Iowa Travels to Meet Saint Louis Friday Evening

Dec. 29, 2005

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Iowa (10-3) concludes the non-conference portion of its schedule Friday, Dec. 30 when the Hawkeyes visit Saint Louis (6-5). Game time is 7:05 p.m. at the Savvis Center (20,000) in St. Louis. Iowa defeated Robert Morris 73-51 Dec. 22 for its third straight win, while the Billikens defeated Chicago State 58-52 Wednesday in Saint Louis.

Radio: Iowa games are broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network. Brent Balbinot will handle the play-by-play with color commentator Bob Hansen. The Hawkeye Radio Network coverage includes a 60-minute pre-game show. Television: ESPN Regional will carry the game to a network of stations that includes KGAN Cedar Rapids, KDSM Des Moines, KWQC Quad Cities and KYOU Ottumwa, along with cable systems in Mason City, Sioux City and Omaha/Council Bluffs. Metro Sports in Kansas City, MO and CSN West in Sacramento, CA will also air the contest. Larry Morgan and Mac McCausland will call the action.

Iowa has played 2,356 games since beginning basketball in 1902. Overall Iowa’s record is 1,406-950 (.597). That includes an 880-306 (.742) record in home games, a 525-644 (.449) record in games away from Iowa City, a 664-653 (.504) mark in Big Ten games and a 286-80 (.781) record in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa has compiled a 286-80 (.781) record in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa is 132-67 (.663) in Big Ten games and 154-13 (.922) in non-Big Ten games. Iowa has drawn over five million fans for men’s basketball games since the arena opened in 1983. Iowa has posted a 78-25 (.757) home record under Coach Steve Alford, including a 51-4 (.927) mark in non-conference home games. Iowa’s current streak of 23 consecutive non-conference home wins ranks 16th-longest among Division I programs.

Iowa is listed among teams receiving votes in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today coaches polls. Iowa has been ranked as high as 12th this season (AP, 12/5/05), its highest ranking since early in the 2001-02 season. Iowa, that season, moved as high as seventh (Nov. 26) in the Associated Press rankings and eighth (Nov. 19) in the coaches poll. Iowa was ranked for nine consecutive weeks during the 2005 season, moving as high as 14th in both polls. This marks the first time the Hawkeyes opened the season in the top 25 since 2001-02. Iowa, that season, was eighth in the first coaches poll and ninth in the Associated Press rankings.

In NCAA statistical rankings, Iowa is sixth in fouls per game (14.4), 11th in field goal defense (35.9%), 14th in scoring defense (55.5) and 25th in blocked shots per game (5.9). Individually, Jeff Horner ranks seventh in assists per game (6.4) and 27th in free throw percentage (.906), Erek Hansen is 10th in blocked shots per game (3.2) and Greg Brunner is 33rd in rebounds per game (10.0).

University of Iowa senior guard Jeff Horner is expected to return to action at Saint Louis after missing Iowa’s last four games. Horner suffered a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Iowa’s overtime loss at Northern Iowa Dec. 6. Horner suffered the injury late in the contest as he was driving to the basket. He was fouled and made two free throws while staying in the game momentarily, but soon was forced out of action and did not play in the overtime period. Horner had played in 102 consecutive Iowa games over the past four seasons, missing just one start. He surpassed 500 career assists in the game at Northern Iowa and ranks fourth in career assists. Horner ranks 16th in career scoring with 1,203 points and ranks among Iowa’s career leaders in three-point field goals and three-point attempts. Horner, this season, is averaging 12 points and 6.4 assists per outing.

The Iowa basketball program reached 1,400 wins (now at 1,406) with a 79-46 victory over Texas-San Antonio on Nov. 26. Iowa is one of 34 NCAA Division I programs with as many as 1,400 wins. Iowa’s basketball history includes 71 winning seasons and 22 years in which the Hawkeyes have won 20 or more games. Iowa (with 21) is one of 31 programs to earn more than 20 invitations into the NCAA Tournament.

Iowa seniors Greg Brunner and Jeff Horner are two of 30 seniors from Division I basketball programs around the nation who have been named as candidates for the Bayer Advantage Senior CLASS Award. The award, now in its fifth year, is presented annually to the nation’s senior player-of-the-year. CLASS is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. The award was launched during the 2001-02 season in response to the trend of college players leaving college early to turn professional. The nomination of Brunner, from Charles City, and Horner, from Mason City, make Iowa one of seven programs to have two candidates among the list of 30 players. Sportscaster Dick Enberg, who initiated the idea for the award and now serves as honorary Chairman, will announce the winner during the CBS telecast of the NCAA Men’s Final Four in April.

IOWA COACH Steve Alford
Steve Alford (pronounced ALL-ford) is in his seventh season as the head coach at the University of Iowa and his 15th season as a college head coach. Alford holds a career record of 276-163 (.629), including a 120-86 (.583) record at Iowa, a 78-29 (.729) record in four seasons (1992-95) at Div. III Manchester College and a four-year record (1996-99) of 78-48 (.619) at Southwest Missouri State. Alford ranks fourth among Iowa’s head basketball coaches in total wins. He is 41-55 (.427) in Big Ten games. Alford is 8-6 in the NCAA Tournament (3-3 in Division I and 5-3 in Division III) and 2-4 in the NIT. His record in the Big Ten Tournament is 10-5 in six seasons and his 10 wins rank as the most among all Big Ten coaches in the event. Iowa won the tournament in 2001, returned to the title game in 2002 and just missed the championship game in 2005. Alford led Iowa into the second round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament in his second season and the Hawkeyes returned to the NCAA Tournament in 2005. Iowa advanced to the NIT in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Alford led Southwest Missouri State to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1999 and in 1995 Manchester advanced to the NCAA championship game before suffering its first defeat of the season. Alford is a 1987 graduate of Indiana, where he led the Hoosiers to the 1987 NCAA title. Alford was a member of the 1984 U. S. Olympic team that earned the Gold Medal and he was the 26th player selected in the NBA Draft following his senior season. Alford played four seasons in the NBA before beginning his coaching career. At Indiana, Alford started 120 of 125 games in four seasons. He served as team captain in 1987 when the Hoosiers were 30-4. Steve concluded his college career as Indiana’s all-time scoring leader with 2,438 points and he holds the Indiana record for career steals with 178. He was a consensus first team All-American and the Big Ten MVP as a senior. Alford is a member of the Manchester College M Association Hall of Fame and the Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame. In 2001 he was named one of the “Top 50 Athletes” in the history of the state of Indiana and was selected as a member of the 15-man Indiana University all-Century team. In 2004 he was one of five players selected to ESPN’s Big Ten Conference Silver Anniversary team. Alford is 4-2 vs. Saint Louis and 1-3 vs. Billiken Coach Brad Soderberg.

Brad Soderberg is in his fourth season as the Saint Louis head coach and his 12th season as a college head coach. He served as a Billiken assistant for one season. Soderberg was the head coach at Wisconsin for one season before joining the staff at Saint Louis. Soderberg is 50-53 at Saint Louis and his career record stands at 181-126. He was the head coach at Loras College in Dubuque for five seasons (1989-93), posting a 79-45 record there. He was 36-18 in two years (1994-95) as the head coach at South Dakota State. Soderberg was an assistant coach at Wisconsin from 1996-00 before leading the Badgers to a 16-10 record as the Wisconsin head coach in 2000-01. Soderberg was also an assistant coach at Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Colorado State, Fort Hays State and Loras before moving into the head coaching ranks. Soderberg is 3-1 vs. Iowa and Hawkeye Coach Steve Alford. Soderberg was 2-0 vs. Iowa in one season at Wisconsin and he is 1-1 vs. the Hawkeyes while at Saint Louis.

Coach Steve Alford has collected 120 victories as Iowa’s head coach, a total that ranks fourth on Iowa’s list of coaches in career wins. Alford recently moved past Bucky O’Connor, Iowa’s head coach from 1952-58 (he also was Iowa’s head coach for 11 games in 1950), who earned 114 wins as Iowa’s basketball coach. Iowa’s top three coaches in career wins are Tom Davis (269), Lute Olson (168) and Rollie Williams (139).

Iowa Coach Steve Alford and SLU Coach Brad Soderberg are no strangers. Along with meeting as head coaches in each of the last two seasons, they met twice during the 2000-01 season when Alford was at Iowa and Soderberg at Wisconsin, and they met in previous coaching positions. Alford’s Southwest Missouri State team defeated Wisconsin in the 1999 NCAA Tournament when Soderberg was a Badger assistant. Iowa and Wisconsin split two games in 1999-00 when Alford was in his first year as the Hawkeye head coach and Soderberg was a Badger assistant. Soderberg led Wisconsin to two wins over Iowa during the 2000-01 season. Overall, Wisconsin won five of nine games against Iowa when Soderberg was a Badger assistant coach.

Iowa holds a 10-7 advantage in the series that began with a 35-19 Iowa win in 1926. Iowa won 67-58 in Iowa City a year ago, while Saint Louis scored a last-second 70-69 win in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament in 2004. Iowa defeated the Billikens during the 2000-01 season, taking a 68-56 win in the consolation game of the Rainbow Classic in Hawaii. Iowa holds a 6-3 advantage in games played in Iowa City and the Billikens are 3-1 vs. Iowa in games played in St. Louis. This will mark the first meeting between the two teams at the Savvas Center. Three of the last five meetings have taken place at neutral sites. Along with Iowa winning in Honolulu in 2000-01, Iowa defeated Saint Louis 83-80 in the semi-finals of the Chaminade Classic in December, 1988 and the Hawkeyes defeated Saint Louis 80-77 in overtime in the championship game of the Los Angeles Classic in December, 1967. Iowa’s loss at Saint Louis in 2004 marked Iowa’s first game in St. Louis since a 65-58 loss in December, 1962, and even that contest was not actually played at the home of the Billkens.

Iowa turned up its intensity and its defensive pressure in the second half in taking a 67-58 win over Saint Louis last Dec. 31 in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes trailed 29-27 at halftime after Saint Louis shot 48.1% from the field in the opening period. Iowa’s second half rally, which included a 10-0 scoring run midway through the frame, saw the Hawkeyes outscore the visitors 40-29. Saint Louis shot just 30.6% from the field in the second half, while Iowa shot 56%. Iowa also hit 66.7% of its three-point attempts in the second half and shot 78.9% from the foul line for the game. Pierre Pierce led Iowa with 24 points, hitting 11-18 field goals. He added five rebounds and three assists. Greg Brunner had his fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while Adam Haluska scored 13 points and Jeff Horner added 12 points and six assists. Saint Louis was led by Ikik OHanon with 17 points and Anthony Drejaj with 14. Ian Vouyoukas led the Billikens with 11 rebounds. The box score from a year ago is attached at the end of this release.


  • Saint Louis is in its first season as a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference after previously competing in Conference USA. Iowa is 20-11 all-time against current Atlantic 10 members, having played 10 of the current 14 members.
  • Along with facing each other in Iowa City last season, the two teams played two common opponents. Iowa, a year ago, defeated Louisville and lost to Cincinnati. Saint Louis lost single games to both Cincinnati and Louisville.
  • Saint Louis assistant Angres Thorpe was an assistant coach at Loras College in Dubuque from 1993-96.
  • Tony Breitbach, director of Sports Medicine at Saint Louis, is a native of Dubuque, IA and a graduate of the University of Iowa, where he was a student athletic trainer.
  • Saint Louis sophomore Bryce Husak is a native of Mt. Vernon, IA. The 7-0 center is in his second year of action after a redshirt season in 2003-04. Hysak has seen action in seven games this season.


  • Iowa is 6-0 when scoring between 70-80 points, 3-1 when scoring between 60-70 points and 1-2 when scoring less than 60 points. Iowa is 8-0 when holding its opponent to less than 60 points, 2-2 when holding its opponent between 60-70 points and 0-1 when the opponent scores over 70 points.
  • Iowa is 6-1 when collecting more assists than the opponent, 2-2 when the opponent has more assists and 2-0 when assists are equal.
  • Iowa is 7-2 when having fewer turnovers than its opponent and 3-1 when the opponent has fewer turnovers.
  • Iowa is 4-1 when collecting more steals than its opponent, 5-2 when the opponent has more steals and 1-0 when steals are equal.
  • Iowa has had four players or more score in double figures in four games, with a season-best five players in the win over Maryland-Eastern Shore. Iowa is 0-0 when six players score in double figures, 1-0 when five players score 10 points or more, 3-0 when four reach double figures, 4-1 with three in double figures and 2-2 when two are in double figures.
  • Iowa is 10-2 when leading at halftime, 0-1 when trailing at intermission and 0-0 when tied at halftime.
  • Iowa is 8-1 when controlling the opening tip and 2-2 when not controlling the tip.
  • Iowa is 3-2 in games decided by 10 points or less, 3-1 in games decided by five points or less and 0-1 in overtime.
  • Iowa has held four opponents to less than 50 points and eight to under 60 points. Only four Iowa opponents have shot as well as 40% from the field.
  • Iowa has won at least 10 games before the start of Big Ten play four times in seven years under Coach Steve Alford. Along with the 10 wins this season, the Hawkeyes won 12 games prior to Big Ten play last season and 11 games in both 2001 and 2002.
  • Under Steve Alford, Iowa is 35-6 when shooting at least 50% from the field, including 2-0 in 2005-06.
  • None of Iowa’s opponents have shot 50% from the field. Iowa allowed just four opponents to shoot at least 50% from the field last season, and Iowa was 3-1 in those games. Iowa was 0-5 when its opponent shot at least 50% from the field in 2004.

Iowa used an 18-5 scoring run over the final eight minutes of the first half to take complete control, and the Hawkeyes went on to a 73-51 win over Robert Morris in their final non-conference home game of the season. Leading 23-17, Iowa picked up the pace late in the first half to build a 41-the 22 margin by intermission. Iowa shot 45.7% from the field in the first half, while Robert Morris shot just 25%. The visitors improved to 36.7% shooting over the final 20 minutes as Iowa picked up in the second half where it ended the first. Robert Morris was never able to get closer than 15 points, and that came with just under four minutes left to play. Iowa used a balanced attack and strong play from its reserves to win its third straight game. Adam Haluska led the Iowa scoring with 18 points, as he hit 7-14 field goal attempts and 4-7 three-pointers. Greg Brunner added 15 points and 10 rebounds, recording his fifth straight double-double. Doug Thomas added 10 points and four rebounds and Mike Henderson added eight points, four rebounds, six assists and four steals. Along with his 18 points, Haluska added nine rebounds and four assists. Iowa shot 45.3% from the field for the game and won the rebounding battle 46-26. Iowa also collected nine steals and seven blocked shots while forcing 17 turnovers.

Saint Louis held off a second half rally by Chicago State to defeat the visitors 58-52 Wednesday night. Saint Louis built a 33-21 halftime advantage and then made enough free throws in the second half to claim the win. The Billikens made just 3-18 field goals in the second half, but made 18-29 free throws in the final 20 minutes to get the win. Saint Louis hit 33-45 free throws and did not score a field goal in the final five minutes of the game. The Billikens forced 18 turnovers and held Chicago State to 33.3% shooting from the field, including 1-9 three-point attempts. Ian Vouyoukas led Saint Louis with 17 points and eight rebounds. Freshman Kevin Lisch added 15 points in just his second start and Justin Johnson added nine points and eight rebounds.

Iowa held Arizona State to just 12 first half points in a 62-43 win in Iowa City. That marks the lowest first half total scored by an Iowa opponent in 206 games under Coach Steve Alford. The previous low of 15 points was scored by Northwestern in Iowa’s 72-55 win in the first round of the 2001 Big Ten Tournament in Chicago. Arizona State made 6-23 (26.1%) field goal attempts in the first half, missing three three-point attempts and two free throw attempts.

The 45 points scored by Iowa in a win over North Carolina State marks the fewest points scored by Iowa since the Hawkeyes scored 49 in a 49-51 loss at Northwestern on March 3, 2004. The point total is the lowest for Iowa in a winning effort since a 50-49 win at Drake on Nov. 11, 2002. The 45 points are the fewest by an Iowa team in a winning effort in Carver-Hawkeye Arena since a 42-39 win over Northwestern on Jan. 12, 1984. The 45 points match the lowest total scored by Iowa under the direction of Steve Alford, as the Hawkeyes lost a 45-54 contest at Wisconsin on Feb. 23, 2000.

Iowa’s defense has led the way as the Hawkeyes have won 10 of their first 13 games. Iowa opponents are averaging just 55.5 points per game, shooting 33.8% from the field and 30.4% from three-point range. Iowa has collected 97 steals and forced 227 turnovers while collecting 77 blocked shots. The Hawkeyes have held 12 opponents under 70 points and have won the rebounding battle in 11 games. Iowa ranks high nationally in scoring defense, field goal defense and blocked shots.

In its season opening win over Maryland-Eastern Shore, Iowa collected 17 steals while forcing 25 turnovers. The 17 steals are the most by a Steve Alford coached Hawkeye team. Iowa had not had as many as 17 steals in a game since collecting 18 steals in an 84-74 win over Penn State on Jan. 27, 1999, a string of 205 games. Tony Freeman, Adam Haluska, Jeff Horner and Doug Thomas led the way with three steals each, while eight of the 12 Hawkeyes who played collected at least one steal. Iowa added eight steals in the win over Colgate. Iowa’s record for steals in a game is 23. The 25 turnovers are the most by an Iowa opponent since Liberty University was guilty of 24 turnovers on Dec. 22, 2002. Iowa forced 23 turnovers by Texas-San Antonio in a recent 79-46 win and North Carolina State was guilty of 24 turnovers.

Iowa won its own Hawkeye Challenge in early December with victories over Fairfield (75-59) and Valparaiso (72-59). The Hawkeyes have won their own tournament 23 times in the 24-year history of the event. Seniors Greg Brunner and Jeff Horner, along with junior Adam Haluska, were named to the all-tournament team, with Horner earned the Most Valuable Player award.

Iowa made its second appearance in the Guardians Classic and was runner-up for the second time in five seasons. This season the Hawkeyes defeated Maryland-Eastern Shore, Colgate and Kentucky before falling to Texas in the title game. Junior Adam Haluska was named to the all-tournament team in Kansas City, while senior Greg Brunner was named the Outstanding Player in the Iowa City regional portion of the event.

Senior forward Greg Brunner has raised his career rebounding total to 806, moving into seventh place on Iowa’s career list. Brunner also ranks 15th in career scoring (1,226) and is eighth (90) in career blocked shots. Brunner had his seventh double-double of the season (and fifth straight) vs. Robert Morris (15 points, 10 rebounds), giving him 27 in his career, most among active players in the Big Ten Conference. He leads Iowa in both scoring (14.7) and rebounding (10.0).

Senior guard Jeff Horner has become just the fourth Iowa player ever to total over 500 assists. Horner ranks fourth in career assists with 501, he ranks 16th in career scoring (1,203) and he has 473 rebounds. In career numbers, Horner also ranks third in three-point field goals (207) and second in three-point attempts (563). Horner needs just four steals to move into Iowa’s top 10 in that category.

Iowa’s players have been sharing the honors this season. Senior forward Greg Brunner was named the Most Outstanding Player as Iowa opened the season with two wins in the regional rounds of the Guardians Classic. At the Classic finals, where the Hawkeyes defeated Kentucky before losing to Texas in the championship game, junior guard Adam Haluska was named to the all-Tournament team after scoring 23 points vs. the Longhorns. Senior guard Jeff Horner was named MVP of Iowa’s Hawkeye Challenge, while Brunner and Haluska were named to the all-tournament team as well. Horner recorded a scoring and assist (12-10) double-double vs. Fairfield and added 19 points against Valparaiso. Brunner had 23 points and 11 rebounds vs. Fairfield and nine points and 13 rebounds vs. Valparaiso. Haluska, in the two games, totaled 25 points and 11 rebounds.

Senior Erek Hansen played a key roll as Iowa defeated Fairfield and Valparaiso to win the Hawkeye Challenge in early December. In the win over Fairfield, Hansen matched his career-high with seven blocked shots and added eight points and six rebounds. He added six points, five rebounds and three blocks in the win over Valpo. Hansen matched his career scoring high with 14 points at Iowa State and he added seven rebounds and four blocked shots. He has collected three blocked shots or more in eight straight games. Through 13 games, Hansen is averaging 6.2 points and 4.2 rebounds and he leads the Big Ten with 3.2 blocked shots per game.

Junior guard Mike Henderson played a key role in Iowa’s win over Valparaiso in the title game of the Hawkeye Challenge, as he has improved his numbers in several categories from a year ago. Henderson matched his season scoring high with 15 points, hitting 5-6 field goals and 4-5 free throws, against Valpo. Henderson also had six rebounds and five assists. He added 10 points vs. Arizona State and had 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists vs. Drake. Henderson is averaging eight points and 4.6 rebounds per outing, improving his shooting to 43.8% from the field and 80.4% from the free throw line. Henderson has scored in double figures in five games this year after scoring 10 or more points just three times in his first two seasons.

Junior guard Adam Haluska has started all 77 games he has played in his career, Haluska’s consecutive starts streak ranks fifth longest among all Division I players, according to STATS — Chicago. Haluska trails Gerry McNamara (Syracuse), Joe Herber (West Virginia), Patrick Sparks (Kentucky) and Donald Wilson (Portland). Haluska is off to a solid start, averaging 13.9 points and five rebounds per game. He has scored in double figures in 11 games and he had a career-high six assists in a win over Drake. Haluska hit two crucial three-point baskets in the final 96 seconds against Drake and he added 18 points and nine rebounds in a win over Robert Morris, raising his career scoring total to 932 points. He has led Iowa in steals in six games.

Senior forward Greg Brunner and senior guard Jeff Horner are two of 50 players named as pre-season candidates for the Naismith Trophy, presented annually to the Player of the Year. Brunner was named the Most Valuable Player in the Iowa City regional of the Guardians Classic. Brunner is averaging 14.7 points and 10 rebounds per game, shooting 46.5% from the field and 69% from the foul line. He has recorded seven double-doubles in 13 games. He ranks seventh in career rebounds (806), eighth in blocked shots (90) and 15th in career scoring (1,226). Horner had a season-high 19 points vs. Valparaiso and 10 assists in a win over Fairfield. He is averaging 12 points, 3.7 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game. Horner ranks 16th in career scoring and fourth in career assists. Brunner has played in all 106 games in his career, with 94 starts. Horner played in 102 consecutive games (with 101 starts) before missing Iowa’s most recent four games due to injury.

Seniors Greg Brunner and Jeff Horner joined Iowa’s 1,000 Point Club as juniors a year ago and now rank 15th and 16th, respectively, in career scoring. Brunner has scored 1,226 career points and ranks seventh (806) in career rebounds. Brunner has ranked second in Big Ten rebounding in each of the past two seasons. He was named second team all-Big Ten last season and earned a gold medal at the World University Games last summer. He also ranks eighth in career blocked shots (90). Horner has scored 1,203 points and is the only Iowa player ever to score over 1,000 points, grab over 400 rebounds (473) and distribute over 400 assists (501). Horner was honorable mention all-Big Ten a year ago.

Iowa Coach Steve Alford has led five of his Hawkeye teams to key wins over ranked opponents in November. Those victories have included:

  • Iowa defeated top-ranked Connecticut 70-68 in the semi-finals of the 1999 Coaches vs. Cancer event in New York’s Madison Square Garden in Alford’s first game as the Hawkeye head coach. The Huskies were the defending NCAA national champions. The Hawkeyes fell to Stanford in the title game.
  • Iowa defeated 12th-ranked Memphis 75-71 in the semi-finals of the 2001 Guardians Classic at Kansas City’s Kemper Arena. After losing to fifth-ranked Missouri (77-78) in the finals, the Hawkeyes later that season defeated the Tigers (ranked second at the time) 83-65 in Columbia.
  • Iowa defeated 16th-ranked Louisville 70-69 in overtime in the 2003 Wooden Classic in Indianapolis.
  • Iowa defeated 11th-ranked Louisville (76-71) and 13th-ranked Texas (82-80) on back-to-back days at the Maui Invitational a year ago. The Hawkeyes fell to North Carolina, the eventual NCAA champion, in the finals.
  • After two opening round wins in Iowa City, Iowa defeated seventh-ranked Kentucky 67-63 in the semi-finals of the 2005 Guardians Classic in Kansa City. The Hawkeyes fell to second-ranked Texas in the finals.
  • As part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Iowa defeated 21st-ranked North Carolina State 45-42 Nov. 30, 2005 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, giving the Hawkeyes their second win over a ranked opponent in the first six games of the season.

Steve Alford has posted a 20-31 record against ranked opponents as Iowa’s head coach, including a 2-1 mark in 2005-06. The Hawkeyes defeated seventh-ranked Kentucky (67-63) and 21st-ranked North Carolina State (45-42), while dropping a 68-59 decision to second-ranked Texas. Iowa, a year ago, defeated 11th-ranked Louisville (76-71), 13th-ranked Texas (82-80) and 10th-ranked Michigan State (71-69), with losses to 11th-ranked North Carolina (92-106), at No. 1 ranked Illinois (68-73) in overtime, to 10th-ranked Michigan State (64-75) at home, at #20 Wisconsin (72-69), 75-65 to top-ranked Illinois in Iowa City, 59-56 to #22 Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament and 64-76 to #23 Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament. Alford’s Hawkeye teams are 7-13 when playing teams ranked in the top 10, including wins over top-ranked Connecticut (70-68 in 1999-00), second-ranked Missouri (83-65 in 2001-02), fifth-ranked Ohio State (67-64 in 1999-00), seventh-ranked Kentucky (67-63 in 2005-06), seventh-ranked Illinois (78-62 in 2000-01), eighth-ranked Illinois (68-61 in 2002-03) and 10th-ranked Michigan State (71-69 in 2005). The 13 losses to top 10 teams have been three times to No. 1 (Duke, 2001-02 and Illinois twice in 2004-05), once to second-ranked (Texas, 2005-06), once to third-ranked (Illinois, 2000-01), twice to fourth-ranked (Michigan State, 1999-00 and 2000-01), twice to fifth-ranked (Tennessee, 2000-01 and Missouri, 2001-02), once to ninth-ranked (Kentucky, 2000-01) and three times to 10th-ranked (Michigan State, 2000, Illinois, 2002 and Michigan State, 2005). In the 51 games against ranked teams, Alford and his Iowa team are 7-9 in home games, 10-11 at neutral sites and 3-11 when playing ranked teams in their home arena.

Iowa has outscored its opponents 437-316 in the first half and 435-395 in the second half. Iowa has led at halftime in 12 games and the Hawkeyes have outscored their opponent in the second half in nine games. The second half scoring was even (20-20) vs. NC State and Iowa was outscored 11-7 in its one overtime period.

In its nine home games, Iowa has outscored its opponents by a 70-50.2 margin, shooting 44.3% from the field while holding its opponent to 33.8% shooting. Iowa holds a 41.7-34.8 rebounding advantage. In four games away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena (two neutral site games), Iowa has been outscored 62.2-67.5. The Hawkeyes are shooting 37.2% from the field while opponents are shooting 40.3% and Iowa is being out-rebounded by a 39.0-39.5 margin.

Iowa is seeking a sixth straight winning season, a streak that would rank as the second longest in the history of Iowa basketball. Iowa enjoyed seven straight winning seasons from 1950-56. Iowa has had five consecutive winning seasons on four occasions, 1979-83, 1985-89, 1995-99 and 2001-05. Iowa is one of four Big Ten teams to post a winning season in each of the last five years, joining Illinois, Michigan State and Wisconsin. Iowa advanced to post-season play for the fifth straight season a year ago, returning to the NCAA Tournament.

Iowa’s longest streak of consecutive winning seasons is seven, from 1950 through 1956. Pops Harrison, Bucky O’Connor and Rollie Williams all coached the Hawkeyes during those years. Only a 10-10 record in 1949 kept Iowa from 13 consecutive winning seasons (1944-56). Harrison coached Iowa to five straight winning seasons from 1944-48, Lute Olson coached Iowa to winning seasons from 1979-83, George Raveling and Tom Davis combined to coach Iowa to winning seasons from 1985-89 and Davis coached Iowa to winning seasons from 1995-99.

Six teams on Iowa’s 2005-06 schedule were in the initial national rankings, including both opponents who reached the semi-finals of the Guardians Classic. Texas was ranked second by the AP and third by the coaches, Michigan State fourth by the AP and fifth by the coaches, Kentucky ninth and10th, Illinois 17th in both, Indiana 23rd and 22nd and Iowa State 25th and 23rd. Additionally, five Hawkeye opponents were listed among teams receiving votes, including North Carolina State (ranked 21st at the time of Iowa’s win on 11/30/05), Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Northern Iowa. The Hawkeyes will play 10 games against the six rated opponents and a total of 16 games against opponents who were either ranked or receiving votes in the pre-season rankings.

Iowa’s captains are seniors Greg Brunner and Jeff Horner. Brunner, a native of Charles City, has started 94-106 games in his career and ranks among Iowa’s career leaders in scoring, rebounds and blocked shots. He earned second team all-Big Ten honors in 2005 and placed second in the league in rebounding in each of the past two seasons. Horner, a Mason City native, has started 101 of 102 games in his career, but he has missed Iowa’s last four games due to an injury. He has led the team in assists in each of the last three seasons and ranks among Iowa’s career leaders in scoring, assists and three-point field goals. Horner is expected to return to action at Saint Louis.

Iowa has faired well while taking part in regular-season tournaments over the past 24 years. In that time Iowa has won the Great Alaska Shootout (1986-87), the Cal-Irvine Anteater Classic (1986-87), the Maui Classic (1987-88), the San Juan Thanksgiving Shootout (1992-93), the San Juan Christmas Shootout (1997-98), the Big Ten Conference Tournament in 2001 and its own invitational 23 times. In addition, Iowa was runner-up in the 1985-86 Far West Classic, the 1987-88 All-College Tournament, the 1988-89 Chaminade Classic, the 1991-92 Tampa Tribune Holiday Invitational, the 1994-95 Rainbow Classic, the 1995-96 Great Alaska Shootout, the 1999-00 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, the 2001-02 Guardians Classic, the 2002 Big Ten Conference Tournament, the 2004 Maui Invitational and the 2005 Guardians Classic.

Iowa made its 21st appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2005, falling to Cincinnati in the opening round at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. Iowa earned the bid after posting a 21-win season, including wins over Purdue and 10th-ranked Michigan State in the 2005 Big Ten Tournament. The Hawkeyes hold an overall record of 27-23 in the tournament, advancing to the Final Four in 1955 (fourth), 1956 (second) and 1980 (fourth). Iowa had advanced to at least the second round in its last 10 tournament appearances before last season. Iowa reached the regional championship in 1987 and lost in the regional semi-final in 1988 and 1999.

Every Iowa game throughout the 2005-06 season will be televised. Iowa will appear on national cable television (ESPN and ESPN2) as many as 11 times. Hawkeye games not selected for national coverage will be televised regionally by ESPN Plus, while several conference games will be televised throughout the Big Ten Conference viewing area as part of the Big Ten regional network agreement with ESPN Plus.

Is there a hero among you, your friends, your family? Coach Steve Alford and the Iowa Hawkeyes are looking for heroes, people who have gone above and beyond to help others. “There are wonderful things being done each day in every community across the state of Iowa by outstanding people,” said Hawkeye Coach Steve Alford. “Our basketball staff feels the “Heroes Among Us” program is an easy way to salute the friends and neighbors of ours who are making a different in the lives of their friends and neighbors.”

Nomination forms for the “Heroes Among Us” program are available online at, the official web site of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Fans can print their nomination form by visiting the men’s basketball home page and clicking on the “Heroes Among Us” line under the “Features” heading.

The UI will select one here to be saluted at each Hawkeye home game throughout the remainder of the season. The hero, and the individual who nominated them, will be provided pairs of tickets to the game and a $10 gift certificate to the Official Iowa Hawk Shop. The hero will also be recognized when they are in attendance.

Fans of the University of Iowa basketball program may join Iowa Coach Steve Alford and radio announcer Gary Dolphin each week during the season for the “Hawk Talk with Steve Alford” radio call-in show. The show takes place each week at Carlos O’Kelly’s Mexican Café in Iowa City from 7-8:30 p.m. and the dates are: Jan. 10, 16, 23 and 30; Feb. 6, 12, 20 and 27; and March 6, 13 and 20.

Iowa opens Big Ten action Jan. 5 at Wisconsin (7:05 p.m.) and hosts defending Big Ten champion Illinois on Saturday, Jan. 7 (1:05 p.m.).