Gonzaga has added another marquee matchup to its nonconference schedule.
The Zags have agreed to play Iowa, a potential top-five team in the preseason rankings, on Dec. 19 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Contracts could be signed in the next few days. The showdown was first reported by CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander.
The game replaces Gonzaga’s previously scheduled Dec. 19 matchup with Texas Tech in Phoenix. GU-Texas Tech is expected to be played Dec. 18, 2021, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein. Iowa is replacing a Dec. 22 contest vs. Oregon State in Sioux Falls with the Zags. It’s yet to be determined if fans will be permitted to attend.
Gonzaga is expected to open the season Nov. 25-27 at the Orlando (Florida) Invitational, which includes Michigan State, No. 11 in CBS Sports’ Top 25 And 1 rankings. Gonzaga, No. 1 in those same rankings, will remain in Orlando to face No. 12 Tennessee on Dec. 2 in the relocated Jimmy V Classic.
Gonzaga and No. 2 Baylor will clash Dec. 5 in Indianapolis.
Iowa was 20-11 last season and projected as a No. 6 seed by ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi before the 2020 NCAA Tournament was canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hawkeyes return an experienced roster that includes 6-foot-11 post Luka Garza, who will be one of the favorites for player of the year honors after averaging 23.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game as a junior.
The Hawkeyes will likely be the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten Conference.
Norlander noted that the Sanford Pentagon is an appealing site because Sanford Health is a business partner and capable of providing rapid-response COVID-19 testing.
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