The annual college basketball doubleheader that takes place during the holidays in Des Moines will continue for at least a couple more years.
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All the athletic directors for Iowa State, Iowa, Northern Iowa, and Drake have agreed to extend the contract of the Hy-Vee Big Four Classic to 2017. Here was a statement from UNI AD Troy Dannen from The Des Moines Register.
"“Des Moines treats the event as if it’s big time,” Northern Iowa athletic director Troy Dannen said. “The Arena has been a great partner for us. Especially with NCAA Tournament coming (in 2016), this is a preview of what each session’s going to be like.”"
The event featuring all four teams in Des Moines on one night has grown between the first two years. There were over 1,300 more people in 2013 than 2012 (14,512 compared to 13,180), and they should expect even more in the 16,100-capacity inside Wells Fargo Arena with a top-ranked Iowa State squad and a great matchup between UNI and Northern Iowa.
Fans are a bit mixed on the event. Some enjoy the one-day bonanza while others are still bummed that Iowa and Iowa State don’t play both the Missouri Valley opponents in a home-and-home affair. The reason for the move to alternate was due to the Cyclones and Hawkeyes getting an increase in their conference schedules.
It makes sense in that way, but both teams could weed out terrible opponents. Ultimately moving it to Des Moines eliminates just one non-conference game, and Iowa State would benefit a lot more by playing UNI than Lamar, Southern, or Mississippi Valley State. Of course, maybe upcoming 1-8 Drake would rather not have to face both Iowa and Iowa State as the Bulldogs have really struggled out of the gate.
Either way, the event is here to stay until at least 2017. Iowa State will play UNI in 2015 and 2017 and Drake again in 2016.