It is a common practice for big-name, NCAA Division I programs to invite schools of lesser stature and prominence to their place for a “warm-up” game prior to entering the strength of their schedule in any sport.
This basketball season, the Simpson men will do the honors for the University of Iowa.
Simpson will have their hands full against the Hawkeyes, a school that competes in what is considered to be one of the top conferences in the nation, the Big 10.
Despite the odds being stacked against them, Simpson is in a win-win situation. No one in their right mind thinks the Storm can compete with the Hawkeyes. So, the pressure is all on the Iowa players and their new head coach, Todd Lickliter, who will undoubtedly be looking to make a good first impression. Simpson can spoil all of that simply by putting together a solid showing and by making the Hawks sweat a little bit.
If the football season is any indication, these early season “gimme” match-ups aren’t always automatic. Number five Michigan invited Appalachian State, of the division formerly known as I-AA, into the Big House–and lost. Closer to home, Iowa State paid Northern Iowa to travel to Jack Trice Stadium–and lost. Nothing in collegiate athletics is certain.
Don’t forget that Simpson will receive payment from the University of Iowa to travel to Iowa City. The exact amount is undisclosed, but the amount is enough that Simpson accepted the offer.
Another benefit for the Storm is that of exposure. The game will be nationally televised on the new Big 10 Network. Because of this, more athletes throughout the Midwest will be aware that Simpson exists, which should aid recruiting.
It would take a monumental effort on the part of the Storm to knock off Iowa. History is on Simpson’s side, however. The Storm defeated the Hawkeyes in their last meeting–in 1913.