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Archive for September, 2008

Times, TV set

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008
Starting times and television plans for nonconference Iowa basketball games during the 2008-09 season have been set and although the Big Ten Network will begin to shift some of its telecasts of all teams to BigTenNetwork.com this season, customers of Mediacom in Iowa won't be left looking to their computer to access coverage. Mediacom will air the four Hawkeye games scheduled for BigTenNetwork.com, using its Connections Channel to televise the games. That's Ch. 22 on Quad-Cities area systems, but the location varies in other locales. The games involved are all early-season games in November. ESPNU will also televise three additional games beyond the previously announced Iowa-Boston College game that is part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Two games, a Nov. 20 game at The Citadel and a Nov. 28 game against West Virginia at Las Vegas, are not scheduled to be televised. Television plans for a Nov. 29 game against Kentucky or Kansas State are dependent on the outcome of the Nov. 28 game. ESPN2 will televise the finals of the Las Veas tourney. The shift to multiple platforms by the Big Ten Network is also leading to more fan-friendly starting times. None of the starting times announced Tuesday is later than 7:30 p.m. and most weeknight starts are set for 7 p.m.  Here's a game-by-game breakdown of Iowa's 2008-09 men's basketball schedule, including starting time and TV arrangements: Sun., Nov. 9 Wayne State (Mich.) (exhibition), 1 p.m. MC/BTN.com Fri., Nov. 14 Charleston Southern, 7 p.m. MC/BTN.com Mon., Nov. 17 Texas-San Antonio, 7 p.m. MC/BTN.com Thurs., Nov. 20 at The Citadel, 6 p.m. No TV Sun., Nov. 23 Oakland, 5 p.m. BTN Tues., Nov. 25 Southeast Missouri State, 7 p.m. MC/BTN.com Fri., Nov. 28 vs. West Virginia at Las Vegas, 8 p.m. None Sat., Nov. 29 vs. Kentucky or Kansas State at Las Vegas, 6:30 or 9:30 p.m. TBA Tues., Dec. 2 at Boston College, 6 p.m. ESPNU Fri, Dec. 5 Bryant U, 7:30 p.m., BTN Tues., Dec. 9 Northern Iowa, 6 p.m., ESPNU Fri., Dec. 12 Iowa State, 7 p.m., BTN Sat., Dec. 20 at Drake, TBA, ESPNU Sat. Dec. 27 Western Illinois, 7 p.m., ESPNU Wed., Dec. 31 at Ohio State, 3 p.m., BTN Sat., Jan. 3 Indiana, 3:30 p.m., BTN Thurs., Jan. 8 Minnesota, 6 p.m., ESPN2 Sun., Jan. 11 at Michigan, 10:30 or 11 a.m., BTN Sun., Jan. 18 at Purdue, 11 a.m., BTN Wed., Jan. 21 Wisconsin, 7:30 p.m., BTN Sat., Jan. 24 at Penn State, 5 p.m., BTN Thurs., Jan. 29 Michigan State, 6 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2 Sun., Feb. 1 at Illinois, 1 p.m., BTN Wed., Feb. 4 at Indiana, 5:30 p.m., BTN Sat., Feb. 7 Northwestern, 5 p.m., BTN Wed., Feb. 11 at Wisconsin, 7:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m., BTN Sat., Feb. 14 Purdue, 3 p.m., BTN Sun. Feb. 22 Michigan, 4 p.m., BTN Wed., Feb. 25 at Michigan State, 7:30 p.m., BTN Sat., Feb. 28 at Northwestern, 1 p.m., BTN Tue-Thur, March 3-4-5 Ohio State, TBA, TBA Sat., March 7 Penn State, 1 p.m., BTN March 12-15 at Big Ten Tournament, Indianapolis, TBA

Cheap seats

Monday, September 15th, 2008
It's been no secret that crowds at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in recent seasons haven't been what they were a few years ago. The reasons are many. Some of it has to do with the level of play, some of it goes back to fallout from the university's handling of the Pierre Pierce fiasco (Vol. 1 or Vol. 2, take your pick), some of it has to do with the price of tickets and some of it has to do with additional 8 p.m. weeknight starting times, although I tend to see the latter as an easy excuse to stay away. Give Iowa officials credit for trying to do something to coax folks back into the seats this season. Fans who order a pair of season tickets can save as much as $100 if they place their order by Sept. 24. Those who take advantage of the offer will also receive $25 that can be spent at either the Iowa Hawk Shop or the arena concessions stands. Iowa officials also listened to the complaints of fans about the late starts and took those concerns to Big Ten Network officials. The network's schedule was responsible for a number of late starts last season and the groups are working together to address the situation. In both cases, it's a pro-active approach that beats a no-active approach. The recently-released home schedule includes 18 games and discounting tickets is one way to make Hawkeye hoops more affordable to families, which is always a good thing. Iowa's home schedule does include nonconference dates with Iowa State and Northern Iowa as well as home games against every Big Ten opponent except for Illinois.

Ahead of the storm

Friday, September 12th, 2008
One of the most prominent recruits that Iowa's current basketball coaching staff has landed a visit from blew into Iowa City on Thursday night before the storm winds of Hurricane Ike became an issue in Texas. Nick Russell, a 6-foot-4 point guard from Grace Prep in Arlington, Texas, arrived as scheduled for a weekend visit that will include getting to the know the Hawkeyes and their fans during Iowa-Iowa State football weekend on the Iowa campus. Russell is generally regarded as a top 150 recruit nationally and he currently has scholarship offers from Texas Tech, UCLA and Arkansas as well as Iowa. Duke has shown some interest in him as well, but has yet to offer a scholarship. His visit comes one week after 6-8 Cody Larson of Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls, S.D., made his official visit to Iowa. Delayed by fog, Larson did not arrive in time for the shirts-and-skins scrimmage which is typically held before Hawkeye home football games. Gonzaga is among the other schools pursuing Larson. Lickliter's staff currently has one available scholarship for its 2009 recruiting class. The Hawkeyes received earlier commitments from a pair of instate preps, Brennan Cougill of Sioux City Heelan and Eric May of Dubuque Wahlert. Iowa has one instate commitment for its 2010 recruiting class, Chanse Creekmur of Marshalltown.

Working together

Friday, September 5th, 2008
It's no accident that Iowa's conference basketball schedule released earlier this week contained no starts later than 7:30 p.m. Iowa officials have been working with the Big Ten Network to reduce or eliminate the number of 8 p.m. starts, a starting time that was loudly criticized by Hawkeye fans last season. "Iowa was the only school where the 8 p.m. starts were in an issue and the folks there felt that it was impacting attendance. We didn't hear that concern from anyone else,'' Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman said. In its first year of operation, the network typically assigned games played at the western-most sites to the latest tipoff times. If it were airing a doubleheader with games at 6 and 8 p.m., Central time, that more often than not would lead Iowa or Minnesota -- the western-most outposts in the conference -- to the latter time slot. The league has altered starting times on weeknights where it has a doubleheader scheduled for the Big Ten Network and itstead of 6 and 8 p.m. starts, the games will now start at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. In addition to addressing concerns expressed by Iowa, that also reduces the number of 9 p.m. tipoffs for schools located in the Eastern time zone. "Some of what we're doing is out of our control. The Big Ten has contracts with other television partners that lock us into time slots on some evenings. If they are airing a game at 6 p.m., Central, the earliest we can air the other game that night is 8 p.m.,'' Silverman said. "We're appreicate the uniqueness of the situation at Iowa and we're trying to work with them to reach an agreeable solution.'' The network will air 16 of Iowa's 18 conference games during the upcoming season and will likely be the landing spot of nearly every nonconference game the Hawkeyes play. Starting times for most nonconference games have not yet been determined. Iowa's 2008-09 men's basketball schedule: Sun., Nov. 9 Wayne State (Mich.), exhibition, TBA Fri., Nov. 14 Charleston Southern, TBA Mon., Nov. 17 Texas-San Antonio, TBA Thurs., Nov. 20 at The Citadel, TBA Sun., Nov. 23 Oakland, TBA Tues., Nov. 25 Southeast Missouri State Fri., Nov. 28 vs. West Virginia at Las Vegas Invitational Sat., Nov. 29 vs. Kentucky or Kansas State at Las Vegas Invitational Tues., Dec. 2 at Boston College, 6 p.m., ESPNU Fri., Dec. 5 Bryant University, TBA Tues., Dec. 9 Northern Iowa, TBA Fri., Dec. 12 Iowa State, TBA Sat., Dec. 20 at Drake, TBA Sat., Dec. 27 Western Illinois, TBA Wed., Dec. 31 at Ohio State, 3 p.m., BTN Sat., Jan. 3 Indiana, 3:30 p.m., BTN Thurs., Jan. 8 Minnesota, 6 p.m., ESPN2 Sun., Jan. 11 at Michigan, 10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m., BTN Sun., Jan. 18 at Purdue, 11 a.m., BTN Wed., Jan. 21 Wisconsin, 7:30 p.m., BTN Sat., Jan. 24 at Penn State, 5 p.m., BTN Thurs., Jan. 29, Michigan State, 6 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2 Sun., Feb. 1 at Illinois, 1 p.m., BTN Wed., Feb. 4 at Indiana, 5:30 p.m., BTN Sat., Feb. 7 Northwestern, 5 p.m., BTN Wed., Feb. 11 at Wisconsin, 7:30 p.m., BTN Sat., Feb. 14 Purdue, 3 p.m., BTN Sun., Feb. 22 Michigan, 4 p.m., BTN Wed., Feb. 25 at Michigan State, 7:30 p.m., BTN Sat., Feb. 28 at Northwestern, 1 p.m., BTN March 3-5 Ohio State, TBA, BTN Sat., March 7 Penn State, 1 p.m., BTN March 12-15 at Big Ten Tournament, Indianapolis