IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa's 2008-09 men's Big Ten Conference basketball schedule will include 16 appearances on the Big Ten Network, with just one of nine home games set for a start time as late as 7:30 p.m.
The Big Ten released the entire conference schedule Wednesday, and for the second straight season, every Big Ten regular season and post-season conference tournament game will be nationally televised. Over 100 games will appear nationally on CBS Sports, ESPN, ESPN2 or the Big Ten Network.
"I'm very excited about our schedule this year," said UI Director of Athletics Gary Barta. "The Big Ten Conference and the Big Ten Network stepped up in a significant way by listening to our fans and eliminating the 8 p.m. tipoff this season. We're building tremendous momentum with Coach Lickliter's returning student-athletes and the new young men coming in. I look forward to seeing Carver Hawkeye Arena full on a regular basis. It's been a terrific week for the Hawkeyes - last Thursday we announced the Big Ten Network agreement with Mediacom - and today we release a great men's basketball schedule that eliminates 8 p.m. start times."
The Big Ten Network and Mediacom recently reached an agreement that will provide full coverage of all University of Iowa athletic events aired on the Big Ten Network to more than 400,000 Mediacom customers.
The Hawkeyes begin Big Ten action on the road, playing at Ohio State on Wednesday, Dec. 31 (3:05 p.m. CT, BTN). Iowa opens the home portion of the conference schedule by hosting Indiana on Saturday, Jan. 3 (3:35 p.m. CT, BTN. Of Iowa's nine conference home games, only the Jan. 21 contest vs. Wisconsin (7:35 p.m. CT, BTN) begins after 6 p.m. local time.
Five of Iowa's nine conference home games are weekend dates, with just one of the five starting as late as 5 p.m. Weekend home games are against Indiana, Northwestern, Purdue, Michigan and Penn State.
Sixteen of Iowa's 18 conference games will appear on the Big Ten Network. Iowa's home game against Minnesota (Jan. 8, 6:05 p.m. will air on ESPN2, while the home date with Michigan State (Jan. 29, 6:05 p.m.) will be televised by either ESPN or ESPN2.
Along with the conference schedule, the dates for Iowa's non-conference games have also been set. Start times and television information for those games will be released at a later date.
Iowa's Nov. 9 exhibition contest against Wayne State will provide the first opportunity for fans to see the 2008-09 Hawkeyes in game action. Coach Todd Lickliter and the Hawkeyes open the regular season Nov. 14, hosting Charleston Southern.
Iowa will host Iowa State on Friday, Dec. 12 as part of the annual Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series. Iowa will host Northern Iowa Wednesday, Dec. 5 and travel to Drake on Saturday, Dec. 20 to conclude its in-state series.
"Overall, I think our schedule is challenging," said Lickliter. "It will always be a high quality schedule with 18 Big Ten games and the three in-state opponents. Add to that the fact that five of our non-conference games are away from home. Learning to respond well to travel is part of the process and we need to grow in that area as well."
Games vs. Oakland University and Southeast Missouri State are preliminary round games in the Las Vegas Invitational. After facing West Virginia on Nov. 28, Iowa will conclude action in Las Vegas the following night against either Kansas State or Kentucky. Iowa's Dec. 2 game at Boston College, which is part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, will be televised on ESPNU.
The Hawkeye schedule includes contests against rivals from the Big East, Big 12, Atlantic Coast and Missouri Valley conferences, along with a possible match-up against Kentucky of the Southeastern Conference.