|OPPONENT||Iowa (19-12) vs. Wisconsin/Ohio State|
|LOCATION||Chicago (United Center)|
|DATE||Thursday, March 9|
|TIP-OFF||1:30 p.m. (CT)|
|RADIO||Hawkeye Sports Network|
No. 5 seed (19-12, 11-9) will play either No. 12 seed Wisconsin or No. 13 seed Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament Second Round on Thursday at the United Center in Chicago at 1:30 p.m. (CT).
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 tournament game will be televised on Big Ten Network (4K where available). Kevin Kugler, Stephen Bardo, and Andy Katz will call the action.
BIG TEN TOURNAMENT STORYLINES
- This year marks the second straight year Iowa will be the No. 5 seed at the B1G Tournament. The Hawkeyes won their third tournament title winning four games in four days in 2022.
- Iowa has placed fifth place or better in the Big Ten standings seven of the last nine years.
- Iowa has 13 combined wins over teams in the top two quadrants, second most in the Big Ten behind Purdue (16).
- Fran McCaffery has guided seven players to first team All-Big Ten status eight of the last 10 seasons, including Kris Murray (unanimous by the media) this year.
- Fran McCaffery has amassed 126 Big Ten regular season victories, tying Tom Davis (126) for most in program history.
- Iowa finished the regular season tied for fifth place in the Big Ten standings, its fifth consecutive upper division Big Ten finish and 10th over the last 11 seasons. Iowa is the only Big Ten team to have first-division finishes each of the past five seasons.
- The Hawkeyes boasted a Big Ten-best 7-3 record and percentage (.700) against the top half of the conference standings. Furthermore, Iowa went 9-4 (.692) against teams starting Big Ten Tournament play Thursday or Friday.
- 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 (4.19) this year. He also led the nation in 2020, boasting a 4.6 ratio. He has amassed 523 career assists, sixth most in program history. McCaffery’s nine assists in the regular season finale moved him past B.J. Armstrong (517) for sixth place. McCaffery has played in 111 Hawkeye wins, tying Jordan Bohannon for most in program history.
- Kris Murray, who is an Oscar Robertson and Wooden Award semifinalist and Sporting News Third Team All-American, is the only Division I player to average 20+ points, 8+ rebounds, and have made 60+ 3-pointers this season. Murray surpassed 900 points career points last weekend against Nebraska (March 5).
- Iowa has made a combined 42 triples over its last three games (17 vs. Michigan State; 13 at Indiana; 12 vs. Nebraska).
- Filip Rebraca has reached double digits in scoring a team-best 26 times. Rebraca is one of nine 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 17th nationally in scoring offense (80.6). The Hawkeyes have led the league in scoring six of the last 10 seasons, including the last five.
- Iowa is third in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7), 11th in fewest turnovers per game (9.9), 14th in assists per game (16.7), and 31st in fewest fouls per game (14.8).
- The Hawkeyes are 12-2 this season when making nine or more 3-pointers in a game.
6 HAWKEYES EARN POSTSEASON BIG TEN RECOGNITION
Kris Murray was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten honoree by both the media and coaches. Filip Rebraca was a third team pick by the media and honorable mention by the coaches. Connor McCaffery and Tony Perkins were honorable mention selections by both the media and coaches. Payton Sandfort was chosen as the conference’s Sixth Man of the Year by the Big Ten by the coaches. Patrick McCaffery earned the team’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award for the second straight season.
Murray was a unanimous first team selection by the media, marking the fourth straight season a Hawkeye has been a unanimous first team selection (Keegan Murray in 2022; Luka Garza in 2020 and 2021).
Head coach Fran McCaffery has coached a first-team All-Big Ten honoree in eight of the last 10 seasons, matching the most over a 10-year span in program history (1939-48). Murray joins Devyn Marble (2014), Aaron White (2015), Jarrod Uthoff (2016), Peter Jok (2017), Garza (2020 and 2021), and Keegan Murray (2022) as first team selections.
Murray averages a team-best 20.5 points, eight rebounds, and one block per game. He has scored 30+ points four times this season, 25+ points nine times, and 20+ points 15 times.
Rebraca ranks second on the squad in points (13.9) and rebounds (7.6) per game, first in field goal accuracy (.571), blocks per contest (1.0) and free throws made (98) and attempted (149).
Connor McCaffery leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.19) by a wide margin. He has played in 111 wins, tying former teammate Jordan Bohannon for most in program history. McCaffery is averaging 6.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and a team-best 3.8 assists per game this year.
Perkins ranks third on the team in points per game (12.4), first in steals (43), second in assists per game (2.8) and tied for fourth in rebounds per outing (4.0). His 84 free throws made are second most on the team. He has reached double figures in scoring 19 times this season, including five of the last six games.
Sandfort becomes the fourth Hawkeye to earn Sixth Man of the Year accolades, joining Doug Thomas (2006), Gabriel Olaseni (2015) and Nicholas Baer (2017). Sandfort averages 10.2 points, 1.8 3-pointers, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists.
Patrick McCaffery averages 10.1 points and 3.6 rebounds in 25 games.
IOWA IN THE BIG TEN TOURNAMENT
Iowa has posted an 22-21 record in Big Ten Tournament games. The Hawkeyes earned tournament titles in 2001, 2006, and 2022 and lost in the title game in 2002. Only Michigan State (34), Illinois (31), Ohio State (29), Wisconsin (26), and Michigan (25) have more wins and a higher winning percentage than the Hawkeyes. Michigan State has won six tournament titles, Ohio State has won four, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois have won three, while Michigan has two tournament titles (Ohio State was forced to vacate its 2002 title).
Iowa has played 11 different teams in the event, having met each team except Nebraska and Maryland at least once. Iowa (2001 as a No. 6 seed; 2022 as a No. 5 seed) and Michigan (2017 as a No. 8 seed; 2018 as a No. 5 seed) are the only teams to claim the tournament title by winning four games in four days.
Iowa has been eliminated by the tournament champion six times, including Michigan in the 1998 quarterfinals and 2018 first round, Michigan State in the 2000 quarterfinals and 2012 quarterfinals, Ohio State in the 2002 title game, and Illinois in the 2021 semifinals.
The 2020 Big Ten Tournament was canceled after Wednesday’s opening round games due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
IOWA BY SEEDING
This year marks the sixth time Iowa has garnered the No. 5 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, including the second consecutive year. The No. 5 seed is its fourth best seed in the 25-year history of the event.
ALL-TIME SERIES RESULTS
Iowa holds a narrow 84-83 advantage over Ohio State in the series. The Hawkeyes have won three of the last four meetings. The two teams split this season’s two meetings, with each team winning on its home floor.
Wisconsin holds a narrow 87-87 edge in the series against Wisconsin. That record includes a Wisconsin forfeit in 1983. The Badgers swept the Hawkeyes this season, winning 78-75 (OT) in Iowa City and 64-52 in Madison.
NEBRASKA UPENDS HAWKEYES IN REGULAR SEASON FINALE
Nebraska snapped Iowa’s seven-game home win streak with an 81-77 triumph over the Hawkeyes in the regular season finale on Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.
- Nebraska snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes in Iowa City.
- Patrick McCaffery netted a team-high 23 points, his highest scoring total since a career-high 24 against Wisconsin on Dec. 11, 2022. McCaffery sank a career-high six triples, equaling the most by a Hawkeye this season (Payton Sandfort at No. 15 Indiana).
- Connor McCaffery was credited with a game-high nine assists, while also totaling eight points and eight rebounds. His assists total moved the senior past B.J. Armstrong for sixth in all-time assists in program history. The senior has collected 5+ assists in five of Iowa’s last eight contests.
- All-America candidate Kris Murray scored 22 points and had seven rebounds, reaching 20+ points a team-best 15 times this season.
- Iowa had a +9 turnover margin and recorded a season-high 12 steals.
- Iowa did not make a field goal over the final six minutes of the game, misfiring on its final seven attempts.
- The Hawkeyes made 12 3-pointers, nine in the first half. Iowa dropped just its second game of the season when making nine or more 3-pointers (12-2).
- Iowa has made a combined 42 triples over its last three games (17 vs. Michigan State; 13 at No. 15 Indiana; 12 vs. Nebraska).
- Payton Sandfort made two 3-pointers. He has drained a combined 13 triples over the last three games.
- Iowa dropped its regular season finale for the second straight year (74-72 at Illinois in 2022).
- Sam Griesel (16 points) and Jamarques Lawrence (15 points) led the Huskers. Lawrence scored all of his points from 3-point range.
LEADER OF THE PACK
Connor McCaffery is Iowa’s career leader in assist-to-turnover ratio, amassing a 3.63 ratio in 164 career games (523 assists; 144 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 4.19 assist-to-turnover ratio this season is tops in the nation by a wide margin. Reece Beekman of Virginia ranks second (3.68).
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, who was tabbed third-team all-league by the media, 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 (.571), and second in rebounds (7.6) and points per game (13.9). He is pulling down 2.9 offensive boards per outing, fifth best in the Big Ten and 49th nationally. His field goal percentage (.571) ranks 36th in the country.
Rebraca netted career point No. 1,500 against Eastern Illinois (Dec. 21). He has scored 638 points the last two seasons as a Hawkeye (67 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 26 times this year and posted a team-best nine double-doubles, fifth most in the league. Rebraca has scored in double figures 23 of the last 25 games. 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).
SANDFORT TABBED BIG TEN SIXTH MAN OF THE YEAR
Payton Sandfort has been named the 2023 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year. He averages 10.2 points, 1.8 3-pointers, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. He drained four or more triples in five games, including two of the last three contests. Sandfort has made a combined 13 treys over the last three games (Michigan State, Indiana, Nebraska). The native of Waukee, Iowa, has scored in double figures 13 times this year.
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 tallied 24 of his career-high 26 points in the second half and overtime against the Wolverines. Sandfort posted 22 points, including sinking a game-tying triple with three seconds left to send Iowa’s home game versus MSU to overtime. He 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.
Sandfort has netted double figures in nine of the last 17 games. Iowa is 11-4 when Sandfort makes multiple triples in a game.
Off the court, Sandfort excels in the classroom earning 2023 Academic All-District honors and Fall Semester Dean’s List distinction in 2022.
MURRAY EARNS POSTSEASON NATIONAL RECOGNITION
Junior Kris Murray has been named Wooden and Oscar Robertson semifinalists, first-team Big Ten (unanimous by the media), third-team All-America by Sporting News, Naismith Midseason Team, a Karl Malone Award semifinalist, and recognized on the Big Ten Preseason All-Big Ten Team.
Kris Murray is the only Division I player to average 20+ points, 8+ rebounds, and have made 60+ 3-pointers this season.
Murray is averaging a team-best 20.5 points and eight rebounds per outing, including 21 points per conference game. 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.
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 29 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. He totaled 26 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two blocks in Iowa’s road triumph at No. 15 Indiana last week.
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 164 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, who was named an honorable mention all-conference selection, is averaging 6.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and a team-best 3.8 assists per game this year. He has made a single-season best 37 triples, which are third most on the team. McCaffery 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. McCaffery had a game-high nine assists, to go along with eight rebounds, and eight points in Iowa’s regular season finale against Nebraska.
He is tops in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.19). McCaffery has had zero turnovers 13 times this season, including five of Iowa’s last 10 outings.
McCaffery has only missed seven free throws this season (45-of-52). 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 10 of the last 11 years. Iowa and Michigan State have each recorded a Big Ten-best 10 first division finishes since 2013.
- Fran McCaffery has coached a first-team All-Big Ten honoree eight of the last 10 seasons. He has guided Iowa to a fifth place or better finishes in the Big Ten seven of the last nine 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).