Frank Martin left the Big XII behind when he came to coach at South Carolina, but apparently the relationships he forged with other coaches around that league continue to impact his scheduling in Columbia.
The Gamecocks will play the Iowa State Cyclones on January 3, 2015 in Brooklyn, NY next season, the third game on the schedule next year against a Big XII opponent. The Cyclones went 28-8 last season, winning the Big XII tournament championship. The Cyclones went on to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament before bowing out to eventual champion UConn.
The Cyclones lose two major producers from last season in 2014 Big XII Player of the Year Melvin Ejim, as well as DeAndre Kane. However, they add Bryce Dejean-Jones from UNLV (who will have immediate eligibility) and also return starting point guard Monte Morris. The Cyclones likely won't repeat as Big XII champions, but they should once again be in the conversation for an NCAA Tournament berth.
With the announcement of this game, the Gamecocks have five non-conference games on their slate for next season, along with their 18 SEC games and their trip to Charleston to play in the Charleston Classic from November 20-23. Depending on who they draw in Charleston, the schedule could shape up as the first non-conference schedule since at least 2002 (as far back as Ken Pomeroy's database goes) to rank as one of the hundred most difficult non-conference schedules in the NCAA.