NIT N Iowa Drexel Basketball

The Big Four looks cool, but does it benefit all four Iowa schools?


College basketball fans in the state of Iowa will get their wish on December 15, as the state’s four Division I schools will take part in a doubleheader at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines according to the Des Moines Register.

Iowa will take on Northern Iowa and Iowa State battles Drake in this season’s event, which will be held for four seasons.

The 2012 match-ups will be repeated in 2014, with Iowa/Drake and Iowa State/UNI being the games in 2013 and 2015.

“To be honest with you, with the Big Four, it doesn’t get any bigger than this,” said Chris Connolly, general manager of the Iowa Events Center. “I think everybody agrees that it will be a cool event. We expect it to sell very well, if not sell out, every year.”

But here’s the thing: while Iowa and Iowa State continue their home-and-home series (Drake and UNI are both in the Missouri Valley so of course they’ll still play), this event replaces the series that the MVC schools had with Iowa and Iowa State.

According to the article Iowa athletic director Gary Barda was the one who got things in motion for the Big Four, and Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard is also looking forward to it.

However the administrators at Drake and Northern Iowa, both of whom would rather continue their home-and-home arrangements, seem to feel as if not accepting this idea would mean no more games against Iowa or Iowa State at all.

“This is our only alternative to play them, and continue our relationship. Therefore we are looking forward to making this a great event for the state of Iowa, Drake fans and certainly Drake student-athletes,” said Drake AD Sandy Hatfield Clubb.

“There’s a lot of potential for this to become a great event. So we’re diving in head-first. It highlights Drake in a very positive way.”

An event like this isn’t unheard of in college basketball, with the Philadelphia Big 5 (played on home courts now) being a staple for more than 50 years and the four ACC schools in North Carolina holding a similar event from 1971 to 1981.

But while the opportunity to have all four Iowa schools in one building is an entertaining one, it also seems to mean that Drake and Northern Iowa lose the chance to host Iowa or Iowa State every year.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.