MBB Game Notes: at Minnesota

OPPONENT Iowa (15-9, 7-6) at Minnesota (7-15, 1-11) 
LOCATION Minneapolis, Minnesota (Williams Arena)
DATE Sunday, Feb. 12
TIP-OFF 12:01 p.m. (CT)
RADIO Hawkeye Sports Network

The Setting

Iowa (15-9, 7-6) remains on the road to Minnesota (7-15, 1-11). Tipoff is slated for 12:01 p.m. (CT) Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


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 game will be televised on FS1. Brandon Gaudin and Devin Harris will call the action.


  • 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 Sunday.
  • Minnesota is the last remaining conference opponent Iowa has yet to face this season.
  • Iowa won three games last week against teams who were in second place in the Big Ten standings at the time: Rutgers (Sunday), Northwestern (Tuesday), and Illinois (Saturday).
  • Iowa has seven Quad 1 wins on its resume, which ties Baylor and Iowa State for fourth most in the nation. Kansas is first with 10, followed by Purdue (9), and Texas (8).
  • Only two teams nationally have made more than 70 free throws than their opponents have attempted: Purdue (125) and Iowa (74).
  • Connor McCaffery ranks second in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.43). He led the nation in the statistic in 2020, boasting a 4.6 ratio.
  • Entering this weekend’s slate, Iowa has the fourth most Big Ten regular season wins over the last three seasons (32); Purdue is first (39), followed by Illinois (38), and Michigan (33).
  • Filip Rebraca has reached double digits in scoring 16 of 18 games, including netting 15+ points in nine of Iowa’s last 14. Rebraca is one of six players nationally to average 14+ points, 8+ rebounds, 1+ blocks, while shooting 57 percent or better from the field.
  • Fran McCaffery (122) is four wins from tying Tom Davis (126) for the most regular season Big Ten victories in program history.
  • Iowa is tops in the Big Ten and 19th nationally in scoring offense (81.1). The Hawkeyes have led the league in scoring five of the last nine seasons, including the last four.
  • Forward Kris Murray’s 21.5 scoring average in conference play (11 games) is second in the league. Murray was tabbed midseason third team All-America by Sporting News and is on the Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 List. In home games that Murray has played this season, Iowa is 10-0, averaging 23.2 points in those 10 home contests.
  • The Hawkeyes are 9-1 this season when making nine or more 3-pointers in a game.
  • 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 15 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).
  • Iowa is seventh in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6), 14th in fewest turnovers per game (10.3), 16th in assists per game (16.5), and 26th in fewest fouls per game (14.4).
  • 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.


  • Minnesota (237 NET Ranking) enters Sunday’s game 7-15 overall and 1-11 in conference play. The Gophers’ most recent Big Ten game was a home loss to Maryland, 81-46.
  • The Gophers are playing their first game in a week; their game at Illinois on Tuesday was postponed due to COVID health and safety protocols.
  • Minnesota’s lone conference win came at Ohio State on Jan. 12, winning 70-67.
  • The Gophers are 0-6 at home in Big Ten play this season.
  • In Big Ten play, four of Minnesota’s contests have been decided in one or two possessions (0-4).
  • Minnesota is third in the conference in fewest fouls per game (25th nationally, 14.4). The Gophers are sixth in the Big Ten in blocks per game (4.0) and seventh in assists per game (13.5).
  • Junior guard Ta’lon Cooper is ranked first in the conference in minutes per game (31st nationally, 35:55). Cooper is third in the Big Ten in both assists (33rd nationally, 124) and assists per game (18th nationally, 5.6). He leads the team in steals (25).
  • Dawson Garcia, who has missed the last four games due to injury, is ranked 10th in the league in field goal accuracy (.447). He leads the squad in rebounds (114) and points (269).
  • The Gophers are shooting at 41 percent from the field, 30 percent from 3-point range, and 61 percent from the free-throw line.
  • Ben Johnson is in his second season as head coach of the Gophers. Johnson was previously at Xavier as an assistant coach for three seasons before returning to his alma mater, where he was a two-time captain. Prior to Xavier, Johnson was an assistant coach for the Gophers for five seasons.


Minnesota holds a 107-100 advantage in the series. The 207 meetings are the most Iowa has played against any opponent. The Hawkeyes have won five of the last six meetings, with the lone loss coming in overtime in Minneapolis on Christmas night in 2020 (102-95).

The Gophers own a 66-37 advantage in games played at Minnesota. Seven of the last 10 meetings at Williams Arena have been decided by six points or fewer, dating back to 2012, with the other two contests being decided in overtime in 2020 (102-95) and double overtime in 2017 (101-89).


Iowa outscored Minnesota by 16 in the second half to rally from a four-point halftime deficit and beat the Gophers, 71-59, on Feb. 6, 2022, inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

  • The Hawkeyes completed the season sweep over the Gophers for the second time in three seasons.
  • Sophomore forward Keegan Murray registered game bests in points (24) and rebounds (15).
  • Forward Patrick McCaffery netted a season-best 18 points and equaled a career best with seven rebounds.
  • The Hawkeyes held Minnesota leading-scorer Jamison Battle, who averages 17.8 ppg, to only two points on 1-of-12 shooting from the field.
  • Luke Loewe (19) and Paton Willis (16) paced the Gophers combining for 35 of Minnesota’s 59 points. Loewe drained a three-quarter court 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give the Gophers a four-point advantage at intermission.


Iowa outscored No. 1 Purdue by three in the second half but was unable to overcome a 17-point halftime deficit in an 87-73 loss at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette Thursday evening.

  • Thursday was just the third loss in 10 games for the Hawkeyes, dating back to Jan. 5.
  • Iowa had two players in double figures: Kris Murray (24) and Filip Rebraca (17). Murray reached 20+ points for the 10th time this season, while Rebraca tallied 15+ points for the ninth time in the last 14 contests.
  • Thursday was the only regular season meeting between the two teams.
  • Iowa was credited with 22 assists, surpassing 20 assists for the sixth time this season. The 22 assists are the most by the Hawkeyes in a conference game this season and most since recording 24 against Omaha (Nov. 21, 2022).
  • The Hawkeyes made 60 percent (21-of-35) of their field-goal attempts in the second half, their second highest shooting percentage in a half in a league game this season (64 percent in the second half versus Maryland on Jan. 15, 2023).
  • Connor McCaffery tied a season high with eight assists. Patrick McCaffery collected a game and personal-best five steals to go along with nine points, two blocks, two assists, and two rebounds. Patrick McCaffery is the second Hawkeye to amass five steals in a game this season (Filip Rebraca versus Eastern Illinois on Dec. 21, 2022).
  • Iowa made 15-of-17 field-goal attempts spanning 9:41 (17:49-8:08) in the second half.
  • Iowa had a +9 turnover margin, its best margin in a league contest this season and second best in any game this year (+18 versus North Carolina A&T on Nov. 11, 2022).


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 (30) and field goal percentage (.572), and second in rebounds (8.0) and points per game (14). He is pulling down 2.88 offensive boards per outing, fifth best in the Big Ten and 63rd nationally. His field goal percentage (.572) ranks 39th in the country.

Rebraca netted career point No. 1,500 against Eastern Illinois (Dec. 21). He has scored 545 points the last two seasons as a Hawkeye (60 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 6-foot-9 center has netted double figures a team-best 19 times this year and posted a team-best nine double-doubles, tying for third in the league. Rebraca has scored in double digits 15 of the last 17 games and netted 15+ points in nine of the last 14. He has denied multiple shots seven times this season and his 1.3 blocks per game ranks eighth 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 eight games, Sandfort is averaging 13.6 points and 5.1 rebounds, shooting 51 percent (35-of-69) from the field and 49 percent (20-of-41) from long distance. He made a Over the last nine games, Sandfort is averaging 13.1 points and 5.2 rebounds, shooting 50 percent (38-of-76) from the field and 49 percent (23-of-47) from long distance. He sank four 3-pointers in two games: Rutgers (4-of-5) and Michigan (4-of-9). He made a personal-best five 3-pointers against Northwestern (5-of-7). Sandfort has netted double figures in seven of the last 13 games. Iowa is 8-2 when Sandfort makes multiple triples in a game.

Sandfort makes a positive impact on the game when he is on the floor. The sophomore guard has been double digits in +/- over the last five home games: +21 (Illinois); +18 (Northwestern); +14 (Rutgers); +12 Maryland; +16 (Michigan).

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. He totaled seven points and matched a personal best with eight rebounds in Iowa’s home win over Rutgers. Sandfort was a team-best +18 in Iowa’s victory over the Wildcats, scoring 20 points, bolstered by making 5-of-7 from long distance. He led all players with a +21, scoring nine points and grabbing six rebounds, in Iowa’s two-point triumph over Illinois Saturday afternoon.

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 Wooden Award Late Season Top 20, Oscar Robertson Midseason Watch List, the Karl Malone Award Watch List, midseason third team All-America by Sporting News, and the Big Ten Preseason All-Big Ten Team.

It marks the fourth straight season that one or more Hawkeyes have been selected to the preseason all-conference squad. 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 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per outing. Murray has increased his scoring average by 11.8 points per game this season compared to last year. His 20.5 points per contest ranks 20th 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 game-best 24 points in Iowa’s home win over Rutgers.

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: PSU, IND, RUT, MICH, UMD, OSU, MSU, RUT, NW, ILL (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.


Iowa has had a player average 20+ points per game each of the last three seasons, which is a program best. Luka Garza averaged 23.9 in 2020 and 24.1 in 2021, while Keegan Murray averaged 23.5 in 2022.

Kris Murray, twin brother of Keegan, is currently averaging 20.7 points per game. If he continues his scoring pace, the Hawkeyes will have a player average 20+ four consecutive years.


Connor McCaffery returned for his COVID bonus year and sixth season. He has played in 157 career games, second to only Jordan Bohannon (179) in program history.

McCaffery is averaging 7.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, and is shooting a season best 36 percent (31-of-86) 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. He was a +10 in Iowa’s overtime victory against Michigan and +14 in the win over Maryland.

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.


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).