|OPPONENT||Ohio State (11-14, 3-11) at Iowa (16-9, 8-6)|
|LOCATION||Iowa City, Iowa (Carver-Hawkeye Arena)|
|DATE||Thursday, Feb. 16|
|TIP-OFF||8:05 p.m. (CT)|
|RADIO||Hawkeye Sports Network|
Iowa (16-9, 8-6) returns home on Thursday hosting Ohio State (11-14, 3-11). Tipoff is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.
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: Thursday’s game will be televised on ESPN2. Kevin Brown and Robbie Hummel will call the action.
GAME #26 STORYLINES
- Iowa collected a season-high 11 steals and had boasted a +9 turnover margin in both road contests last week (Purdue and Minnesota).
- After starting league play 0-3, Iowa has won eight of its last 11 games since Jan. 5.
- Iowa has seven Quad 1 wins on its resume, which ties KSU, Connecticut, and Alabama for fifth in the nation. Kansas is first with 11, followed by Purdue, Baylor, and Texas with nine.
- Payton Sandfort has had positive double digit +/- over the last five home games: +21 (Illinois); +18 (Northwestern); +14 (Rutgers); +12 Maryland; +16 (Michigan).
- Only two teams nationally have made more than 65 free throws than their opponents have attempted: Purdue (124) and Iowa (68).
- Connor McCaffery has once again ascended to ranking first in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.45) this season. He also led the nation in the statistic in 2020, boasting a 4.6 ratio.
- Entering this week’s slate, Iowa is tied with Michigan for the third most Big Ten regular season wins over the last three seasons (33); Purdue and Illinois are first and Illinois with 39.
- Filip Rebraca has reached double digits in scoring 17 of 19 games, including netting 15+ points in 10 of Iowa’s last 15. Rebraca is one of 11 players nationally to average 14+ points, 8+ rebounds, 1+ blocks, while shooting 56 percent or better from the field.
- Fran McCaffery (123) is three 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 22nd nationally in scoring offense (80.6). The Hawkeyes have led the league in scoring five of the last nine seasons, including the last four.
- Forward Kris Murray’s 22.0 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 17 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 third in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.64), 12th in fewest turnovers per game (10.1), 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.
SCOUTING OHIO STATE
- Ohio State (54 NET Ranking) enters Thursday’s game 11-14 overall and 3-11 in league play. The Buckeyes’ most recent Big Ten game was a home loss against Michigan State (62-41).
- This is the second meeting between the teams this season. The teams first met at Ohio State on Jan. 21, with the Buckeyes winning, 93-77.
- Ohio State is on a six-game losing streak since beating Iowa, (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Northwestern, and Michigan State).
- Ohio State is 1-7 in true road games, including 1-6 away from Columbus in league play.
- The Buckeyes are second in the Big Ten in bench points (20.96) and third in rebound margin (45th nationally, 4.6).
- Freshman forward Brice Sensabaugh is sixth in the Big Ten in field goals (147) and free throw percentage (80.5). He is seventh in the conference in points (409).
- Junior forward Zed Key is fourth in the Big Ten in offensive rebounds per game (3.17). He is sixth in the conference in double-doubles (6). His last double-double was in their setback at Nebraska (11 points, 10 rebounds).
- The Buckeyes are shooting at 45.6 percent from the field, 35.6 percent in the 3-point range, and 72 percent from the free-throw line.
- Chris Holtmann is in his sixth season as head coach of the Buckeyes. Holtmann led the squad to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2018. He was also the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2018 after posting an overall record of 25-9. Holtmann was previously the head coach at Butler.
ALL-TIME SERIES RESULTS
The series between Iowa and Ohio State is even, 83-83. The two teams have split the last eight meetings. Iowa has won three of the last five meetings.
Ohio State holds a 50-30 advantage in games played in Columbus. The Hawkeyes have won two consecutive contests in Columbus: 73-57 in 2021 and 75-62 in 2022.
Iowa and Ohio State have not played an overtime game since 1983, the longest span without an overtime game for an Iowa Big Ten opponent.
LAST MEETING AGAINST OHIO STATE
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 on Jan. 21, 2023, in Columbus.
- All-America candidate Kris Murray led the Hawkeyes with 22 points and seven rebounds.
- Senior Filip Rebraca totaled 15 points. Junior Ahron Ulis scored 12 points and equaled a season high with two steals.
- Iowa made 11 3-pointers (11-of-24). The Hawkeyes lost their first and only game of the season when making at least nine 3-pointers.
- Juniors Patrick McCaffery and Josh Ogundele did not play.
- 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 WINS AT MINNESOTA IN ONLY REGULAR SEASON MEETING
Iowa led start to finish in a 68-56 victory over Minnesota at Williams Arena in Minneapolis in the only regular season meeting between the two teams.
- Iowa has won six of the last seven overall meetings against the Gophers.
- Kris Murray posted his sixth double-double of the season totaling game highs in points (28) and rebounds (14), to go along with three steals, two assists, and two blocks. Murray’s 14 rebounds are the second most he has had this season and most against a conference opponent (20 vs. Georgia Tech).
- Filip Rebraca amassed 16 points and eight rebounds, reaching 15+ points in 10 of Iowa’s last 15 contests. Connor McCaffery matched a season high with 10 rebounds.
- Tony Perkins tied a career high with six assists, while also posting seven points and seven boards.
- Iowa collected a season-high 11 steals for the second consecutive game (11 at No. 1 Purdue).
- Iowa dominated the offensive glass, grabbing 17 offensive rebounds to only two for Minnesota (+15). The two offensive rebounds allowed equaled a season low for a Hawkeye opponent (2 at Penn State).
- The Hawkeyes recorded their third true road win of the season (Seton Hall; Rutgers).
- Iowa had a +9 turnover margin for the second straight game (at No. 1 Purdue). The Hawkeyes only had five turnovers today compared to Minnesota’s 14.
- Joseph Ola-Joseph (11) and Ta’lon Cooper (10 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds) led the Gophers.
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 (.568), and second in rebounds (8.0) and points per game (14.1). He is pulling down 2.9 offensive boards per outing, fifth best in the Big Ten and 55th nationally. His field goal percentage (.568) ranks 40th in the country.
Rebraca netted career point No. 1,500 against Eastern Illinois (Dec. 21). He has scored 561 points the last two seasons as a Hawkeye (61 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 20 times this year and posted a team-best nine double-doubles, fourth most in the league. Rebraca has scored in double digits 17 of the last 19 games and netted 15+ points in 10 of the last 15. He has denied multiple shots seven times this season and his 1.2 blocks per game rates ninth 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 11 games, Sandfort is averaging 11.5 points and 4.6 rebounds, shooting 45 percent from the field and 46 percent (25-of-54) 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 15 games. Iowa is 8-3 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 had positive double digit +/- 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 on Feb. 4.
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 Wooden Award Late Season Top 20, Oscar Robertson Midseason Watch List, Naismith POY Midseason Team, a Karl Malone Award semifinalist, 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 21 points and 8.5 rebounds per outing. Murray has increased his scoring average by 12.3 points per game this season compared to last year. His 21 points per contest ranks 14th 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 a career-best 32 points at Penn State on Jan. 1. Murray totaled 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 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 win over Maryland. Murray netted a game-best 24 points in the home win over Rutgers and game bests in points (28) and rebounds (14) at Minnesota this past Sunday.
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 21 points per game. If he continues his scoring pace, the Hawkeyes will have a player average 20+ four consecutive years.
ANOTHER SIXTH-YEAR PLAYER
Connor McCaffery returned for his COVID bonus year and sixth season. He has played in 158 career games, second to only Jordan Bohannon (179) in program history.
McCaffery is averaging 7.1 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, and is shooting a season best 37 percent (32-of-87) from 3-point range this year. 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 tied a season high with 10 rebounds in the win at Minnesota this past Sunday.
He is tops in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.45).
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.
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).