Penn St Iowa Basketball

Iowa guard Brady Ellingson passes between Penn State defenders Payton Banks, left, and Josh Reaves, right, during the first half of a game last season. The two teams meet in the Big Ten opener in Iowa City on Dec. 2.

AP

IOWA CITY — The Iowa men's basketball team, like all of its Big Ten peers, will open the conference season earlier than ever before this season.

The Hawkeyes’ Big Ten opener is at home against Penn State on Dec. 2, about a month earlier than in previous seasons.

The Big Ten released all conference schedules for both men’s and women’s basketball Wednesday. Iowa also released its full men's schedule, including non-conference games.

The earlier Big Ten start is made necessary by the fact that the Big Ten men's tournament is being held a week early. It will be Feb. 28 through March 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Iowa follows that Dec. 2 league opener with a Dec. 4 game at Indiana, then plays six more non-conference games before returning to Big Ten play in January.

The Iowa men will play 17 home games in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, including a pair of exhibition games (on Oct. 27 and Nov. 2), before the regular season tips off Nov. 10 against Chicago State.

Other non-conference opponents are Iowa State, Virginia Tech (in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge), Drake (in the Big Four Classic), Northern Illinois, Alabama State, Grambling State, Southern, Southern Utah and Colorado in addition to three games in a Cayman Islands tournament in late November. The Dec. 22 Colorado game is on a neutral court in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The Iowa women's team will face plenty of early road tests in its Big Ten schedule.

The Hawkeyes open league play at Wisconsin on Dec. 28 and will play five of their first seven Big Ten games away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena, hosting only Michigan on Dec. 31 and Purdue on Jan. 13 before playing six of the final nine games of the 16-game league schedule at home.

The eight league games include six weekend dates, with four Sunday home games and two Saturday games.

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