|OPPONENT||Iowa (17-9, 9-6) at Northwestern (19-7, 10-5)|
|LOCATION||Evanston, Illinois (Welsh-Ryan Arena)|
|DATE||Sunday, Feb. 19|
|TIP-OFF||5:37 p.m. (CT)|
|RADIO||Hawkeye Sports Network|
Iowa (17-9, 9-6) hits the road for a Sunday clash with second-place Northwestern (19-7, 10-5). Tipoff is scheduled for 5:37 p.m. (CT) at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Illinois.
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 contest will be televised on Big Ten Network. Brandon Gaudin and Stephen Bardo will call the action.
GAME #27 STORYLINES
- Iowa has had a +7 turnover margin in each of its last three games (+9 at Purdue, +9 at Minnesota, +7 vs. Ohio State). The Hawkeyes rank 29th nationally in turnover margin (+3.4).
- Through 26 games, both Iowa and Northwestern each have 259 turnovers. Their 10.0 average ties for ninth best in the country.
- After starting league play 0-3, Iowa has won nine of its last 12 games since Jan. 5.
- Iowa has seven Quad 1 wins on its resume, which ties Michigan State and Alabama for seventh in the nation. Kansas is first (12), followed by Baylor, Texas, and Purdue with nine; and Northwestern and Iowa State with eight.
- Only two teams nationally have made more than 65 free throws than their opponents have attempted: Purdue (116) and Iowa (65).
- Kris Murray is the only Division I player in the country to average 21+ points, 8+ rebounds, and have made 50+ 3-pointers this season.
- Connor McCaffery has once again ascended to ranking first in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.05) this season. He also led the nation in the statistic in 2020, boasting a 4.6 ratio. McCaffery dished out a career-high 13 assists (zero turnovers) in Iowa’s win over Ohio State on Thursday. He has amassed 499 career assists, seventh most in program history. McCaffery is 18 assists from tying B.J. Armstrong (517) for sixth place.
- Entering this weekend’s slate, Iowa has the third most Big Ten regular season wins over the last three seasons (34); Purdue and Illinois are first with 39.
- Fran McCaffery (124) is two wins from tying Tom Davis (126) for the most regular season Big Ten victories in program history.
- Filip Rebraca has reached double digits in scoring 18 of 20 games, including netting 15+ points in 10 of Iowa’s last 16. Rebraca is one of eight players nationally to average 14+ points, 7+ rebounds, 1+ blocks, while shooting 57 percent or better from the field.
- Iowa is tops in the Big Ten and 20th nationally in scoring offense (81.0). 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 (12 games) is third 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 11-0, averaging 22.9 points in those 11 home contests.
- The Hawkeyes are 10-1 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 18 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 (1.68), ninth in fewest turnovers per game (10.0), 15th in assists per game (16.8), and 25th in fewest fouls per game (14.3).
- Northwestern (42 NET Ranking) enters Sunday’s game 19-7 overall and in second place in the Big Ten with a 10-5 league mark. The Wildcats’ most recent Big Ten game was a home win against No. 14 Indiana, 64-62.
- Northwestern is 5-3 at home in Big Ten play this season, with wins against Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Purdue, and Indiana, and losses coming to Ohio State, Rutgers, and Michigan.
- The Wildcats are on a four-game win streak: defeating Wisconsin and Ohio State on the road, while posting back-to-back home upsets over top-ranked Purdue last Sunday (64-58), followed by No. 14 Indiana on Wednesday (64-62).
- The Wildcats are first in the conference in turnover margin (11th nationally, 4.4). They are second in three categories: steals per game (8.0), turnovers forced per game (14.38), and winning percentage (73.1).
- Senior guard Boo Buie leads the conference in free throw percentage (16th nationally, 88.9), and second in the Big Ten in field goal attempts (369). Buie leads the squad in field goals made (148) and free throws made (96).
- Redshirt-senior guard Chase Audige ranks first in the league in steals (6th nationally, 63), and second in steals per game (8th nationally, 2.42). He leads the team in 3-pointers (56) and steals (63).
- The Wildcats are shooting at 41 percent from the field, 31 percent from 3-point range, and 75 percent from the free-throw line.
- Chris Collins is in his 10th season as head coach of the Wildcats. In the 2016-2017 season, Collins led Northwestern to their first NCAA Tournament appearance and win.
ALL-TIME SERIES RESULTS
Iowa holds a commanding 124-60 advantage over Northwestern in the series. The Hawkeyes have won 16 of the last 19 meetings, including nine straight. Iowa won this season’s first meeting last month, 86-70, in Iowa City.
Iowa holds a 49-41 edge in games played in Evanston. The Hawkeyes have won five of the last seven meetings in Evanston, including three straight. Iowa will be making its first visit to Welsh-Ryan Arena on Sunday in over two years (96-73 Hawkeye win on Jan. 17, 2021).
LAST MEETING AGAINST NORTHWESTERN
Iowa outscored Northwestern by 16 points in the second half in an 86-70 triumph over the Wildcats on Jan. 31, 2023, inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.
- Five Hawkeyes scored in double figures for the third time this season.
- Filip Rebraca and Payton Sandfort each netted 20 points to lift Iowa. The duo combined to score 20 points over the final seven minutes of the game.
- Rebraca also totaled 10 rebounds, four assists, and a block. He has netted 15+ points in eight of the last 12 games and 20+ for the fourth time this season. Rebraca has posted a double-double a team-best nine times.
- Sandfort drained a career-best five 3-pointers. He scored in double figures for the fifth time in eight contests. Sandfort had his second 4-point play in six games with 3:36 left in the second half. The sophomore also dished out a career-best five assists.
- The Hawkeyes made 10 3-pointers, five in each half. Iowa (10) made six more triples than Northwestern (4). The Wildcats shot 1-of-8 (.125) from long distance in the second half.
- Both teams combined to shoot 30-of-36 from the free throw line. The Wildcats made 12-of-14 (.857), while the Hawkeyes made 18-of-22 (.818).
- Boo Buie (20) and Chase Audige (15) combined to score half of Northwestern’s 70 points. All eight Wildcats who played scored at least four points, including Nick Martinelli’s career-high nine points off the bench.
HAWKEYES CRUISE PAST BUCKEYES
Iowa led by as many as 28 points in the second half in a 92-75 triumph over Ohio State Thursday evening at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.
- The 92 points are the most the Hawkeyes scored against Ohio State since scoring 92 on Feb. 18, 1992.
- Five Hawkeyes reached double figures in scoring 25 minutes into the game. Tony Perkins led all scorers with 24 points. Perkins totaled 20+ points for the third time this season.
- Connor McCaffery was credited with a personal best 13 assists (zero turnovers). His 13 assists are the most by a Hawkeye since Jordan Bohannon had 14 assists (zero turnovers) against Minnesota on Jan. 10, 2021. McCaffery, who was a +25, also posted seven points and six rebounds.
- Kris Murray totaled 20 points and five rebounds. The Hawkeye junior has scored 20+ points 12 times this season, second most in the Big Ten (Purdue’s Zach Edey).
- Iowa closed the first half on a 15-3 run over the final 4:43, including a 12-0 scoring burst over the final 2:20 of the half. After starting 2-of-12 from 3-point range, Iowa made five of its last six 3-point attempts (four different players) of the first half. Iowa’s last five field goals of the first half were triples.
- Iowa made 10 triples, improving to 10-1 when making nine or more 3-pointers in a game.
- The Hawkeyes held Ohio State to just two offensive rebounds, marking the second straight game Iowa held its opponent to two offensive rebounds (at Minnesota on Feb. 12).
- Iowa’s 47 first-half points were the most the Buckeyes have allowed in a half in a league game this year and second most in all games (51 versus San Diego State in the second half).
- Iowa had a +7 turnover margin, marking the third consecutive contest the Hawkeyes had a +7 turnover margin or better (+9 at Purdue; +9 at Minnesota).
- Both teams shot better than 55 percent from the field: Iowa (.569), Ohio State (.571).
- Iowa improved to 7-0 this season when scoring 90+ points.
- Ohio State was led by Sean McNeil, who registered 20 points and did not miss a shot attempt (7-of-7 FG, 4-of-4 3-pt FG, 2-of-2 FT).
LEADER OF THE PACK
Connor McCaffery is Iowa’s career leader in assist-to-turnover ratio, amassing a 3.59 ratio in 159 career games (499 assists; 139 turnovers), a full point above second-place Andre Banks (2.53). His career ratio is second best in NCAA history behind Iowa State’s Monte Morris (4.65).
His 4.05 assist-to-turnover ratio this season is tops in the nation. Tyler Kolek of Marquette ranks second at 3.32.
McCaffery’s assist-to-turnover ratio last year was 5.0 (did not qualify for national rankings due to not meeting assists per game minimum), while he ranked fourth nationally in 2021 with a 3.73 ratio. In 2020, he led the country with a 4.6 ratio.
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 (31) and field goal percentage (.573), and second in rebounds (7.8) and points per game (14.0). He is pulling down 2.86 offensive boards per outing, fifth best in the Big Ten and 59th nationally. His field goal percentage (.573) ranks 39th in the country.
Rebraca netted career point No. 1,500 against Eastern Illinois (Dec. 21). He has scored 571 points the last two seasons as a Hawkeye (62 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 21 times this year and posted a team-best nine double-doubles, fourth most in the league. Rebraca has scored in double digits 18 of the last 20 games and netted 15+ points in 10 of the last 16. He has denied multiple shots seven times this season and his 1.2 blocks per game rates 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 12 games, Sandfort is averaging 11.4 points and 4.7 rebounds, shooting 45 percent from the field and 45 percent 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 eight of the last 16 games. Iowa is 9-3 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 +/- in five of the last six 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 the only Division I player in the country to average 21+ points, 8+ rebounds, and have made 50+ 3-pointers this season.
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 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.
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 159 career games, second to only Jordan Bohannon (179) in program history. McCaffery has played in 109 games in which Iowa has won, second most in school history behind Jordan Bohannon (111).
McCaffery is averaging 7.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, and is shooting a season best 37 percent (33-of-90) 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). McCaffery dished out eight assists (only one turnover) in Iowa’s win at Rutgers. He tied a season high with 10 rebounds in the win at Minnesota last Sunday, and followed up that performance with seven points, six rebounds, and a career-high 13 assists (zero turnovers) in Iowa’s double-digit win over Ohio State on Thursday.
He is tops in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.05).
McCaffery has only missed three free throws this season (39-of-42). 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).