The Dagger - NCAAB

No doubt your memories of Northern Iowa still immediately conjure up images of Ali Farokhmanesh and his bowling-ball-sized onions after he drained one of the most memorable shots of the past five years.

But while UNI has continued to benefit from that shot and that win over Kansas (and it's becoming more and more clear, as we move further and further away from it, that KU-UNI is as memorable as Duke-Butler), next season is now closer than last, and it's time for us to look forward.

August is a pretty dead time in college basketball; arguably the most dead month of the calendar. So with that, the release of non-conference schedules can call for newsworthy posts.

Northern Iowa, which loses five seniors from 2009-10, will start 2010-11 off with a bang: against Syracuse in the Carrier Dome Nov. 12. The school released its entire non-conference schedule over the weekend, and depending on how teams iron out by the time the Las Vegas Classic rolls around (and what team UNI gets pitted against in BracketBusters), the SU tilt will probably be the Panthers' biggest headliner all season.

Could be a good thing for Lucas O'Rear (pictured) and Co., who are coming off such a memorable year. The team may need a humbling early on for a bit of perspective. Coach Ben Jacobson gets a win-win: either UNI rides March's momentum/positive press and upsets SU to start 2010-11, or his team learns or lesson about how far it really has to go to be considered a Butler/Gonzaga/etc. 

Either way, early-November basketball — the matchups prior to the preseason tournaments around Thanksgiving — doesn't always offer up the most satiating games. Now we kick off the season with one that features a nationally recognizable brand in Syracuse and a lovable team that gets to further carve out its identity to the country.

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