Iowa Basketball In-State Rivalries To End
Two of the rivalry games for the University of Iowa men's basketball team are coming to an end, as is an annual event that's been happening for the last seven years.
Iowa will no longer be playing Drake and Northern Iowa on a rotating basis each year, thanks to a change in the Big 10 men's basketball schedule. This winter will be the first that Iowa plays 20 conference games, in addition to the Big Ten tournament. The Big Ten also started playing the Gavitt Tipoff Games three years ago. It features teams from the Big 10 playing the Big East. Iowa played in the Gavitt games in 2015 and 2016, but did not last season and will not again this year.
According to a release from the University of Iowa Sports Information Department, the 2018 Hy-Vee Classic at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, scheduled for December 15, will be the final one the Hawkeyes will take part in. Iowa will play UNI this season, after defeating Drake 90-64 last year.
In the release, University of Iowa Director of Athletics Gary Barta says,
In our last agreement we added language that provided each institution an opportunity to opt out of the remainder of the contract if they reached 22 required games by the conference. The addition of two conference games is good for our fans, the Big Ten Conference and our strength of schedule, but unfortunately it created some scheduling challenges that impacts this event.
I may be reading the rivalries wrong, but I feel that losing the Iowa-UNI game is much more devastating for fans than the Iowa-Drake matchup. Iowa City and Cedar Falls are just 89 miles apart and yes, Des Moines is only 24 miles further from Iowa City, but UNI brings a great and tough match-up for Iowa each and every time. It just seems like more of a rivalry, but perhaps that's just me.
Neither Drake or the University of Northern Iowa are currently on future Iowa men's basketball schedules. Let's hope that changes. And rest assured, Iowa's annual game against the Iowa State Cyclones is unaffected. The two teams will still meet each season. Thank goodness for that.