MBB Preview -- at Utah -- NIT Second Round


OPPONENT #3 Iowa (19-14) at #2 Utah (20-14)
LOCATION Jon M. Huntsman Center | Salt Lake City, Utah
DATE Sunday, March 24
TIP-OFF 8 p.m. (CT)
RADIO Hawkeye Radio Network


The third-seeded University of Iowa men’s basketball team heads to Salt Lake City for an NIT Second Round game at Utah on Sunday at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The game will tipoff at 8 p.m. (CT) and be televised on ESPN2.


Radio: Sunday’s game will be broadcast on the Hawkeye Radio Network with Gary Dolphin (play-by-play) and Bobby Hansen (color) on the call. 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 includes a 60-minute pregame show.
TV: Sunday’s game will be televised on ESPN2 with Dave Feldman (play-by-play) and Corey Williams (color) on the call.


  • The Hawkeyes will play in the NIT Second Round for a sixth time in program history, facing No. 2 seed Utah on Sunday in Salt Lake City. It is just the second meeting all-time between the two teams.
  • A win Sunday would give Iowa 20 wins for the ninth time under head coach Fran McCaffery and for the 31st time in program history.
  • With a victory, Iowa would host either South Florida or VCU on March 26 or March 27 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
  • Iowa is making its ninth NIT appearance in program history and first since 2016-17. It is Iowa’s 11th postseason appearance under McCaffery (seven NCAAs, 4 NITs) and the 17th postseason appearance of McCaffery’s career.
  • The Hawkeyes have won 10 or more Big Ten games in a school record six consecutive seasons. The team has won 10+ Big Ten games in nine of the last 10 seasons under McCaffery. Iowa has 11 Big Ten upper division finishes in the last 12 years.
  • Iowa had all five starters garner All-Big Ten recognition. Owen Freeman became the second player in school history to be named the league’s Freshman of the Year, while Tony Perkins earned second-team honors and Payton Sandfort was a third-teamer. Josh Dix, Ben Krikke and Freeman also earned honorable mention honors.
  • Sandfort scored a career-high and team season-best 30 points, making 9-of-14 field goals, including a career-best seven 3-pointers in the win over Kansas State. He also tied a career-high with 12 rebounds to notch his fifth double-double.
  • Iowa had four 14+ assist games in its history entering the 2023-24 season; Perkins has two of them since Jan. 12.
  • Sandfort posted the first triple-double in program history, finishing with 26 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and three blocks in a win over Penn State on Feb. 27. It was the first 25-10-10-3 game in regulation since Marquette’s Dwyane Wade did so against top-ranked Kentucky in the 2003 NCAA Tournament.
  • Iowa is the only Division I school in the last 25 years to have a 25-point triple-double by a women’s player (Caitlin Clark) and men’s player (Sandfort) in the same season.
  • Sandfort has scored 20+ points in four of the last five games. He became Iowa’s 54th 1,000 point scorer on March 10 against Illinois and is averaging 24.2 points, eight rebounds and 3.8 assists over his last five games.
  • Freeman has five double-doubles this season– the most by a Big Ten freshman and tied for the seventh-most by a freshman nationally. They are the most by a Hawkeye freshman since Melsahn Basabe (6) in 2010-11.
  • Perkins is currently one of 12 players nationally with 450+ points, 130+ rebounds, 140+ assists and 50+ steals. He ranks in the top 18 in the Big Ten in points, assists and steals.


  • The Runnin’ Utes, who are 6-9 over their last 15 games, bring a 20-14 overall record into the NIT Second Round. Utah defeated UC Irvine, 84-75, on March 19 in Salt Lake City.
  • Utah finished 9-11 in the Pac-12, tying for sixth place.
  • Utes’ leading scorer, Branden Carlson, was a first-team All-Pac 12 selection for a second straight season. He leads the team in scoring (17.2 points), rebounds (6.9) and blocks (52).
  • Gabe Madsen averages 13.1 points and has a league-best 90 3-point field goals, while Devion Smith averages 12.2 points and 5.9 rebounds with a team-high 170 assists. Smith, who was an honorable mention all-league selection, has three triple-doubles and 11 double-doubles in 2023-24.
  • The Runnin’ Utes have six players averaging at least 8.6 points per game and the team averages 8.9 3-point field goals per contest — ranking second in the Pac-12 and 43rd nationally.
  • Utah is 16th nationally in assists (17.4) per game and ranks in the top-32 nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.50).


  • Sunday’s game will be just the second meeting all-time between Iowa and Utah. It is the first game played on a home court.
  • The Utes beat Iowa, 92-88, on a neutral court at the Los Angeles Classic in California in 1964.
  • The game is Iowa’s first against a PAC-12 opponent since facing Oregon in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament in 2021. The Ducks downed the Hawkeyes, 95-80.
  • Iowa and Utah are scheduled to face one another next season in a neutral site game in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at the Sanford Pentagon on Dec. 21, 2024.



The Hawkeyes made 11 3-point field goals and led wire-to-wire in a 90-81 NIT First Round victory over Kansas State on March 19 in Iowa City. Iowa got double-doubles from Payton Sandfort (30 points, 12 rebounds) and Ben Krikke (24 points, 11 rebounds).
• Sandfort scored 22 of his 30 in the first half; Krikke scored 21 of his 24 in the second.
• Owen Freeman added 10 points and Tony Perkins had nine points and eight assists.


  • Sophomore Dasonte Bowen will miss the remainder of the season because of injury. The guard, who had season-ending knee surgery on March 6, entered the transfer portal on March 20.
  • The Hawkeyes are 29th nationally in pace of play in 2023-24, averaging 74.2 possessions per 40 minutes. Iowa is leading the Big Ten and 10th in the country, averaging 14.94 fastbreak points per contest.
  • Iowa went 3-9 in Quad 1 games, 5-3 in Quad 2, 4-2 in Quad 3 and 6-0 in Quad 4 games this season.
  • The Hawkeyes led in the second half in seven of their 10 Big Ten regular season losses.
  • Iowa has had three different players — Payton Sandfort, Tony Perkins and Brock Harding — record four games with 10+ assists this season.
  • The Hawkeyes have the third-best team field goal percentage in the Big Ten at 47.6 percent, which ranks 36th nationally.
  • Sandfort is leading the Big Ten with 94 3-point field goals — 30th nationally — on a league-high 243 attempts. He also is third in the Big Ten with a 38.7 3-point field goal percentage. The forward has hit two or more 3-pointers in 27 games.
  • Iowa is one the nation’s top offensive teams, averaging 83.2 points in 33 games. The Hawkeyes are third in the Big Ten and 14th nationally. The team has scored at least 84 points in 19 games.
  • The Hawkeyes are averaging 83+ points for the third time in the last four seasons.
  • Iowa is second in the Big Ten and rank ninth nationally, averaging 17.8 assists per game. Iowa is leading the Big Ten and rank third nationally with a 1.85 assist-to-turnover ratio.
  • Senior Tony Perkins has started 80 consecutive games dating back to the 2021-22 season.
  • Iowa has played seven games decided by seven or fewer points this season (5-2 record).
  • The Hawkeyes have won 90 of their last 96 nonconference home games, dating back to 2012.
  • Iowa has had six players hit the 20-point mark this season (Ben Krikke, Tony Perkins, Payton Sandfort, Patrick McCaffery, Owen Freeman and Josh Dix).
  • Iowa has two players ranked in the top 18 in the Big Ten in scoring — Sandfort (eighth, 16.7) and Perkins (18th, 14.3).
  • Ahoy 100. Iowa has reached the century mark in four games this season. The Hawkeyes have scored 100+ points 13 times since the start of the 2021-22 season.
  • The team is 12-3 when attempting at least 20 free throws, 13-2 when shooting 50+ percent from the field and 10-2 when making eight or more 3-pointers.
  • Iowa has had at least four players reach double digits in 20 games this season.
  • The Hawkeyes are 13-4 inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena this season and 27-7 in its last 34 home games. It is the sixth straight year the team has won at least 10 home games. Iowa has won at least 10 home games in 12 of head coach Fran McCaffery’s 14 seasons.
  • The Hawkeyes have held four opponents under 40 percent shooting this season. The team is undefeated in the four contests.
  • Iowa held Florida A&M to 52 points on Dec. 16 in Des Moines — the fewest points allowed since giving up 51 points to Portland State in 2021.
  • Senior Tony Perkins has eight games with seven or more assists this season and 13 games with at least five assists. He is leading the team with 155 assists against 65 turnovers.
  • The Hawkeyes are leading the Big Ten and rank 17th nationally in free throw percentage, making 77.7 percent of their attempts this season. The team tied a single game free throw percentage (min. 13 makes) school record, making all 18 of its free throw attempts at Michigan on Jan. 27.
  • Sandfort made 18-of-19 free throws against Penn State — the most makes and attempts since Peter Jok (22-of-23) vs. Indiana in 2016-17. Sandfort made 16 consecutive free throws after missing his third attempt in the first half, which are the most consecutive makes in a single game in program history.
  • Sandfort is leading the Big Ten and ranks 14th nationally, making 90.8 percent (99-of-109) of his attempts this season.
  • Sandfort has been Iowa’s leading rebounder (or tied for the team lead) in 11 games this season. The forward is averaging a career-best 6.7 rebounds per game, which ranks 11th in the Big Ten.
  • The Hawkeyes earned 11 Big Ten weekly honors this season — Ben Krikke (Player of the Week – 11/20, Owen Freeman (Freshman of Week (11/13, 11/20, 12/4, 12/18, 1/8, 1/15, 1/29, 2/12, 2/19) and Payton Sandfort (Player of the Week, 3/4). Freeman is the first Hawkeye freshman to earn the award in consecutive weeks and the nine honors are a single season school record and the second-most in league history.
  • Iowa has placed fifth or better in the Big Ten standings in five of the last six seasons and 10 of the last 12 years. The program has won 10 or more Big Ten games in a program record six consecutive seasons and nine of the last 10 seasons.
  • The Hawkeyes have led the league in scoring in seven of the last 11 seasons, including six straight years.


The Hawkeyes are making their ninth NIT appearance in school history and the first since the 2016-17 season. Iowa is 11-8 all-time in the NIT.
• Iowa has appeared in the postseason NIT in 1995, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2012, 2013, 2017 and 2024.
• The Hawkeyes are appearing in the NIT Second Round for the sixth time. It is the third time the program has played a road game in the second round.
• Iowa went 1-1 in their most recent appearance, downing South Dakota and falling to TCU in overtime in two games played in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
• Iowa is 2-1 in road games in NIT history. The Hawkeyes are 7-5 in NIT home games.
• Iowa advanced to the NIT Final Four and finished as runner-up in 2013. The Hawkeyes lost to Baylor in the NIT Championship game in Madison Square Garden.


Iowa had all five of its starters earn All-Big Ten recognition for the 2023-24 season.
• Owen Freeman was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year — the second Hawkeye all-time to earn the accolade, joining Jess Settles in 1994. He was also honorable mention All-Big Ten and was named to the league’s All-Freshman Team (the first since 2020).
• Senior Tony Perkins was named a second-team All-Big Ten honoree by the coaches and honorable-mention by the media.
• Junior Payton Sandfort was a third-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media.
• Sophomore Josh Dix and graduate Ben Krikke were honorable mention All-Big Ten honorees by the media. Krikke was also named Iowa’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award recipient.


Junior Payton Sandfort scored a career-high 30 points, making 9-of-14 field goals, including a career-best seven 3-pointers in Iowa’s NIT First Round victory over Kansas State. He also tied a career-high with 12 rebounds to record his fifth double-double.
• The 30-point performance was one point off Devyn Marble’s NIT school record. It was the first 30-point scoring output by a Hawkeye since last season when Tony Perkins put up 32 against Illinois.
• Sandfort’s seven 3-pointers tied Jordan Bohannon and Marble for the most 3s made in an NIT game. They are tied for the 10th most in a game in school history and the most by a Hawkeye since Bohannon vs. North Carolina in 2020.
• The forward was cooking early, scoring 11 of the first 13 points, 17 of 22 over first eight minutes and 22 in the first half.


Senior Tony Perkins is an all-around guard and an all-time Hawkeye. The Indianapolis native is one of three players in school history to have amassed 1,100+ points, 375+ rebounds, 300+ assists and 130+ steals.
• Perkins is among a group that includes Devyn Marble and Jeff Horner.