Hawkeyes to Host Clemson in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

May 17, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Iowa men’s basketball team will host Clemson, Nov. 29, as part of the 13th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge Presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

The Big Ten won last season’s Challenge, 6-5. With Nebraska joining the Big Ten Conference, this year’s Challenge will feature 12 games for the first time. Game times and television information will be announced at a later date. ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3.com will combine to televise all 12 games of the two-day event.

Iowa is 2-8 in the Challenge after being edged 76-73 on a last second 3-pointer at Wake Forest a year ago in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Hawkeyes did not take part in the event in 2003-04 and 2004-05.

“It’s going to be exciting hosting an ACC team in Carver-Hawkeye Arena,” said Iowa Head Coach Fran McCaffery. “Clemson is a talented and athletic basketball team that is well-coached, and has advanced to the last four NCAA tournaments. We look forward to the challenge of hosting Clemson in November.”

Iowa has only played Clemson twice before, winning both meetings. The Hawkeyes defeated Clemson 74-64 on Dec. 17, 1962 in Iowa City and 80-68 on Dec. 18, 1981 in the first round of the Kettle Classic in Houston, Texas. This will mark Clemson’s first-ever game inside Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa is 11-23 all-time against ACC schools, while Clemson is 12-14 against current members of the Big Ten Conference. The Tigers have played every Big Ten school except Michigan State, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

Clemson is coached by Brad Brownell, who like McCaffery, just completed his first season with his team. Brownell set a Clemson record for wins by a first-year head coach in 2010-11 when he led the Tigers to a 22-12 overall record. He guided Clemson to a fourth-place tie with Virginia Tech and Boston College in the ACC with a 9-7 mark and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Clemson beat UAB (70-52) in a “First Four” contest in Dayton, Ohio, to advance to play West Virginia in the second round in Tampa, Fla. The win over UAB marked the program’s first tournament victory in 14 years.

The Tigers return seven lettermen, including three starters, from last season. Senior guard Andre Young, who was a third team all-ACC selection, led the team in steals (1.4) and 3-point shooting (80-202, .396), ranked second in assists (3.0) and third in scoring (11.1). Young also ranked 21st in the nation in assist/turnover ratio (2.55). Junior forward Devin Booker ranked second on the squad in rebounding (5.5) and fifth in scoring (8.1). Senior guard Tanner Smith ranked second in team steals (1.3), third in assists (2.8) and sixth in scoring (7.8). Clemson’s top two players from last season, Demontez Stitt (14.5 ppg and 3.3 apg) and Jerai Grant (12.4 ppg and 6.7 rpg), exhausted their eligibility and will not return in 2011-12. Clemson led the ACC in scoring defense a year ago, allowing just 61.4 points per game.

Iowa was 11-20 last season and finished tenth in the Big Ten with a 4-14 league record in McCaffery’s first season with the Hawkeyes. Iowa returns six of its top seven scorers, including its top three scorers: senior Matt Gatens (12.6), sophomore Melsahn Basabe (11.0) and senior Bryce Cartwright (10.9). Basabe, who is one of 17 players that will attend USA Basketball’s U19 Training Camp next month, was also the team’s top rebounder (6.8), while Cartwright led the squad in assists (5.9).

Iowa and Clemson were two of eight teams that competed in the 2010 Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands this past November, but did not face each other in bracket play.

Clemson is 8-4 in the Challenge, going 4-2 in both home and away contests. The Tigers have lost their last two Challenge games, both at home. Clemson lost to Michigan (69-61) last year and Illinois (76-74) in 2009. This year marks its first Challenge road game since winning at Illinois (76-74) in 2008.

There are nine first-time Challenge matchups in 2011. The schedule is listed below:

Tuesday, Nov. 29
Miami at Purdue
Northwestern at Georgia Tech
Illinois at Maryland
Michigan at Virginia
Clemson at Iowa
Duke at Ohio State
Wednesday, Nov. 30
Indiana at NC State
Penn State at Boston College
Florida State at Michigan State
Virginia Tech at Minnesota
Wake Forest at Nebraska
Wisconsin at North Carolina