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IOWA CITY, Ia. – Iowa basketball coach Fran McCaffery still remembers the crowd at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines last season that turned out for a Nov. 20 game with Creighton.
A majority of the 12,746 paying customers were Hawkeye fans. And they left humbled. The Bluejays put a 82-59 whipping on Iowa.
“It was unfortunate that we didn’t play better when they showed up,” McCaffery said. “I think that’s always something that can be a little upsetting when you want your fans to see you play well. They didn’t that day, and hopefully they will Saturday.”
The Hawkeyes meet Northern Iowa at 1:30 p.m. in the first game of the Hy-Vee Big Four Classic at Wells Fargo Arena. Iowa State and Drake meet in the second game, scheduled to tip off at 4 p.m.
McCaffery, who grew up in Phil
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adelphia, Pa., remembers going to many a college basketball doubleheader at the Palestra. But those doubleheaders have gone the way of the dinosaur.
They died, McCaffery said, because more and more fans have formed an allegiance with a team, and lost a passion for the game in general.
“I mean, we live in a world where people just don’t go to college basketball games now planning to stay there for five hours,” McCaffery said. “They just don’t run their life that way anymore. We we’ll see how it goes.”
For the basketball fan, McCaffery said that Saturday’s doubleheader is a bargain. All four teams are coming off winning seasons, the first time that’s happened in 50 years. All four are coming off postseason appearances for the first time ever. Will fans stick around for both games or be provincial?
“That said, there are going to be some Hawkeye fans who come for our game and leave, and Iowa State fans who come later, and the same for Drake and UNI,” McCaffery said. “Will that change? Will people just say, “Hey, we're going to go there on this day and watch two games?” I hope so. I think that was the plan. But you never know.”
The Big Four Classic replaces traditional home-and-home series Iowa and Iowa State had with both Drake and Northern Iowa. The current Big Four Classic contract is for four seasons. McCaffery said there has been no discussion on Iowa’s part to play Drake and Northern Iowa in single games outside the Big Four Classic in the future.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball