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Hy-Vee Big Four Classic


’Tis the season to try and fit a little more in — a little more food on the table, a couple of more presents under the tree and a little more basketball into your day. Check out one of the marquee basketball events in the Midwest — the Hy-Vee Big Four Classic — this Saturday featuring the Iowa State, Iowa, the University of Northern Iowa and Drake men’s basketball teams.

(photo courtesy of Global Spectrum)

(photo courtesy of Global Spectrum)

“If you’re a fan of one of these teams, or just a fan of basketball, attending the Hy-Vee Big Four Classic provides two quality college basketball games with one ticket where you get to see all of our Division I men’s basketball teams on one floor,” said Global Spectrum’s Adam Flack, director of marketing at Wells Fargo Arena. “The teams in this state are continuing to raise their national profile, as evidenced by the current Top 25.

“The Big Four Classic brings together fans from all corners of the state to cheer on their team and earn bragging rights for the next year.”

Drake and Iowa State will clash first in one of the oldest rivalries west of the Mississippi River. The teams have played one another nearly every season during the past century. The last time these two teams met each other in Des Moines, Iowa State beat Drake 86-77 at the inaugural Big Four Classic event.

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Iowa State is coming off its third-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament — last year claiming a spot in the Sweet 16 — under the tutelage of head coach and ISU alumni Fred Hoiberg. Drake will be under the guidance of head coach Ray Giacoletti, who last year led the Bulldogs to a 15-16 record in his first year at the helm. Iowa State leads the all-time series with its neighbor 30 miles south, 107-65.

The second game of the doubleheader pits Iowa against the University of Northern Iowa. Iowa posted its second-consecutive 20-win season for head coach Fran McCaffery last season and looks to be on the way to a third with this season’s 7-2 start. The Hawkeyes also made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2006, bowing out in the first round to the University of Tennessee.

University of Northern Iowa went 16-15 for head coach Ben Jacobson last season. At press time, the team sported a perfect 8-0 record. The Panthers finished third in the Missouri Valley Conference last season — its 11th-consecutive upper-half finish in the league. This year’s meeting will be the 44th matchup between the teams, with the Hawkeyes holding a 34-9 lead all-time.

“This state has a lot of pride in their college basketball teams, and it is somewhat unique for a state the size of Iowa to have four Division I Men’s Basketball teams,” Flack said. “Another thing is that these games are almost always competitive. This year’s games should be fantastic, as Iowa State and UNI are currently ranked in the Top 25, Iowa is receiving votes after their big win at North Carolina, and Drake is improving under second year coach Ray Giacoletti.” CV

David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

Hy-Vee Big Four Classic on Dec. 20 at Wells Fargo Arena. Tipoff of the Iowa State/Drake game is 4 p.m. followed by Northern Iowa/Iowa clash at 6:30 p.m. Tickets range from $25–$70.

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