NCAAB: Iowa eyes return to top 25 with ACC/Big Ten battle vs. Georgia Tech

Iowa will try to get back on the winning track when it hosts Georgia Tech as part of the 24th Atlantic Coast Conference-Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday in Iowa City, Iowa.

This will be the second meeting between the two teams in the annual event. Iowa beat Georgia Tech 85-67 back in 2000 in the second year of the event. The all-time series is tied 1-1 with Georgia Tech winning in 2003 in the second round of the NIT.

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Iowa (5-1) suffered its first defeat of the season on Saturday, a 79-66 loss to TCU in the championship game of the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Fla.

The loss helped knock the Hawkeyes out of the AP Top 25 in the latest rankings released on Monday.

“We’ll learn and we’ll get better from this,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “We’ll be better.”

Kris Murray leads the Hawkeyes with an average of 19.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game while shooting 49.4 percent from the field. Patrick McCaffery averages 13.5 points, but failed to score against TCU (0-for-5 from the floor) one day after leading the team with 21 points in a 74-71 win over Clemson.

Georgia Tech (4-2) broke a two-game losing streak by beating visiting North Alabama 80-61 on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets had lost both of their previous games at the Rocket Mortgage Tip-Off in Fort Myers, Fla.

“We’ve got to keep getting better,” Tech coach Josh Pastner said. “I was disappointed (in Florida) but I don’t blame the players — that’s on me. Hopefully we can course correct and continue to play the right way.”

The Yellow Jackets were led by Deivon Smith, who matched his career high in his two seasons at Georgia Tech with 16 points against North Alabama. It was the fourth time he’s been in double figures this season. He has posted 16 assists over the last four games and leads the team with a 3.2 average.

“I thought Deivon did some great things,” Pastner said. “He’s gotten so much better. His improvement has been outstanding.”

Georgia Tech is 9-12 in the Challenge and 3-8 in Challenge games on the road. Iowa is also 9-12 in the event.

–Field Level Media

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