From what we know so far of the Hawekeyes’ schedule, that shouldn’t be a problem next season.
Iowa had an extremely weak non-conference schedule last season, ranking outside the top 100 in the country. When the Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchups were announced earlier this week, Iowa must have let out a shout of joy. They will be getting quite the challenging foe when Syracuse visits them on December 5. In Syracuse’s first challenge, during their inaugural season in the ACC, they will be the likely favorites over Iowa.
Still, for Iowa to have a legitimate non-conference opponent penciled in is a big deal. They will get a very good shot at knocking off the Orange coming off of a Final Four season, although they have lost three core players since. A win would be a huge resume boost for Iowa, while even with a loss, their strength of schedule will be helped.
No team will have an easy conference schedule in the Big Ten. It just doesn’t happen. But when the single play lists were announced by the conference, Iowa saw no breaks. The four teams that Iowa only faces once include three lower tier Big Ten teams in Purdue, Nebraska and Penn State, with the fourth being a young Indiana team.
By avoiding second games with such weak teams, Iowa will have to play the top dogs in their conference twice, like Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin. They decidedly had the single toughest draw of any Big Ten team with the single play release.
Iowa will not have any trouble having a strong strength of schedule and RPI, but they still have to win some of these tough games.
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