ABC5 Sports Desk
DES MOINES, Iowa – The men's basketball teams from the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa will tip off shortly after 1:30 p.m. and the teams from Drake University and Iowa State University will square off at approximately 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, when the state of Iowa's four NCAA Division I men's basketball teams converge on Wells Fargo Arena for the 2012 Hy-Vee Big Four Classic.
The four schools and their respective multi-media partners also officially announced today that employee-owned Hy-Vee, Inc., which operates 234 supermarkets and drug stores in eight Midwestern states, has signed on as the title sponsor of the Hy-Vee Big Four Classic.
Tickets that range in price from $25 to $70 and are good for admission to both games of the 2012 Hy-Vee Big Four Classic are currently available the participating institutions' box offices. Remaining unsold tickets will be made available for purchase by the general public through the Wells Fargo Arena box office on Friday, Oct. 26.
The Big Ten Network will televise the Iowa-Northern Iowa game live to a national television audience. The television plan for the Drake-Iowa State game has yet to be finalized.
The 2012 Hy-Vee Big Four Classic will be staged after a very successful 2011-12 season for all four schools. Each posted a winning record and advanced to postseason play last season.
The Cyclones earned an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, registered a 23-11 record and finished tied for third in the Big 12. Fred Hoiberg's squad defeated Connecticut in its first round NCAA Tournament game before losing to eventual national champion Kentucky in the South Region.
ISU's Hy-Vee Big Four opponent, Drake, completed its 2011-12 season with an 18-16 overall record and accepted an invitation to the CIT, where the Bulldogs defeated North Dakota before losing to Rice. Mark Phelps' Bulldogs were 9-9 against Missouri Valley opponents in 2012.
UNI and Iowa both were extended at-large invitations to the National Invitation Tournament. UNI completed its season with an overall record of 20-14 and a 9-9 mark against Missouri Valley opponents. Ben Jacobson's Panthers defeated St. Joseph's and lost to Drexel in their NIT games.