|OPPONENT||Rutgers (14-6, 6-3) at Iowa (12-8, 4-5)|
|LOCATION||Iowa City, Iowa (Carver-Hawkeye Arena)|
|DATE||Sunday, Jan. 29|
|TIP-OFF||1:07 p.m. (CT)|
|RADIO||Hawkeye Sports Network|
Iowa (12-8, 4-5) returns to action on Sunday against Rutgers (14-6, 6-3). Tipoff is slated for 1:07 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.
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. Dave Revsine and Brian Butch will call the action.
GAME #21 STORYLINES
- Fans are encouraged to wear white clothing for Sunday’s “White Out.”
- Iowa’s coaching staff on Sunday will be wearing suits & sneakers for Coaches vs. Cancer to help bring awareness to cancer research.
- Rutgers will be the first and only opponent Iowa will have a rematch with this season before playing all other 12 Big Ten teams at least once.
- Iowa is tops in the Big Ten and 20th nationally in scoring offense (80.7). The Hawkeyes have led the league in scoring five of the last nine seasons, including the last four.
- Forward Kris Murray’s 21.9 scoring average in conference play (eight games) is tops in the league. Murray was tabbed midseason third team All-America by Sporting News.\
- Iowa has made 58 more free throws (307) than their opponents have attempted (249).
- The Hawkeyes will play three games in seven days, all at home, beginning on Sunday.
- 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 11 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 digits in scoring 13 of 14 games, including netting 15+ points in seven of Iowa’s last 10. Over the last 10 games, he is averaging 16.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 blocks, and 0.8 steals, while shooting a robust 57 percent (62-of-108) from the field. Rebraca pulled down career rebound No. 1,000 versus Michigan on Jan. 12.
- Iowa’s Filip Rebraca is one of nine players nationally to average 14+ points, 8+ rebounds, 1+ blocks, while shooting 56 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 eighth in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.59), 13th in fewest turnovers per game (10.4), 19th in assists per game (16.6), and 20th in fewest fouls per game (14.2).
- 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.
- Rutgers (20 NET Ranking) enters Sunday’s game 14-6 overall and 6-3 in conference play. The Scarlet Knights are coming off a convincing home win over Penn State, 65-45, on Tuesday.
- The Scarlet Knights have had six 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 2-3 in true road contests. Their league road wins include top-ranked Purdue (65-64) and Northwestern (65-62).
- The Scarlet Knights lead the conference in seven categories: fast break points (12.45), field goal percentage defense (5th nationally, 37.4 ), offensive rebounds per game (12.35), scoring defense (4th nationally, 57.0), steals per game (14th nationally, 9.6), 3-point percentage defense (28.8), and turnovers forced per game (15.6).
- Junior center Clifford Omoruyi leads the squad in multiple categories, with a team-high 266 points and averaging 13.3 per game. Omoruyi is second in the conference in rebounds (203) and offensive rebounds per game (3.40). He is third in double-doubles (8), blocks (40), and rebounds per game (10.2).
- Senior guard Cam Spencer, a transfer from Loyola University-Maryland, is second in the Big Ten in steals (50), steals per game (2.50), and assist/turnover ratio (2.88). Spencer leads the team in 3-pointers (44), shooting at a 43.6 percent clip from long distance.
- Rutgers is shooting at 43 percent from the field, 31.5 percent in the 3-point range, and 74 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 11-3 against the Scarlet Knights, including a 4-1 record in games played in Iowa City. Iowa has won five of the last six overall meetings with Rutgers, dating back to 2020.
Rutgers is making its first visit to Carver-Hawkeye Arena in nearly two years (79-66 Iowa victory on Feb. 10, 2021).
LAST MEETING AGAINST RUTGERS
Iowa became the first team in the last five seasons to win and never trail at Rutgers, posting a 76-65 triumph on Jan. 8, at Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway, New Jersey.
- The Hawkeyes made 12 3-pointers, equaling their highest total in a game this season and most since sinking 12 versus No. 20 Iowa State on Dec. 8.
- Payton Sandfort tallied a game-best 22 points off the bench, bolstered by making a game and season-best four 3-pointers (4-of-5). He scored 11 straight Hawkeye points after the Scarlet Knights trimmed Iowa’s advantage to five (55-50) with 8:46 remaining in the second half. The 22 points were the most by Sandfort in a Big Ten game this season.
- Senior Filip Rebraca registered a double-double, scoring 16 points and snagging a game-best 12 rebounds.
- All-America candidate Kris Murray scored 17 points and had seven rebounds, two steals and a block.
- Senior Connor McCaffery dished out a season-best eight assists (only one turnover) and scored six points on two 3-pointers, including a clutch one in the second half.
- Juniors Patrick McCaffery and Josh Ogundele did not play for Iowa.
- Cam Spencer (13 points) and Caleb McConnell (12 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals, 4 assists) led the Scarlet Knights.
SPARTANS EDGE HAWKEYES IN EAST LANSING
Michigan State snapped a three-game losing streak to Iowa by virtue of a 63-61 win over the Hawkeyes Thursday evening at the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Michigan.
- Iowa’s Payton Sandfort had two 3-point attempts misfire in the final five seconds to potentially win the game for the Hawkeyes.
- Ahron Ulis scored a career-best 17 points (13 in the second half), reaching double figures for the second straight game (12 at Ohio State). Ulis has made a 3-pointer in a career-best five straight contests.
- Senior Filip Rebraca totaled 16 points and game bests in rebounds (11) and blocks (2) for his team-best eighth double-double of the season. He has scored 15+ for the seventh time in Iowa’s last 10 games and reaching double figures for the 13th time in 14 contests.
- Iowa made six free throws, its fewest in a game since making five at Nebraska (Dec. 29).
- The Spartans (8) made five more 3-points than the Hawkeyes (3). Iowa’s three triples equaled a season low (TCU, Duke).
- Four different Hawkeyes scored in the first four minutes, starting the game on a 10-0 run.
- Five Spartans scored in double figures: Jaden Akins (12), Joey Hauser (11), Malik Hall (11), Mady Sissoko (10), and Tyson Walker (10). Hall returned to action after missing the previous three games.
- Juniors Patrick McCaffery and Josh Ogundele did not play in Thursday’s game for Iowa.
- Iowa and Michigan State will meet again on Feb. 25, 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 (28) and field goal percentage (.568), and second in rebounds (8.5) and points per game (14). He is pulling down 3.05 offensive boards per outing, fourth best in the Big Ten and 45th nationally. His field goal percentage (.568) ranks 41st in the country.
Rebraca netted career point No. 1,500 against Eastern Illinois (Dec. 21). He has scored 488 points the last two seasons as a Hawkeye (56 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 16 times this year and posted a team-best eight double-doubles, tying for third most in the league. Rebraca has scored in double figures in 13 of 14 games and netted 15+ points in seven of Iowa’s last 10. He has rejected multiple shots seven times 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 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 six games, Sandfort is averaging 13.7 points and 4.8 rebounds, shooting 51 percent (28-of-55) from the field and 45 percent (14-of-31) 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 10 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.
MURRAY NAMED TO WATCH LISTS
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 20.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per outing. Murray has increased his scoring average by 11.9 points per game this season compared to last year. His 20.6 points per contest ranks 17th 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 last 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, Michigan State (knee)
Patrick McCaffery: Indiana, Rutgers, Michigan, Maryland, Ohio State, Michigan 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.
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 7.5 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.
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 (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).