MBB Game Notes: vs. Michigan State

OPPONENT Michigan State (17-10, 9-7) at Iowa (17-11, 9-7) 
LOCATION Iowa City, Iowa (Carver-Hawkeye Arena)
DATE Saturday, Feb. 25 (GOLD OUT)
TIP-OFF 11:01 a.m. (CT)
RADIO Hawkeye Sports Network

The Setting

Iowa (17-11, 9-8) returns home on Saturday hosting Michigan State (17-10, 9-7). Tipoff is scheduled for 11:01 a.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.


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: Saturday’s contest will be televised nationally on ESPN. Kevin Brown and Robbie Hummel will call the action.


  • Fans are encouraged to wear gold clothing to Saturday’s annual “Gold Out Game.”
  • The Hawkeyes are seeking to beat Michigan State at home three straight times for the first time since 1991-93.
  • Iowa is seeking its 10th conference victory on Saturday. The Hawkeyes have won 10 or more Big Ten games seven of the last eight seasons.
  • Iowa has six Quad 1 wins on its resume, which are third most in the Big Ten behind Purdue (9), Michigan State, and Northwestern (7). Entering Thursday’s schedule of games, the six Quad 1 wins ties for 11th most in the country.
  • Entering Thursday’s games, Iowa and Michigan have the third most Big Ten regular season wins over the last three seasons (34); Purdue and Illinois rank first with 40.
  • Entering Thursday’s games, Kris Murray is the only Division I player in the country to average 20+ points, 8+ rebounds, and have made 50+ 3-pointers this season. Murray has amassed a team-best 480 points this season, 20 from reaching 500.
  • Connor McCaffery has once again ascended to ranking first in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.13) 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 the win over Ohio State in Iowa’s last home game. He has amassed 505 career assists, seventh most in program history. McCaffery is 12 assists from tying B.J. Armstrong (517) for sixth place.
  • Iowa has made (423) more free throws than its foes have attempted (376). The Hawkeyes have only once before accomplished the feat over the last 25 years (2018-19 season).
  • 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 20 of 22 games, including netting 15+ points in 10 of Iowa’s last 18. Rebraca is one of 10 players nationally to average 13.5+ points, 7.5+ rebounds, 1+ blocks, while shooting 57 percent or better from the field.
  • Iowa is tops in the Big Ten and 27th nationally in scoring offense (79.3). The Hawkeyes have led the league in scoring five of the last nine seasons, including the last four.
  • Forward Kris Murray’s 20.3 scoring average in conference play (16 games) is fourth 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.
  • Iowa is fourth in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.63), 14th in fewest turnovers per game (10.0), 17th in assists per game (16.3), and 28th in fewest fouls per game (14.5).
  • 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). He is one of 22 players nationally with four or more 30-point performances. Murray 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).


  • Michigan State (36 NET Ranking) is 17-10 overall and 9-7 in conference play. The Spartans’ most recent game was a home win over No. 17 Indiana (80-65) on Tuesday.
  • Michigan State is 3-5 in games away from East Lansing this season.
  • The Spartans are first in the Big Ten in 3-point percentage defense (14th nationally, 29.3) and second in both defensive rebounds (33rd nationally, 27.19) and in free-throw percentage (38th nationally, 75.6).
  • Junior guard A.J. Hoggard is second in the conference in assists (12th nationally, 156) and third in assists per game (13th nationally, 5.8). He leads the team in assists (156) and free-throws made (88).
  • Senior guard Tyson Walker is ninth in the Big Ten in field goals (150) and eighth in field goal attempts (335). Walker leads the squad in field goals made (150) and steals (32).
  • Graduate student forward Joey Hauser is sixth in the conference in double doubles (6) and ninth in rebounds (191). Hauser leads the team in 3-point pointers (54) and rebounds (191).
  • The Spartans are shooting at 44.4 percent from the field, 37.5 percent in the 3-point range, and 75.6 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 77-58 advantage Iowa in the series. The Spartans snapped a three-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes with last month’s two-point win in East Lansing.

Michigan State has won 15 of the last 21 overall meetings, dating back to 2011.

Iowa holds a 37-26 advantage in games played against Michigan State in Iowa City. The teams have split the last six meetings in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, with the Hawkeyes winning the last two (2021 and 2022).

Michigan State, in 1983, won the first basketball game ever played in Carver-Hawkeye Arena (61-59).


Michigan State snapped a three-game losing streak to Iowa by virtue of a 63-61 win over the Hawkeyes on Jan. 26, 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).
  • Senior Filip Rebraca totaled 16 points and game bests in rebounds (11) and blocks (2).
  • 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.
  • Four different Hawkeyes scored in the first four minutes, starting the game on a 10-0 run.
  • Five Spartans scored in double digits: 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 for Iowa.


Wisconsin outscored Iowa by 11 in the second half in a 64-52 win over the Hawkeyes Wednesday evening at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

  • Wednesday’s game featured 14 lead changes, the most in an Iowa game this season surpassing 13 lead changes in the Iowa-Michigan State game on Jan. 26.
  • Iowa had three players score in double figures: Filip Rebraca (13), Tony Perkins (13), and Payton Sandfort (10).
  • Iowa has played four of its last five games on the road.
  • The Hawkeyes shot a season-low 10.7 percent from 3-point range (3-of-28), while the Badgers were 4-of-18 (22 percent) from long distance.
  • Iowa’s 52 points were its fewest in a game since scoring a season-low 50 at Nebraska on Dec. 29, 2022.
  • Wisconsin, who completed the season sweep over the Hawkeyes, were led by Connor Essegian’s 17 points and Tyler Wahl’s double-double (11 points, 14 rebounds).


Connor McCaffery is Iowa’s career leader in assist-to-turnover ratio, amassing a 3.61 ratio in 161 career games (505 assists; 140 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 4.13 assist-to-turnover ratio this season is tops in the nation by a wide margin. Moe Odum of Pacific ranks second (3.34).

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 (.574), and second in rebounds (7.8) and points per game (13.8). He is pulling down 2.8 offensive boards per outing, fifth best in the Big Ten and 63rd nationally. His field goal percentage (.574) ranks 37th in the country.

Rebraca netted career point No. 1,500 against Eastern Illinois (Dec. 21). He has scored 594 points the last two seasons as a Hawkeye (64 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 23 times this year and posted a team-best nine double-doubles, fourth most in the league. Rebraca has scored in double digits 20 of the last 22 games and netted 15+ points in 10 of the last 18. He has denied multiple shots seven times this season and his 1.1 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 14 games, Sandfort is averaging 11.1 points and 4.5 rebounds, shooting 45 percent from the field and 42 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 nine of the last 18 games. Iowa is 9-3 when Sandfort makes multiple triples in a game.

Sandfort makes a positive impact 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 home triumph over Illinois.

Off the court, Sandfort excels in the classroom earning 2023 Academic All-District honors and 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, 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.

Entering Thursday’s game schedule, Murray is the only Division I player in the country to average 20+ points, 8+ rebounds, and have made 50+ 3-pointers this season.

Murray is averaging a team-best 20 points and eight rebounds per outing. Murray has increased his scoring average by 11.3 points per game this season compared to last year. His 20 points per contest ranks 24th 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 20 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 161 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 6.7 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. 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, 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.

He is tops in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.13). McCaffery has had zero turnovers in five of Iowa’s last eight outings.

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.


  • 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).