The first ever Gavitt Tipoff Games provides Marquette a chance to renew a series that hasn't been played since December of 1982. This game will be just the sixth time that Iowa and Marquette have squared off since 1940, which is kind of surprising given the schools' relative proximity and their total of 17 games played between them. One of those five games since World War II included Marquette's first ever Elite Eight appearance back in 1955 which ended in a Hawkeye win.
Thursday, November 19: vs Iowa
2014-15 record: 22-12
Returning Points Leader: Jarrod Uthoff, 12.4 ppg
Returning Rebounds Leader: Jarrod Uthoff, 6.4 rpg
Returning Assists Leader: Mike Gesell, 4.0 apg
Final 2014-15 KenPom Ranking: 19
Fun story about pulling those numbers up there: I went over to Iowa's website and opened up their roster and statistics pages. From there, it's just a matter of looking at who led each column, and then figuring out if they were a senior. If they were, go to the next guy, etc. For a while there, I thought Iowa had been decimated by roster turnover and this was actually going to be a terrible game. After a quick consult with KenPom.com, I realized that Iowa had updated all of their juniors to seniors, even on the 2014-15 roster, making it appear that they had lost almost everyone of note from last year. C'mon, guys, don't make this so difficult.
Anyway, after a brief moment where I thought that this was a horrifyingly awful game for Marquette to get stuck with, I returned to the mindset that this will be a fantastic first major test for a very young Golden Eagles team. Iowa's got dudes coming back all over the place from a team that finished tied for third in the Big Ten and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Head coach Fran McCaffrey's got things rolling in Iowa City, getting the Hawkeyes to consecutive NCAA appearances for the first time in nearly a decade as well as three straight 20 win seasons for the first time since Dr. Tom Davis' final three seasons on the sidelines of Carver-Hawkeye Arena.