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Iowa Gets Marquee Game in 2014 ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Matthew Holst - Getty Images Sports
Matthew Holst – Getty Images Sports
Match-ups for the 16th-annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge were announced on Thursday (May 1, 2014). The men’s basketball event will feature four marquee games that will be played in December, one of which involves Iowa.

The Hawkeyes will travel to North Carolina to play the Tar Heels on December 3rd. Both teams return three starters from NCAA Tournament teams this past season.

Iowa is coming off a 20-13 season under Head Coach Fran McCaffery. The Hawkeyes return three of their top four scorers and four of their top five rebounders next season. The returning starters are Aaron White, Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury.

North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams also welcomes back three starters from a team that posted a 24-10 mark in 2013-14. The Tar Heels were edged by Iowa State, 85-83, in the second-round of the NCAA Tournament in San Antonio, Texas in March.

One of North Carolina’s returning starters is leading scorer Marcus Paige of Marion, Iowa. The former Linn-Mar star averaged 17.5 points per game for the Tar Heels this past season. He played on the same AAU team as Iowa’s Gesell and Woodbury.

The December 3rd meeting will be the fourth between the Hawkeyes and North Carolina all-time and the first since 2004. The Tar Heels beat Iowa 106-92 in the championship game of the 2004 Maui Invitational in Hawaii and went on to win the National Championship that season.

The teams also play a home-and-home series in 1989 and 1990, with the Hawkeyes winning both games – 98-97 in Chapel Hill (1989) and 87-74 in Iowa City.

With 15 teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and 14 in the Big Ten Conference, Boston College will not be participating in this year’s event. The other marquee match-ups announced by ESPN on Thursday include Duke at Wisconsin, Syracuse at Michigan, and Michigan State at Notre Dame.

Iowa won last season’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Iowa City, beating Notre Dame, 98-93, on December 3rd.

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