Fran McCaffey  Photo courtesy of Darren Miller/

Fran McCaffey
Photo courtesy of Darren Miller/

The Iowa Hawkeyes hope a challenging non-conference schedule pays off beginning Tuesday night when the Hawkeyes open Big Ten play by hosting top ranked Michigan State.

The Hawks take a 9-3 record into their league opener against a 13-0 Spartan team that has won 14 of the last 15 in the series, including nine straight.

“It is a team that was in the Final Four last year and they have been in the Final Four it seems like every other year since Tom Izzo has been there”, said Iowa coach Fran McCaffery. “We have great respect for what he does, what those players do and we will be ready.”

Michigan State will be without leading scorer Denzel Valentine, who is expected to miss a few more games with a knee injury.