MBB Game Notes: at Penn State

OPPONENT Iowa (8-5, 0-2) at Penn State (10-3, 1-1) 
LOCATION University Park, Pa. (Bryce Jordan Center)
DATE Sunday, Jan. 1
TIP-OFF 4:31 p.m. (CT)
RADIO Hawkeye Sports Network

The Setting

Iowa (8-5, 0-2) will play its second consecutive road game on Sunday, traveling to Pennsylvania to take on Penn State (10-3, 1-1). Tipoff is scheduled for 4:31 p.m. (CT) at the Bryce Jordan Center.


Radio: Iowa games are broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network. Gary Dolphin will handle the play-by-play, along with color commentator Bob Hansen. The network includes more than 40 stations that blanket the state of Iowa and include portions of Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. The Hawkeye Radio Network coverage includes a 60-minute pregame show.


TV: Sunday’s contest will be televised nationally on Big Ten Network. Wayne Randazzo and Shon Morris will call the action.



  • Sunday will be the only regular season meeting between Iowa and Penn State.
  • The Hawkeyes have played on New Year’s Day 10 previous times, most recently in 2017, versus Michigan in Iowa City. Prior to 2017, Iowa’s last New Year’s Day appearance was in 1946 versus Saint Louis. The last time the Hawkeyes played a road game on New Year’s Day was at Toledo in 1940.
  • Four of the last six Iowa-Penn State games have been decided by seven points or less.
  • The nation’s two top teams in assist-to-turnover ratio meet on Sunday in University Park. Penn State ranks first (1.82), followed by the Hawkeyes (1.66).
  • Iowa is 5-0 this season when making nine or more 3-pointers in a game.
  • Iowa has made 63 more free throws (211) than their opponents have attempted (148).
  • Filip Rebraca averages team bests in nearly every major statistical category: points (20.4), rebounds (9.8), assists (3.2), and blocked shots (1.2) over the last five games. He is shooting a staggering 70 percent (42-of-60) from the field during that span.
  • Filip Rebraca is one of six players nationally this season to average 14+ points, 8+ rebounds, 1+ blocks, while shooting 60 percent or better from the field.
  • Iowa is second in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.66), 11th in fewest turnovers per game (10.2), 18th in fewest fouls per game (13.8), and 25th in assists per game (16.8).
  • Connor McCaffery has only missed one free throw this season (23-of-24). He has made 19 consecutive free throws dating back to the second half of the Georgia Tech game. McCaffery has posted double-doubles in two of Iowa’s last five contests. He has played in 146 career games as a Hawkeye, second most behind Jordan Bohannon (179).
  • Fran McCaffery won his 500th game as a collegiate head coach on Dec. 8 and win No. 250 at Iowa on Dec. 17.
  • Through 13 games, Connor and Patrick McCaffery combine averaging 20.7 points, nine rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 2.1 steals.
  • Seven of Iowa’s eight victories this season have come by 16 points or more.
  • Iowa was without starter Kris Murray for four games in December. Starter Ahron Ulis did not play against Wisconsin (Dec. 11), while Connor McCaffery missed the contest against Eastern Illinois (Dec. 21).
  • Iowa ranks second in the Big Ten and 31st nationally in scoring offense (81.2). The Hawkeyes have led the league in scoring five of the last nine seasons, including the last four.
  • Kris Murray was named the ESPN Men’s Basketball National Player of the Week and Big Ten Co-Player of the Week on Dec. 5. He amassed 31 points, 20 rebounds, four assists, four 3-pointers, and two blocks in Iowa’s win over Georgia Tech. He is the first Hawkeye to amass 30 points and 20 rebounds in the same game since Bruce King in 1977. Murray is also the only NBA, WNBA, or Division I men’s or women’s player in the last 20 years to total 30+ points, 20+ rebounds, 4+ assists, 4+ 3-pointers, and 2+ blocks in the same game.


  • Penn State (61 NET Ranking) enters the New Year’s Day contest 10-3 overall, including 7-1 at home, and 1-1 in conference play. The Nittany Lions’ Big Ten loss came to Michigan State at home (67-58), while their win was on the road at then-No. 17 Illinois (74-59).
  • Penn State won its last outing, 60-46, over Delaware State on Thursday in its nonconference finale. Seth Lundy registered a double-double to lead the Nittany Lions (15 points, 10 rebounds).
  • The Nittany Lions lead the conference and nation in both turnovers per game (8.6) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.87). They also lead the league in four other categories: free throw percentage (.769), 3-point attempts per game (28.5), 3-point percentage (.398), and 3-pointers per contest (11.3).
  • Senior guard Jalen Pickett has tallied one triple-double this season. He leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.65), assists per game (7.8), and field goal attempts (175). Senior guard Andrew Funk leads the Big Ten in 3-point attempts (83), 3-pointers made per game (2.92), and total 3-point field goals made (35).
  • The squad is shooting at 46 percent from the field, 38.4 percent in the 3-point range, and 76.9 percent from the free-throw line.
  • Micah Shrewsberry is in his second season as head coach at Penn State. Shrewsberry previously served as an assistant coach (2011-13) and associate coach (2019-21) at Purdue. He was also an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics for six seasons (2013-19).


Iowa holds a 33-19 advantage in the series versus Penn State. The Hawkeyes have won 13 of the last 21 overall meetings. Each team won on its home floor in the two meetings in 2022.

Penn State holds a slim 13-10 edge in games played at University Park. The Nittany Lions edged the Hawkeyes, 90-86, in double overtime last year. Iowa’s last victory in the Bryce Jordan Center was on Jan. 16, 2019 (89-82).

Iowa was the first visiting team to win (67-59) in the Bryce Jordan Center (Jan. 4, 1997).


A game that saw 15 ties and 15 lead changes, Penn State prevailed over Iowa, 90-86, in double overtime on Jan. 31, 2022, at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pennsylvania.

  • Keegan Murray, who scored all of his game-high 21 points in the second half and overtime, tipped in a Jordan Bohannon missed 3-point attempt at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime.
  • Last year’s game at Penn State was the fourth overtime contest in the Iowa-PSU series.
  • Connor (4) and Patrick McCaffery (3) combined to make seven of Iowa’s 11 3-pointers.
  • Connor McCaffery scored all 12 of his points in the first half, sinking 4-of-6 from loing distance in the first 20 minutes. He left the game with four minutes remaining in regulation (upper body injury). Patrick McCaffery tied season bests in scoring (16) and rebounding (7).
  • Ahron Ulis tied a career high with seven made free throws, sinking all seven in the two overtime periods. Ulis also snagged a personal-best five rebounds.
  • Both Iowa (21-of-28) and Penn State (18-of-24) shot 75 percent from the foul line.
  • John Harrar paced the Nittany Lions with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Seth Lundy contributed 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Greg Lee had 16 points and eight rebounds off the bench.


All five Nebraska starters scored in double figures in a 66-50 victory over Iowa on Thursday at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.

  • Nebraska snapped a four-game losing streak to Iowa with the win.
  • Forward Kris Murray returned to action after missing the last four games (lower body injury). Guard Connor McCaffery also returned to action after missing Iowa’s last game (wrist sprain).
  • Senior Filip Rebraca posted is fourth double-double of the season, scoring 16 points and grabbing a game and season-best 13 rebounds.
  • Junior Kris Murray registered game bests in points (17) and blocks (3), while also clearing eight rebounds in 36 minutes of action.
  • Iowa was held to season lows in points (50), field goal percentage (.260), free throws made (5) and free throws attempted (8).
  • Iowa missed 25 of its first 28 field-goal attempts; Nebraska went on a 20-0 run spanning 8+ minutes in the first half.
  • Nebraska made six of its nine 3-point attempts (.667) in the first half and finished the game 8-of-22 (.364) from long distance.
  • The Huskers were led by Juwan Gary (14 points, 9 rebounds) and Sam Griesel (12 points, 10 rebounds).


Fifth-year senior Filip Rebraca has taken his game to another level this season. Rebraca ranks first on the squad in blocks (19) and field goal percentage (.607), and second in rebounds (8.7) and points per game (14.2). He is pulling down 3.38 offensive boards per outing, third best in the Big Ten and 31st nationally. His field goal percentage (.607) ranks 28th in the country.

Rebraca netted career point No. 1,500 against Eastern Illinois (Dec. 21). He has scored 392 points the last two seasons as a Hawkeye (49 games) and 1,129 points in three seasons at North Dakota.

The under-sized center (6-foot-9) has netted double figures 10 times this year and posted four double-doubles, tying for second most in the league. He has rejected multiple shots in five games this season and his 1.5 blocks per game ranks fifth in the conference.

Rebraca earned Big Ten Player of the Week accolades after his career night against Southeast Missouri State (Dec. 17). The fifth-year senior posted career bests in points (30) and assists (6), while also snagging a game-best nine rebounds. He only missed one field goal attempt (12-of-13).

Rebraca had another stellar outing versus Eastern Illinois. He tallied a game-best 24 points, collected a career-high five steals, and snagged eight rebounds. In Iowa’s last outing at Nebraska, he totaled 16 points and grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.


Connor McCaffery is Iowa’s career leader in assist-to-turnover ratio, amassing a 3.43 ratio in 146 career games (439 assists; 128 turnovers), nearly 1.0 above second-place Andre Banks (2.53). His assist-to-turnover ratio last year was 5.0, while he ranked fourth nationally in 2021 with a 3.73 ratio. In 202, he led the country with a 4.6 ratio.


Junior Kris Murray has been named to the Big Ten Preseason All-Big Ten Team, the Wooden Award Top 50, and the Karl Malone Award.

It marks the fourth straight season that one or more Hawkeyes have been selected to the preseason all-conference squad, voted upon by a selected panel of media. Joe Wieskamp was selected in 2019 and 2020, Luka Garza was tabbed the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year in 2020, while Kris’ twin brother Keegan was recognized in 2021. Keegan was also the recipient of the 2022 Karl Malone Award.

Murray is averaging a team-best 19.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per outing. Murray has increased his scoring average by 10.4 points per game this season compared to last year. Murray did not play in four contests in December (Iowa State; Wisconsin; Southeast Missouri State; Eastern Illinois) due to a lower body injury.

Murray returned to the lineup Thursday night at Nebraska, registering game bests in points (17) and blocks (3), while also clearing eight rebounds in 36 minutes of action.

He was Iowa’s leading scorer (9.7) and rebounder (4.3) off the bench last season. He improved his scoring average by 9.1 points and rebounding average by 3.7 per outing. The native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was second on the team in 3-point percentage (.397), blocks per game (0.9) and field goals made (124), third in offensive (1.6) and defensive (2.7) rebounds per contest, and fourth in steals (0.8) per game. Murray made at least one 3-pointer in a team-best 17 consecutive games (Jan. 22-March 13). His 31 blocks and 43 triples rank seventh and eighth, respectively, by a Hawkeye sophomore.


  • The Hawkeyes will play back-to-back conference road games four times.
  • Iowa has seven weekend home contests (three on Saturdays and four on Sundays), including six against Big Ten opponents. The Hawkeyes have home games inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on a Saturday or Sunday four of the final six weekends of the regular season.
  • The Hawkeyes have a stretch of four of five league home games in early January. Iowa will host Indiana (Jan. 5), Michigan (Jan. 12), Maryland (Jan. 15) and Northwestern (Jan. 18).
  • Iowa has three trips to the Tri-State Area, traveling to New Jersey twice (Nov. 16 at Seton Hall and Jan. 8 at Rutgers) and New York once (Dec. 6 versus Duke at Madison Square Garden).
  • Iowa will play on Super Bowl Sunday for the fourth straight season and sixth time in eight years, playing its only regular season game against Minnesota in Minneapolis on Feb. 12.
  • Five of Iowa’s final eight league games will be on the road.


Iowa welcomes four new faces to the 2022-23 roster: Dasonte Bowen, Josh Dix, Dante Eldridge, and Amarion Nimmers.

Bowen and Dix are true freshman, hailing from Boston and Council Bluffs, respectively. Eldridge and Nimmers are non-scholarship student-athletes. Eldridge, a junior, is the son of assistant coach Courtney Eldridge. Nimmers is redshirting this season.


Connor McCaffery decided to utilize his COVID bonus year and return for his sixth season with the Hawkeyes.

McCaffery is averaging 7.3 points and four rebounds per game, and has made 14-of-39 (.359) from 3-point range this season. He posted 14 points, bolstered by shooting a perfect 8-of-8 from the foul line, in his first start of the season on Dec. 8 against the Cyclones. He registered his first career double-double versus Georgia Tech (10 points; 10 rebounds) and notched his second double-double versus Wisconsin (17 points, 10 rebounds). He did not play in Iowa’s nonconference finale on Dec. 21 (Eastern Illinois) due to a wrist sprain.

McCaffery has only missed one free throw this season (23-of-24). He has made 19 consecutive free throws dating back to the second half of the Georgia Tech game.


  • With Iowa’s Big Ten Tournament win last March, McCaffery joined Hall of Fame coaches Rick Pitino, Bob Huggins, Eddie Sutton and Lefty Driesell as the only Division I coaches to lead teams to conference tournament titles in four or more different leagues.
  • Fran McCaffery has guided Iowa to 20 wins or more in eight of the last 10 seasons. He has led Iowa to Big Ten upper division finishes nine of the last 10 years. Iowa, Michigan State, and Wisconsin have each recorded a Big Ten-best nine first division finishes since 2013.
  • Fran McCaffery has coached a first-team All-Big Ten honoree seven of the last nine seasons. He has guided Iowa to 20+ wins seven of the last nine seasons and fifth place or better finishes in the Big Ten six of the last eight years.


Fran McCaffery has a couple changes to his staff following last season. Assistant Coach Kirk Speraw retired and Assistant Coach Billy Taylor left for a head coaching position at Elon. Replacing Speraw and Taylor are Courtney Eldridge and Matt Gatens. Eldridge was on staff the previous six seasons, most recently as director of player development and recruiting director. Gatens is a former Hawkeye and most recently was an assistant coach at Drake.

Tristan Spurlock, who played basketball at UCF, is the new Director of Player Development. Al Seibert’s title changed to Chief of Staff, while Kyle Denning is now the team’s Director of Operations.


Patrick McCaffery netted double figures in scoring 11 of the last 18 games played last season.

McCaffery has carried that momentum over to his junior season, netting double figures a team-best 10 times. McCaffery scored 21 points in back-to-back games a month ago versus North Carolina A&T and Clemson. He poured in a personal-best 24 points — eight in overtime — against the Badgers. He then tallied 20 points and grabbed a career-best eight rebounds against Southeast Missouri State.

McCaffery’s free throw percentage of 80 percent ranks fourth best in the conference, while his scoring average of 13.4 ranks 21st in the Big Ten.


A number of recent Iowa basketball graduates are playing professionally: Keegan Murray (NBA Sacramento Kings), Luka Garza (G League Iowa Wolves), Jordan Bohannon (G League Iowa Wolves), Joe Wieskamp (G League Wisconsin Herd), Jarrod Uthoff (Japan), Devyn Marble (Poland), Tyler Cook (G League Salt Lake City Stars), Anthony Clemmons (Turkey), Gabriel Olaseni (Turkey), Ryan Kriener (Matsuyama), Melsahn Basabe (Nicaragua), and Aaron White (Serbia).