MBB Game Notes: at Michigan State

OPPONENT Iowa (12-7, 4-5) at Michigan State (13-7, 5-4) 
LOCATION East Lansing, Michigan (Breslin Center)
DATE Thursday, Jan. 26
TIP-OFF 6:01 p.m. (CT)
RADIO Hawkeye Sports Network

The Setting

Iowa (12-6, 4-3) will next travel to East Lansing, Michigan to challenge Michigan State (13-7, 5-4). Tipoff is slated for 6:01 p.m. (CT) at the Breslin 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: Thursday’s contest will be televised nationally on FS1. Gus Johnson and Jim Jackson will call the action.


  • Both coaching staffs on Thursday will be wearing suits & sneakers for Coaches vs. Cancer to help bring awareness to cancer research.
  • Payton Sandfort earned Fall Semester Dean’s List distinction in 2022.
  • Iowa has won three straight games over Michigan State, dating back to the 2021 season.
  • Iowa is tops in the Big Ten and 19th nationally in scoring offense (81.7). The Hawkeyes have led the league in scoring five of the last nine seasons, including the last four.
  • Forward Kris Murray’s 23.4 scoring average in conference play (seven games) is tops in the league. Murray was tabbed midseason third team All-America by Sporting News.
  • Iowa has made 64 more free throws (301) than their opponents have attempted (237).
  • The Northwestern-Iowa game on Jan. 18, was not played due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols within the Northwestern program. That contest has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 8 p.m. in Iowa City. All distributed tickets for the Northwestern-Iowa contest will be valid for the new date and time.
  • 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 nine players nationally with four or more 30-point performances, including one of three from the Big Ten (Purdue’s Edey; Indiana’s Jackson-Davis). 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), and Peter Jok (5).
  • Filip Rebraca has reached double figures in scoring 12 of 13 games, including netting 15+ points in six of Iowa’s last nine. Over the last 10 games, he is averaging 16 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, one blocks, and 0.8 steals, while shooting a robust 59 percent (59-of-100) from the field. Rebraca pulled down career rebound No. 1,000 versus Michigan on Jan. 12.
  • Iowa’s Filip Rebraca is one of 12 players nationally to average 13+ points, 8+ rebounds, 1+ blocks, while shooting 57 percent or better from the field.
  • The Hawkeyes are 7-1 this season when making nine or more 3-pointers in a game.
  • Iowa is fourth in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7), 11th in fewest turnovers per game (10.3), 16th in assists per game (16.9), and 23rd 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 at Penn State on Jan. 1, 2023.
  • Fran McCaffery won his 500th game as a collegiate head coach on Dec. 8 and win No. 250 at Iowa on Dec. 17.
  • 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.


  • Michigan State (41 NET Ranking) enters Thursday’s game 13-7 overall and 5-4 in conference play. The Spartans’ most recent game was an 82-69 loss at Indiana on Sunday.
  • Michigan State is 8-2 at home and 2-3 in games away from East Lansing this season.
  • The Spartans are fourth in the Big Ten in 3-point percentage defense (41st nationally, .374), second defensive rebounds (26th nationally, 27.7), and third in free throw percentage (43rd nationally, .750).
  • Junior guard A.J. Hoggard is second in the conference in assists (7th nationally, 122) and assists per game (8th nationally, 6.3). He leads the team in assists (122) and free throws made (69).
  • Senior guard Tyson Walker is fourth in the Big Ten in field goal attempts (243) and ninth in points (278). Walker leads the squad in field goals made (112) and steals (23). Senior forward Joey Hauser is fifth in the conference in double doubles (6) and sixth in rebounds (147). Hauser leads the squad in 3-point pointers (36) and rebounds (153).
  • Senior forward Malik Hall (9.9 ppg and 4.1 rpg) has missed 11 games this season, including the last three, with a foot injury.
  • The Spartans are shooting at 44.7 percent from the field, 37.4 percent from long distance, and 75 percent from the free-throw line.
  • Tom Izzo is in his 28th season as head coach of the Spartans. Izzo was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. The Spartans 24 straight NCAA Tournament appearances are a Big Ten record. Izzo has guided Michigan State to appear in eight Final Fours since 1999, the most in the nation.


Michigan State holds a 76-58 edge advantage Iowa in the series. The Hawkeyes have an active three-game win streak over the Spartans, its longest streak since the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. Iowa swept Michigan State swept in 2021 — winning in Iowa City (84-78) and East Lansing (88-58) — and topping the Spartans in last season’s only meeting in Iowa City (86-60).

Michigan State has won 14 of the last 20 overall meetings, dating back to 2011.

The Spartans hold a 46-19 edge in games played in East Lansing. Iowa has posted two impressive wins at the Breslin Center since 2016: 76-59 on Jan. 14 2016 and 88-58 on Feb. 13, 2021.


No. 25 Iowa cruised to an 86-60 victory over Michigan State on Feb. 22, 2022 in Iowa City.

  • The Hawkeyes have won three straight in the series over Michigan State for the first time since the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.
  • Iowa has defeated the Spartans by a combined 56 points in its last two victories — 88-58 on Feb. 13, 2021, in East Lansing and 86-60 on Feb. 22, 2022. Iowa has won by 26+ points in the last two meetings.
  • The 26-point victory is the largest margin over the Spartans in Iowa City since 1996 (83-47).
  • Sophomore Keegan Murray finished with a game-high 28 points.
  • The Hawkeyes made 12 3-point field goals, shooting 42.9 percent from long range. Michigan State entered the game with a Big Ten-best 30.2 percent 3-point defense.
  • Sophomore Kris Murray tied a career high with three 3-point field goals.
  • Iowa went on a 10-0 run in the first half and a 12-0 run in the second half.
  • Malik Hall led the Spartans with 17 points and five rebounds off the bench.


Ohio State snapped Iowa’s four-game win streak and beat the Hawkeyes for the first time in Value City Arena since 2019 with a 93-77 win Saturday afternoon in Columbus.

  • All-America candidate Kris Murray led the Hawkeyes with 22 points and seven rebounds, reaching 20+ points a team-best eighth time this season and 10th time in his career.
  • Senior Filip Rebraca totaled 15 points, reaching double figures for the 12th time in 13 games, and 15+ points for the sixth time in nine outings.
  • Junior Ahron Ulis scored 12 points, his second highest point total of the season (15 versus TCU), and equaled a season high with two steals. Ulis has made a 3-pointer in a career-best four straight contests.
  • Iowa made 11 3-pointers (11-of-24), sinking 10 or more triples for the seventh time this season and third time in four outings. lost its first game of the season when making at least nine 3-pointers (7-1).
  • Juniors Patrick McCaffery and Josh Ogundele did not play in Saturday’s game for Iowa.
  • The Buckeyes outscored the Hawkeyes, 50-32, in paint points.
  • Freshman Brice Sensabaugh netted a game-high 27 points, missing only two field goal attempts (10-of-12), including one miss from 3-point range (4-of-5). Isaac Likekelehad posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Iowa and Ohio State will meet again on Feb. 16, in Iowa City.


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 (26) and field goal percentage (.577), and second in rebounds (8.4) and points per game (13.9). He is pulling down 3.05 offensive boards per outing, fourth best in the Big Ten and 45th nationally. His field goal percentage (.577) ranks 40th in the country.

Rebraca netted career point No. 1,500 against Eastern Illinois (Dec. 21). He has scored 472 points the last two seasons as a Hawkeye (55 games) and 1,129 points in three seasons at North Dakota. He grabbed career rebound No. 1,000 in Iowa’s win over Michigan.

The under-sized center (6-foot-9) has netted double figures a team-best 15 times this year and posted a team-best seven double-doubles, tying for second most in the league. Rebraca has scored in double figures in 12 of 13 games and netted 15+ points in six of Iowa’s last nine. He has rejected multiple shots six times this season and his 1.37 blocks per game ranks sixth 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 then-No. 15 Indiana. Rebraca posted double-double No. 7 in the overtime win over Michigan (13 points, 12 rebounds).


Payton Sandfort had a sluggish start to the 2022-23 Big Ten season. The sophomore guard was 0-for-19 from the field, including 0-for-10 from 3-point range, over Iowa’s first three Big Ten games (Wisconsin, Nebraska, Penn State).

Over the last five games, Sandfort is averaging 15.4 points and 5.2 rebounds, shooting 54 percent (26-of-48) from the field and 50 percent (13-of-26) from long distance. He made a career-best four 3-pointers in two games: Rutgers (4-of-5) and Michigan (4-of-9). Sandfort has netted double figures in six of the last nine games, including four in a row. Iowa is 6-2 when Sandfort makes multiple triples in a game.

Sandfort was instrumental in Iowa’s overtime victory over the Wolverines on Jan. 12. He scored Iowa’s final seven points of regulation (63 seconds), including a four-point play with 20 seconds remaining to force overtime. Sandfort tallied 24 of his career-high 26 points in the second half and overtime.

Off the court, Sandfort excels in the classroom earning Fall Semester Dean’s List distinction in 2022.


Junior Kris Murray has been named to the Big Ten Preseason All-Big Ten Team, the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25, Oscar Robertson Midseason Watch List, the Karl Malone Award Watch List, and a midseason third team All-America by Sporting News.

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 8.9 rebounds per outing. Murray has increased his scoring average by 12.6 points per game this season compared to last year. His 21.3 points per contest ranks 13th nationally. 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 on Jan. 1. Murray reached 30 points for a second straight game, totaling 30 points and 10 rebounds in Iowa’s victory over No. 15 Indiana on Jan. 5. He amassed 17 points and seven rebounds in Iowa’s road triumph at Rutgers. Murray played all 45 minutes in Iowa’s overtime triumph over Michigan, amassing 27 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, three assists, and a steal. He netted 17 of his 19 points in the second half in the victory over Maryland and netted a team-best 22 points on Sunday at Ohio State.

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, Rutgers, Michigan, Maryland, Ohio State (knee)
Patrick McCaffery: Indiana, Rutgers, Michigan, Maryland, Ohio State (anxiety)


Iowa posted its third-largest comeback in school history when it rallied to beat No. 15 Indiana (91-89) on Jan. 5, in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes trailed by 21 points (28-7) early in the first half. Iowa caught the Hoosiers and took their first lead with 11:35 remaining in the second half.

Iowa’s two largest comebacks were 23 points against Gardner-Webb on Nov. 17, 2022, and 22 points at Illinois on Jan. 14, 1987.

The Hawkeyes rallied from a 10-point second half deficit, including trailing by seven with under two minutes left in regulation, to upend Michigan in overtime on Jan. 12 in Iowa City.


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 7.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game, and has made 21-of-57 (.368) 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 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 dished out a season-best eight assists (only one turnover) in Iowa’s win at Rutgers last Sunday. He was a +10 in Iowa’s overtime win against Michigan.

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.


  • 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.


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 (NBA Toronto Raptors), 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).