|OPPONENT||Iowa (9-6, 1-3) at Rutgers (11-4, 3-1)|
|LOCATION||Piscataway, New Jersey (Jersey Mike’s Arena)|
|DATE||Sunday, Jan. 8|
|TIP-OFF||11:01 a.m. (CT)|
|RADIO||Hawkeye Sports Network|
Iowa (9-6, 1-3) travels back east challenging Rutgers (11-4, 3-1). Tipoff is scheduled for 11:01 a.m. (CT) on Sunday at Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway, New Jersey.
ON THE AIR
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 matinee will be televised nationally on Big Ten Network. Wayne Randazzo and Robbie Hummel will call the action.
GAME #16 STORYLINES
- The last three meetings between the two teams in Piscataway have each been decided by two points: 2019 (Iowa, 71-69); 2021 (Iowa, 77-75); 2022 (Rutgers, 48-46).
- Sunday is Iowa’s third trip 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 vs. Duke at Madison Square Garden).
- The last two Big Ten games featuring opposing 30-point scorers: Indiana at Iowa (Thursday) and Indiana vs. Iowa (2022 Big Ten Tournament Semifinal). Trayce Jackson-Davis netted 30 points Thursday and 31 in the 2022 game. Kris Murray scored 30 points Thursday, while his twin brother, Keegan, had 32 in the 2022 contest. The Hawkeyes won both contests.
- Kris Murray has scored 30+ points four times this season (30 vs. Indiana; 32 at Penn State; 31 vs. Georgia Tech; 30 vs. Omaha). Murray is one of only two players nationally with four 30-point performances (Jordan Walker, UAB). He is one of four Hawkeyes to score 30+ at least four times in the Fran McCaffery era joining Luka Garza (13), Keegan Murray (5), Peter Jok (5).
- Iowa snapped a three-game losing streak with its win versus Indiana on Thursday avoiding the team’s first four-game losing streak since dropping its last four contests of the 2018-19 regular season.
- Filip Rebraca averages team bests in points (19.1), rebounds (9.1), and blocked shots (1.1), and second in assists (2.7) and steals (1.0) over the last seven games played. He is shooting a staggering 68 percent (54-of-80) from the field during that span.
- Iowa has made 59 more free throws (249) than their opponents have attempted (190).
- Iowa’s Filip Rebraca is one of eight players nationally to average 14+ points, 8+ rebounds, 1+ blocks, while shooting 60 percent or better from the field.
- The Hawkeyes are 5-0 this season when making nine or more 3-pointers in a game.
- Iowa is third in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.68), ninth in fewest turnovers per game (10.1), 23rd in assists per game (16.9), and 26th in fewest fouls per game (14.1).
- Connor McCaffery has only missed two free throws this season (29-of-31). He had his consecutive free throws made streak of 19 end last Sunday at Penn State.
- Fran McCaffery won his 500th game as a collegiate head coach on Dec. 8 and win No. 250 at Iowa on Dec. 17.
- Seven of Iowa’s nine victories this season have come by 16 points or more.
- Iowa ranks second in the Big Ten and 23rd nationally in scoring offense (81.7). 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.
- Rutgers (14 NET Ranking) enters Sunday’s game 11-4 overall, and 3-1 in conference play. The Scarlet Knights are coming off back-to-back Big Ten wins, knocking off top-ranked Purdue on the road (65-64) and most recently beating Maryland (81-65) at home on Thursday.
- Rutgers’ other Big Ten contests came against then-No. 8 Indiana at home on Dec. 3 (63-48) and a narrow road defeat against then-No. 23 Ohio State on Dec. 8 (67-66).
- The Scarlet Knights have had four games decided by two possessions or less, including three contests decided by just one point: winning at Purdue (65-64), and losses at Ohio State (67-66) and at home to Seton Hall (45-43).
- Rutgers is 10-1 at home this season, selling out eight of its 11 home games (8,000 capacity).
- The Scarlet Knights lead the conference in six categories: scoring defense (fourth nationally, 54.7), scoring margin (11th nationally, 17.1), steals per game (12th nationally, 10.2), 3-point percentage defense (3rd nationally, 25.7), turnover margin (12th nationally, 4.9), and turnovers forced per game (17.2).
- Junior center Clifford Omoruyi leads the squad on multiple fronts, amassing a team high of 211 points and averaging 14.1 per game this season. He shoots 50.6 percent from the field and has a team-high 150 rebounds. Omoruyi is third in the conference in blocks (27) and blocks per game (1.8). He is second in double-doubles (5) and rebounds (150).
- Senior guard Cam Spencer, a transfer from Loyola University-Maryland, leads the Big Ten in steals (39) and steals per contest (2.60). Spencer leads the squad in 3-pointers, with 31 made, shooting at 44 percent clip from long distance.
- Rutgers is shooting at 44.3 percent from the field, 31.6 percent in the 3-point range, and 73.5 percent from the free-throw line.
- Steve Pikiell is in his seventh season as head coach of the Scarlet Knights. Pikiell led the squad to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in 2021 and 2022.
ALL-TIME SERIES RESULTS
The Hawkeyes are 10-3 against the Scarlet Knights, including a 4-2 record in games played in New Jersey. The last three meetings between the two teams in Piscataway have each been decided by two points: 2019 (Iowa, 71-69); 2021 (Iowa, 77-75); 2022 (Rutgers, 48-46).
Iowa has won four of the last five overall meetings with Rutgers, dating back to 2020.
The two teams split two meetings last season. Rutgers won in Piscataway (48-46) on Jan. 19, 2022, while Iowa won in the Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinals in Indianapolis (84-74) on March 11, 2022.
LAST MEETING AGAINST RUTGERS
Iowa advanced to the 2022 Big Ten Tournament semifinals after an 84-74 triumph over Rutgers on March 11 in Indianapolis.
- Jordan Bohannon tallied 16 points, bolstered by making a team-best three 3-pointers, to increase his career total to 2,008. Tony Perkins netted 16 points.
- All-American Keegan Murray became the school’s single-season scoring leader, surpassing Luka Garza’s benchmark of 747 established in 2021. Murray posted game bests in scoring (26) and rebounding (8).
- Iowa made its first 22 free throw attempts, finishing the contest sinking 25-of-27 (.926). The 92.6 free-throw percentage is a new school Big Ten Tournament record.
- Iowa outscored the Scarlet Knights 20-4 (+16) in fastbreak points.
- Rutgers was led by Geo Baker (23 points); Paul Mulcahy (13 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds), and Cliff Omoruyi (17 points, 7 rebounds).
IOWA RALLIES TO UPEND HOOSIERS
Iowa erased a 21-point first-half deficit and snapped a three-game losing streak with a 91-89 win over No. 15 Indiana Thursday evening at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.
- Iowa posted its third-largest comeback in school history (23-point comeback versus Gardner-Webb on Nov. 17, 2012; 22-point comeback at Illinois on Jan. 14, 1987).
- The Hawkeyes improved to 2-0 against ranked opponents at home (No. 20 Iowa State).
- Iowa extended its win streak to three over the Hoosiers, dating back to last season. The Hawkeyes has won 11 of the last 16 meetings against Indiana in Iowa City.
- Junior Kris Murray, who this week was named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25, netted a team-best 30 points and cleared 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Murray played all 40 minutes for the second straight game (Penn State). He has scored 30+ points four times this season, including back-to-back games, and has reached 20 points in six of 11 games played this season.
- Senior Filip Rebraca tallied 19 points, scoring 15+ points in four of Iowa’s last five games. He also grabbed 10 rebounds to register his fifth double-double of the season and 24th of his career.
- After trailing by as many as 21 points in the first half (28-7), Iowa took its first lead with 11:35 remaining in the second half.
- Thursday was the 40th anniversary of the first Iowa men’s basketball game played inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena (Jan. 5, 1983).
- Juniors Patrick McCaffery and Josh Ogundele did not play in Thursday’s game for Iowa.
Fifth-year senior Filip Rebraca has taken his game to another level this season. Rebraca is one of nine players nationally on a college men’s basketball roster over the age of 25. He ranks first on the squad in blocks (21) and field goal percentage (.606), and second in rebounds (8.5) and points per game (14.4). He is pulling down 3.2 offensive boards per outing, second best in the Big Ten and 36th nationally. His field goal percentage (.606) ranks 25th in the country.
Rebraca netted career point No. 1,500 against Eastern Illinois (Dec. 21). He has scored 424 points the last two seasons as a Hawkeye (51 games) and 1,129 points in three seasons at North Dakota.
The under-sized center (6-foot-9) has netted double figures a team-best 12 times this year and posted five double-doubles, tying for second most in the league. He has rejected multiple shots in five games this season and his 1.4 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. He totaled 16 points and grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds at Nebraska, and amassed 19 points and 10 rebounds in Iowa’s triumph over No. 15 Indiana on Thursday night.
LEADER OF THE PACK
Connor McCaffery is Iowa’s career leader in assist-to-turnover ratio, amassing a 3.39 ratio in 148 career games (444 assists; 131 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.
MURRAY NAMED TO WATCH LISTS
Junior Kris Murray has been named to the Big Ten Preseason All-Big Ten Team, the Wooden Award Top 25, 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 21.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per outing. Murray has increased his scoring average by 12.6 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 on Dec. 29 at Nebraska, registering game bests in points (17) and blocks (3), while also clearing eight rebounds. He scored 22 of his game and career-best 32 points in the second half at Penn State last Sunday. Murray reached 30 points for a second straight game, totaling 30 points and 10 rebounds in Iowa’s victory over No. 15 Indiana on Thursday.
He was Iowa’s leading scorer (9.7) and rebounder (4.3) off the bench last season. 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.
Iowa has had a number of players miss games this season due health reasons. Below is the list of players and games missed.
Tony Perkins: Omaha (thigh)
Riley Mulvey: Georgia Tech, Duke (illness)
Kris Murray: Iowa State, Wisconsin, SEMO, Eastern Illinois (lower body)
Ahron Ulis: Wisconsin (hip contusion)
Connor McCaffery: Eastern Illinois (wrist)
Josh Ogundele: Penn State, Indiana (knee)
Patrick McCaffery: Indiana (anxiety)
IOWA SCHEDULE NOTES
- 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 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.
HAWKEYES WELCOME NEWCOMERS
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.
ANOTHER SIXTH-YEAR PLAYER
Connor McCaffery decided to utilize his COVID bonus year and return for his sixth season with the Hawkeyes.
McCaffery is averaging 7.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, and has made 18-of-48 (.375) 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 two free throws this season (29-of-31). He made 19 consecutive free throws from Nov. 29 to Dec. 29, before missing his first and only attempt at Penn State on Jan. 1, 2023.
FRAN MCCAFFERY CONTINUES TO WIN
- 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 TO TAKE MENTAL PAUSE
Redshirt junior Patrick McCaffery announced on Jan. 3, that he will be taking an indefinite leave to address anxiety.
“I have been battling anxiety for a while, and recently it has peaked, which has inhibited my preparation and performance on the court, said Patrick. It’s not fair to myself or teammates to be on the court when I am not myself. The anxiety has affected my sleep, appetite, and stamina, which has resulted in not having the energy level necessary to compete at my full capabilities. My struggle with anxiety affects every aspect of my well-being and makes it incredibly difficult to function normally. This is what I am battling right now. For this reason, I am taking an indefinite leave to address my situation. It might be two games, it may be four games, it may be more, but I will return when I feel like myself. My leave of absence is not related to my past battle with cancer.”
“Patrick is one of the millions of people who battle through anxiety on a daily basis,” Fran McCaffery said. “It has become more noticeable on and off the court over the past couple weeks. Patrick has the full support of his family, coaches, teammates, and administration as he fights through this. All of us admire his courage and willingness to be open about this struggle and we hope others know that they are not alone. We will be with him every step of the way.”
Patrick is averaging 12.8 points and 4.8 rebounds this season. He has netted double figures 10 times. His free throw percentage of 80.7 percent ranks sixth best in the conference.
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).