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Local Sports

Hy-Vee Classic needs some spunk

Has the Hy-Vee Classic run its course? Is it time to put the instate basketball two-game, one-day event at Wells Fargo Arena to bed?

Maybe.

But if it continues past 2019, the day needs more spunk. It needs more anticipation.

Fans attend those games now because of obligation and to be able to watch all four Division I instate schools in one day. But the atmosphere is not great. It needs a makeover.

Maybe the Classic does, too.

I don’t have all the answers. But I have ideas.

My first idea would be to turn the Classic into a two-day event. Play the first two games on a Friday and then hold a championship game on a Sunday.

The issue with that is that Drake doesn’t want to play Northern Iowa a third time and Iowa and Iowa State already play each other each season.

The contract runs through 2019. But because the Big Ten Conference went to a 20-game league schedule, it allows Iowa to opt out of the final two years if it wants to.

The Hawkeyes will play those 20 conference games, Iowa State, an opponent in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and a few tournaments each year. That gives them five or six games to schedule. And playing thos games at home where they can make way more money, is probably financially better. for them.

As an Iowa native, I would much rather see Iowa play both UNI and Drake every year and cut down on the sub-300 RPI teams they are playing this year.

I would rather have Iowa and Iowa State go back to playing either Drake or UNI at home and the other on the road every year.

Losing to Drake or UNI to most fans of Iowa State or Iowa would be more acceptable than dropping home games to Milwaukee or the University of Omaha .

The way it used to be is done forever. And maybe the new format is too. If it’s not, we have to find a way to improve it.

The attendance this season was 13,828. It was the first time that number dipped below 15,000 since 2013.

I watched both games on TV. The Iowa-Drake had no energy at all. Iowa State fans made sure the nighcap was better. But it stil doesn’t compare to playing those teams inside Hilton Coliseum or what it’s like when the Cyclones went to the Knapp Center.

It appears, at least for now, that the fate of the Hy-Vee Classic rests in Iowa City with the Hawkeyes.

They can opt out of the contract if they want. And by the way head coach Fran McCaffery and Athletic Director Gary Barta answered questions on the topic, the future doesn’t seem promising.

“It’s kind of just fits on our schedule; it’s the next game on the schedule,” McCaffery said. “I don’t know where it goes from here in terms of length.”

The Hy-Vee Classic will never be what the Indiana Crossroads Classic is, but it can still be better than we have right now.

Contact Troy Hyde
at thyde@newtondailynews.com

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