each week at Carlos O’Kelly’s Mexican Café in Iowa City. The show airs from 6-7:30 p.m. on the following dates: Jan. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28; and Mar. 7.

Every Iowa game throughout the 2004-05 will be televised. Iowa appeared on national cable television (ESPN and ESPN2) in three games in the Maui Invitational and the Dec. 21 game vs. Texas Tech was a national cable telecast on ESPN2. Iowa games not selected for national coverage will be televised regionally by ESPN Plus, while several conference games are scheduled to be carried throughout the Big Ten Conference viewing area as part of the Big Ten regional network agreement with ESPN Plus.

Iowa’s final non-conference contest is Dec, 31 when the Hawkeyes host Saint Louis at 7:05 p.m. The Hawkeyes open Big Ten play Jan. 5, hosting Michigan, and travel to Ohio State Jan. 8.