Iowa to Play at Virginia Tech in ACC/B1G Challenge

May 14, 2012

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Iowa men’s basketball team will play at Virginia Tech, Nov. 27, as part of the 2012 ACC/Big Ten Challenge Presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods. Game times and television information will be announced at a later date.

Iowa is 2-9 in the Challenge after losing 71-55 to Clemson a year ago in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes did not take part in the event in 2003-04 and 2004-05. This year marks the 14th year of the event.

“We always look forward to this event and this year is no different,” said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. “Anytime you play an ACC opponent on the road, you know it will be difficult. We have a great deal of respect for Virginia Tech. This will be a good road test for our basketball team early in the season.”

Iowa has played Virginia Tech twice before, losing both meetings in Challenge games. The Hokies edged Iowa, 69-65, on Nov. 29, 2006 in Blacksburg, Va., and 70-64 on Dec. 1, 2009 in Iowa City.

Iowa is 11-24 all-time against ACC schools, while Virginia Tech is 18-14 against current members of the Big Ten Conference. The Hokies have played every Big Ten school except Michigan State and Northwestern.

Virginia Tech is coached by James Johnson, who will enter his first season as the program’s head coach this fall. Johnson spent the last five years on the Hokies’ coaching staff. He was an assistant coach from 2007-11 before being promoted to associate head coach prior to last season. Johnson also has coaching stints at George Mason (2005-07), Penn State (2003-05), College of Charleston (2002-03), Elon (2000-02), Old Dominion (1997-2000), Hargrave Military Academy (1996-97), Longwood (1995-96) and Ferrum (1993-95).

The Hokies return nine lettermen, including two starters, from last year’s team that finished 16-17 overall and 4-12 in ACC action. Eighteen of Virginia Tech’s games a year ago were decided by five points or fewer (6-12), including 10 contests by 10 points or less (5-5). The Hokies return four of their top seven scorers from last year. Erick Green returns for his senior campaign after leading the Hokies in scoring (15.6), assists (88), steals (41), field goal percentage (.438), free throws made and attempted (101-of-122), and minutes played (34.5). The guard, who scored double figures in 30 of 31 games, was a second team all-ACC selection. Forward Jarell Eddie ranked third in team scoring (9.1) and second in rebounding (4.8).

Iowa was 18-17 last season, finishing tied for seventh in the Big Ten with an 8-10 league record and advancing to the second round of the NIT. Iowa returns five of its top six scorers from a year ago. The Hawkeyes lose their top scorer from 2012, Matt Gatens (15.2 ppg), but return junior Roy Devyn Marble (11.5), sophomore Aaron White (11.1), junior Melsahn Basabe (8.2), junior Zach McCabe (7.8) and sophomore Josh Oglesby (6.4). White, who was one of only 16 student-athletes name to the Kyle Macy Freshman All-America team, was also the team’s top rebounder (5.7), while Marble led the squad in steals (53) and Basabe in blocks (36).

Virginia Tech is 2-5 in the Challenge, including a 1-2 mark in home contests. The Hokies have lost their last two Challenge games by the same score since beating the Hawkeyes in 2009. Virginia Tech lost at Minnesota a year ago, 58-55, and at home to Purdue in overtime, 58-55, in 2010.

The Big Ten won the 2012 Big Ten/ACC Challenge, 8-4, picking up its third consecutive Challenge title and retaining possession of the Commissioners Cup. The Big Ten set a conference record for wins and tied the record for wins by either conference in the Challenge. Four of the Big Ten’s eight victories came on the road, also setting a Challenge record.

Iowa-Virginia Tech is one of six three-time Challenge match-ups, with the others being: North Carolina-Indiana (2001 and 2004); NC State-Michigan (2003 and 2006); Ohio State-Duke (2002 and 2011); Minnesota-Florida State (2004 and 2007); and Purdue-Clemson (2003 and 2007).

The 2012-13 Challenge schedule is listed below:

Tuesday, Nov. 27
Minnesota at Florida State
North Carolina at Indiana
NC State at Michigan
Maryland at Northwestern
Iowa at Virginia Tech
Nebraska at Wake Forest
Wednesday, Nov. 28
Purdue at Clemson
Ohio State at Duke
Georgia Tech at Illinois
Michigan State at Miami
Boston College at Penn State
Virginia at Wisconsin