March 17, 2009
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – – The University of Iowa men’s basketball team is one of four regional round host teams that will take part in the 2009 O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in Kansas City. Other host teams, which will compete in a four-team bracket in Kansas City, include Pittsburgh, Texas and Wichita State.
The O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic will be held at the Sprint Center in Kansas City on Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 23-24.
Prior to traveling to Kansas City, Iowa will host two preliminary round games in Iowa City. Opponents and dates for those games have not yet been announced. The event includes a 12 team field and will tip-off November 15-18 at the four regional sites. The four regional hosts advance to the championship rounds in Kansas City, regardless of regional round results.
All other participants will automatically advance to play a round-robin series at one of two other sub-regional sites, meaning all teams in the event are guaranteed four games. The CBE Classic, in partnership with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), was initially established in 2001 as the Guardians Classic.
Tickets for the championship round at the Sprint Center go on sale Wednesday, March 18 at 10 a.m. CT. Tickets may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, or via the internet at Ticketmaster.com. For more information on the event, visit CBEClassic.com.
Iowa (15-17) had just one senior among its regular rotation this past season. The Hawkeyes were hit by injuries throughout the season. Iowa played 24 of its 32 games against teams that advanced to post-season play. The Hawkeyes lost 10 games by eight points or less and six games by four points or less in their second season under Coach Todd Lickliter.
“Playing in an event against this caliber of opponents will be a great challenge,” said Lickliter. “It only adds to the strength of our overall schedule, which has been very strong in my two seasons here. This field includes traditionally strong programs that feature very talented athletes and successful, well respected coaches.
“We look forward to playing at the Sprint Center and being in Kansas City,” added Lickliter. “It is relatively close for Hawkeye fans to witness two nights of outstanding basketball. It’s also an opportunity for Jarryd Cole to play in his hometown.”
Iowa posted six wins over RPI Top 100 teams and will return four players who averaged more than 10 points per game. Sophomore guard Jake Kelly earned honorable mention all-Big Ten recognition and freshman guard Matt Gatens was named to the Big Ten all-Freshman squad. Sophomore forward Jarryd Cole is a native of Kansas City, where he attended Winnetonka HS.
Pittsburgh (28-4) was the top team in the nation for three weeks during the 2008-09 season and is one of three teams from the Big East Conference to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Sophomore forward DeJuan Blair has earned first team all-America honors and was the co-Player of the Year in the Big East. The Panthers are coached by Jamie Dixon.
Texas (22-11) is a seven seed in the NCAA Tournament and will meet Minnesota in the first round. Coach Rick Barnes and the Longhorns have just two seniors on their current roster and have an incoming recruiting class that is ranked second in the nation by ESPN.com.
Wichita State (16-16) won 10 of its last 15 games and had six wins against the RPI Top 100. The Shockers are participating in the College Basketball Invitational and are expected to return four starters next season, including Toure’ Murry, a member of the Missouri Valley all-Freshman team, and Clevin Hannah, a member of the MVC all-Newcomer team. Wichita State is coached by Gregg Marshall.
Iowa will be making its third appearance in Kansas City since the 2001-02 season. The Hawkeyes finished second in the inaugural Guardians Classic early in the 2001-02 season, defeating Memphis (75-71) in the semi-finals before falling to Missouri (78-77) in the title game at Kemper Arena.
Iowa returned to the Guardians Classic early in the 2005-06 season. Iowa defeated Kentucky (67-63) in the semi-finals before a 68-59 loss to Texas in the title game at the Municipal Auditorium. Iowa holds a 2-1 series advantage over the Longhorns.
Iowa is 4-3 all-time vs. Wichita State, with the Shockers winning the last meeting, 60-56, in the first round of the 1981 NCAA Tournament at Wichita. The Hawkeyes are 2-5 against Pittsburgh. Iowa won the most recent meeting, 103-80, in the consolation game of the Lobo Classic on Dec. 30, 1976.
Syracuse won the CBE Classic this past season, defeating defending NCAA champion Kansas 89-81 in overtime.
The event is named after the College Basketball Experience, the award-winning and highly interactive college hoops fan facility adjacent to the Sprint Center, which also features the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
The College Basketball Experience is the nation’s only facility that celebrates, in its entirety, the sport of men’s collegiate basketball. In its second year of operation, the College Basketball Experience has played host to over 160,000 enthusiastic fans and visitors.