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Notre Dame comes to Iowa City for ACC-Big Ten challenge

[ 0 ] May 8, 2013 |

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery talks to Mike Gesell during the Hawkeyes' game against Michigan State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2012.  David Scrivner / Iowa City Press-Citizen

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery talks to Mike Gesell during the Hawkeyes' game against Michigan State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2012. David Scrivner / Iowa City Press-Citizen


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Acie Earl banked in a short-range shot with 6 seconds remaining, and Iowa’s basketball team knocked off No. 19 Temple in the first round of the 1990 preseason NIT. Back in South Bend, Ind., Notre Dame assistant coach Fran McCaffery took his Temple scouting report and threw it away.

“Everybody thought Temple was going to win,” McCaffery said. “But we kind of felt like Iowa had a good chance.”

Iowa’s 73-71 victory earned it a trip to the Joyce Athletic and Convocation Center in South Bend, Ind., where the Irish pulled away with free throws down the stretch for a 77-68 victory and a trip to Madison Square Garden in New York for the semifinals.

“Obviously, we had a lot of respect for (Iowa coach) Tom Davis,” McCaffery said. “It was a game that could have gone either way.”

The teams will meet again on Dec. 3 for the first time since that 1990 meeting, with McCaffery now Iowa’s head coach. The game, part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, will be played at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tip time and television information will be released later.

“I think it will be a great game for the fans,” McCaffery said. “A great game for both programs. Both teams are going to be good. It’s a great opportunity for the two of us.”

Iowa returns everyone but Eric May from a 25-13 team that recorded its final two wins against ACC teams in the NIT – at Virginia in the quarterfinals and against Maryland in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

Notre Dame was 25-10 last season, losing to Iowa State in a second-round NCAA game, 76-58. The Irish return their leading scorer, guard Jerian Grant, who averaged 13.3 points a game. The No. 2 scorer, center Jack Cooley, is gone. But the No. 3 scorer, guard Eric Atkins (11.2 ppg), and the No. 4 scorer, guard Pat Connaughton (8.9 ppg), are also back.

McCaffery has another connection to Notre Dame. His wife, the former Margaret Nowlin, was an all-American basketball player for the Irish. She completed her career in 1991-92 with 1,312 points and 826 rebounds. Asked who his wife would be cheering for on Dec. 3, McCaffery said, “You don’t have to worry about that one. Iowa.”

The Irish left the Big East to play basketball in the ACC starting in 2013-14, which caught Iowa forward Aaron White by surprise.

“The whole conference realignment is really throwing me off,” White posted on Twitter Wednesday. “So we play Notre Dame in the B1G/ACC challenge. News to me that ND is in the ACC.”

Notre Dame leads the series overall, 8-5. Iowa’s most recent victory was a 121-106 drubbing in a consolation game of the 1970 NCAA Tournament in Columbus, Ohio. The Hawkeyes’ 52 made field goals in that game are still an NCAA Tournament record.

Iowa has lost its last seven games in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The Hawkeyes’ last victory came against North Carolina State in 2005, 45-42. Iowa is 2-10 in the challenge overall.

With the addition of Notre Dame and last week’s switch to the Battle for Atlantis, with a field that includes Kansas, Villanova, Xavier and Tennessee, Iowa’s non-conference schedule for 2013-14 is a definite upgrade from last season.

“That’s what we wanted,” McCaffery said.

BIG TEN/ACC CHALLENGE SCHEDULE

Tuesday, Dec. 3

Florida State at Minnesota

Illinois at Georgia Tech

Indiana at Syracuse

Michigan at Duke

Notre Dame at Iowa

Penn State at Pittsburgh

Wednesday, Dec. 4

Boston College at Purdue

Maryland at Ohio State

Miami at Nebraska

N. Carolina at Michigan State

Northwestern at N.C. State

Wisconsin at Virginia

Note: Times TBD

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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