|OPPONENT||Nebraska (15-15, 8-11) at Iowa (19-11, 11-8)|
|LOCATION||Iowa City, Iowa (Carver-Hawkeye Arena)|
|DATE||Sunday, March 5 (Sold Out)|
|TIP-OFF||1:07 p.m. (CT)|
|RADIO||Hawkeye Sports Network|
Iowa (19-11, 11-8) will host Nebraska (15-15, 8-11) in its home finale on Sunday. 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 home finale will be televised on Big Ten Network. Kevin Kugler and Rob Hummel will call the action.
REGULAR SEASON FINALE STORYLINES
- Iowa has 13 combined Quad 1 (4) and Quad 2 (8) wins on its resume, second most in the Big Ten behind Purdue (15).
- Thursday’s win at No. 15 Indiana was Fran McCaffery’s 126th Big Ten regular season victory, tying Tom Davis (126) for the most in program history.
- A Hawkeye win on Sunday will earn Iowa a double bye at next week’s Big Ten Tournament in Chicago and will secure the program their fifth consecutive upper division Big Ten finish and 10th over the last 11 seasons.
- Iowa has won seven straight home games, dating back to Jan. 5.
- The Hawkeyes boast a Big Ten-best 9-3 record and percentage (.750) against the top eight other teams in the conference standings.
- The Hawkeyes own Big Ten Tournament tiebreakers with a handful of teams around them in the standings: Indiana, Maryland, Illinois, Michigan, and Rutgers.
- Iowa’s 22-point win over No. 15 Indiana on Tuesday evening matched its largest margin of victory in Bloomington (1947).
- Iowa has won 10 or more Big Ten games eight of the last nine seasons.
- Iowa is one win from its fifth consecutive 20-win season and ninth overall under head coach Fran McCaffery. The last time the Hawkeyes posted five straight 20-win seasons was 1995-99 under head coach Tom Davis.
- Connor McCaffery ranks first in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.0) this year. He also led the nation in 2020, boasting a 4.6 ratio. He has amassed 514 career assists, seventh most in program history. McCaffery is three assists from tying B.J. Armstrong (517) for sixth place. He has played in 111 Hawkeye wins, tying Jordan Bohannon for most in program history.
- Kris Murray, who is on the Oscar Robertson Late Season Top 15, is the only Division I player to average 20+ points, 8+ rebounds, and have made 55+ 3-pointers this season. Murray surpassed 500 points this season last weekend against Michigan State (Feb. 25).
- Iowa has made a combined 30 triples over its last two games (17 vs. MSU; 13 at Indiana).
- Filip Rebraca has reached double digits in scoring a team-best 25 times, including netting 15+ points in 12 of Iowa’s last 20. Rebraca is one of eight players nationally to average 14+ points, 7.5+ rebounds, 1+ blocks, while shooting 58 percent or better from the field.
- Iowa is tops in the Big Ten and 17th 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 20.9 scoring average in conference play (18 games) is third in the league. Murray is on the Oscar Robertson Late Season Top 15 and Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 lists. In home games that Murray has played this season, Iowa is 12-0, with Murray averaging 23.2 points in those 12 home contests.
- Iowa is third in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.67), 12th in assists per game (16.6), 13th in fewest turnovers per game (10.0), and 34th in fewest fouls per game (14.8).
- The Hawkeyes are 12-1 this season when making nine or more 3-pointers in a game.
- Nebraska (93 NET Ranking) enters Sunday’s game 15-15 overall and 8-11 in conference play. Michigan State snapped the Huskers’ four-game win streak Tuesday evening with an 80-67 win in Lincoln.
- The Huskers are 3-8 overall, including 2-7 in league play, on the road this season.
- The Huskers are second in the conference in fewest fouls per game (9th nationally, 13.8).
- Senior forward Derrick Walker is second in the conference in field goal percentage (27th nationally, 58.9). He is first on the team in blocks (18).
- Senior guard Sam Griesel is seventh in the Big Ten in both assists (107) and assists per game (3.8). He leads the squad in steals (34).
- Nebraska is shooting at 45 percent from the field, 32 percent in the 3-point range, and 64 percent from the free-throw line.
- Fred Hoiberg is in his fourth season as head coach at Nebraska and his 17th season overall as a college head coach. Prior to three years as the Chicago Bulls head coach (2015-18), he was head coach at Iowa State for five seasons (2010-15). Hoiberg played his college career at Iowa State and is a native of Ames, Iowa.
ALL-TIME SERIES RESULTS
Iowa holds a 24-14 advantage in the series. The Hawkeyes have won 12 of the 19 meetings since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011. The Huskers won this season’s first meeting in Lincoln on Dec. 29 (66-50).
Iowa owns a commanding 17-3 advantage in games in Iowa City. Sunday will be Nebraska’s 11th contest played in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes have won 14 of the last 15 contests in the series played in Iowa City, including nine straight, dating back to 1943.
LAST MEETING AGAINST NEBRASKA
All five Nebraska starters scored in double figures in a 66-50 victory over Iowa on Dec. 29, 2022, at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.
- Nebraska snapped a four-game losing streak to Iowa with the win.
- Forward Kris Murray returned to action after missing the previous four games (lower body injury). Guard Connor McCaffery also returned to action after missing the last game (wrist sprain).
- Filip Rebraca scored 16 points and grabbed a game and season-best 13 rebounds.
- Kris Murray registered game bests in points (17) and blocks (3), while also clearing eight rebounds in 36 minutes of action.
- Iowa was held to season lows in points (50), field goal percentage (.260), free throws made (5) and free throws attempted (8).
- Iowa missed 25 of its first 28 field-goal attempts; Nebraska went on a 20-0 run spanning 8+ minutes in the first half.
- Nebraska made six of its nine 3-point attempts (.667) in the first half and finished the game 8-of-22 (.364) from long distance.
- The Huskers were led by Juwan Gary (14 points, 9 rebounds) and Sam Griesel (12 points, 10 rebounds).
IOWA COMPLETES REGULAR SEASON SWEEY OVER HOOSIERS
Kris Murray (26) and Tony Perkins (23) combined for 49 points in a 90-68 victory over No. 15 Indiana at Assembly Hall in Bloomington on Tuesday.
- Iowa has won four straight games over the Hoosiers, its longest win streak since 2010-11.
- Iowa’s 22-point win matched its largest margin of victory in Bloomington (1947).
- Iowa’s 90 points are the third most the Hawkeyes have scored in a game at Bloomington (91 in 1994 and 104 in 1970).
- The Hawkeyes handed the Hoosiers just their second home defeat of the season.
- Iowa won its 13th combined Quad 1 and Quad 2 game of the season, second most in the Big Ten (Purdue).
- Iowa won its third Big Ten road games of the season (Rutgers, Minnesota, Indiana).
- Tony Perkins, an Indianapolis native, flirted with a triple-double (23 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists). The eight assists are a personal best, while the 10 rebounds were a season high. The 23 points and 10 rebounds have the junior his second career double-double.
- All-America candidate Kris Murray scored a game-best 26 points, reaching 20+ points a team-best 14 times this season. Murray also had seven rebounds, three assists, and a game-best two blocks. He sank a career-high five triples. Murray made his first four field-goal attempts, including three 3-pointers, reaching double figures 5:39 into the contest..
- Filip Rebraca netted 16 points. He reached double figures 9:34 into the game, making his first five field goal attempts. Rebraca also cleared eight rebounds.
- Payton Sandfort made five 3-pointers. He has drained a combined 11 triples over the last two games. The sophomore guard finished the contest with 16 points.
- The Hawkeyes made 13 triples (13-of-23, .565), sinking seven of their first 11 3-point attempts. Iowa’s 56.5 percentage from long distance was a season best. The Hawkeyes held Indiana to 2-of-11 (.182) from 3-point range, a season low in accuracy for an Iowa opponent.
- Iowa scored on its first seven possessions building an 11-point lead 3:42 into the game.
LEADER OF THE PACK
Connor McCaffery is Iowa’s career leader in assist-to-turnover ratio, amassing a 3.59 ratio in 163 career games (514 assists; 143 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 4.0 assist-to-turnover ratio this season is tops in the nation by a wide margin. Reece Beekman of Virginia ranks second (3.4).
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 (.582), and second in rebounds (7.6) and points per game (14.0). He is pulling down 2.83 offensive boards per outing, fifth best in the Big Ten and 61st nationally. His field goal percentage (.582) ranks 33rd in the country.
Rebraca netted career point No. 1,500 against Eastern Illinois (Dec. 21). He has scored 628 points the last two seasons as a Hawkeye (66 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 25 times this year and posted a team-best nine double-doubles, fifth most in the league. Rebraca has scored in double digits 22 of the last 24 games and netted 15+ points in 12 of the last 20. His 1.0 blocks per game rates 13th in the conference.
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 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 games (Wisconsin, Nebraska, PSU).
Over the last 16 games, Sandfort is averaging 12.1 points and 4.4 rebounds, shooting 45 percent from the field and long distance. He sank four or more 3-pointers in four games, including five or more in each of the last two outings: Indiana (5-of-9) and Michigan State (6-of-10). Sandfort has netted double figures in 11 of the last 20 games. Iowa is 11-3 when Sandfort makes multiple triples in a game.
Sandfort has had positive double digit +/- in five of the last seven home games: +21 (Illinois); +18 (Northwestern); +14 (Rutgers); +12 Maryland; +16 (Michigan).
Sandfort was instrumental in a pair of overtime victories over the state of Michigan. He scored Iowa’s final seven points of regulation (63 seconds), including a four-point play with 20 seconds remaining to force overtime versus Michigan. Sandfort posted 22 points, including sinking a game-tying triple with three seconds left to send Iowa’s home game versus MSU to 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 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.
MURRAY NAMED TO WATCH LISTS
Junior Kris Murray has been named to the Wooden Award Late Season Top 20, Oscar Robertson Late Season Top 15, 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.
Kris Murray is the only Division I player to average 20+ points, 8+ rebounds, and have made 55+ 3-pointers this season.
Murray is averaging a team-best 20.5 points and eight 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 18th nationally. Murray did not play in four contests in December (Iowa State; Wisconsin; Southeast Missouri State; Eastern Illinois) due to a lower body injury.
He 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 27 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).
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 became just the fourth team in Division I history to trail by 11+ points and win with under one minute remaining in the game when it rallied from 11 points with 55 seconds left to upend Michigan State in overtime (112-106) on Feb. 25 in Iowa City. Texas A&M (down 12 with 33 seconds left vs. UNI in 2016), UNLV (down 11 with 59 seconds left vs. SDSU in 2005), Nevada (down 11 with 59 seconds left vs. New Mexico in 2017).
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 took its 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 20.5 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 163 career games, second to only Jordan Bohannon (179) in program history. McCaffery has played in 111 games in which Iowa has won, tying Jordan Bohannon for most in school history.
McCaffery is averaging 6.6 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 (4.0). McCaffery has had zero turnovers in five of Iowa’s last 10 outings.
McCaffery has only missed five free throws this season (40-of-45). 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).