The Nebraska Cornhuskers close out the 2022-2023 regular season Sunday on the road against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Nebraska defeated Iowa 66-50 in Lincoln on Dec. 29 in the first meeting between the two rivals this season.
A victory for the Huskers would result in a winning record for the regular season, a first for UNL since the 2017-2018 season. It would also mark the first-ever sweep of the Hawkeyes in Big Ten play in program history. That also means it would be the first time as Big Ten foes that UNL would have beaten Iowa twice in men’s basketball and also in football in the same academic year ever.
Nebraska will be looking to get back to its winning ways after Michigan State snapped a four-game win streak Tuesday to spoil the Huskers’ senior night. Prior to that game, UNL had won five of its last six. Iowa, meanwhile, is on a two-game win streak, including a stunning finish to regulation against MSU in Iowa City last Saturday to force overtime and get the win.
A 90-68 road victory at No. 15 Indiana followed on Tuesday. The Hawkeyes shot 56 percent from the field, including 13-of-23 from 3-point range, as Kris Murray and Tony Perkins combined for 49 points. Murray had 26 points and seven rebounds, while Perkins added 23 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists.
Both teams have plenty of motivation heading into this one. A road victory would mark Nebraska’s third Quad 1 of the season in addition to the first-ever sweep of Iowa. It would also mark just the second time Nebraska has won at least two in a row in conference action against Iowa. Finally, it would set the Huskers up for a first-round bye should other games fall the right away as well. That would be the first for Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament since 2018 when the Huskers earned a four seed.
For Iowa, a win could assure the Hawkeyes of a double bye in next week’s Big Ten Tournament in Chicago and as much as a potential second-place finish in a wild Big Ten race depending on how other matchups finish this weekend.
Iowa comes into Sunday’s game with a 19-11 overall record and an 11-8 mark in Big Ten action. The Hawkeyes snapped a two-game losing streak last Saturday with a stunning comeback against Michigan State. Iowa rallied from an 11-point deficit in the final 55 seconds, hitting five 3-pointers as regulation closed to force overtime and then notced a 112-106 victory over Michigan State.
Iowa followed that up with a big 90-68 road win win at No. 15 Indiana on Tuesday. Iowa is 8-1 at home in league play and averages 89.3 points per game. The Hawkeyes have had their share of close games at home with three going into overtime in addition to two point win over Illinois in regulation.
The University of Iowa’s team features a typical Fran McCaffery explosive offensive attack that averages 80.7 points per game. The Hawkeyes lead the Big Ten in scoring and rank in the top 20 nationally. Iowa is great at getting to the line as well, averaging nearly 21 free throws per game and have been to the charity stripe nearly 200 more times then opponents. No word yet on whether the McCaffery stare down was a deal with the devil and concerted effort to terrify officials with the threat of tunnel chase downs to gain this advantage.
The Hawkeyes are led by junior forward Kris Murray whoaverages 20.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Fifth-year forward Filip Rebraca (14.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg), junior guard Tony Perkins (12.6 ppg), and sophomore guard Payton Sandfort (10.2 ppg) also average double figures in scoring.
Iowa leads the all-time series against Nebraska 24-14. The third-oldest against Big Ten foes, it dates back to 1907. Only the series with Minnesota and Wisconsin have been around longer for Nebraska. The programs had not met since 1976 before UNL joined the Big Ten in 2011-2012. Since then, Nebraska is 7-12 against Iowa since joining the Big Ten. The Huskers have won just once in Iowa City during that span, a 79-73 victory on Jan. 26, 2012. The home team has won 11 of the past 12 meetings since the start of the 2016-2017 season.
Last time out, Juwan Gary’s 14 points led five Huskers in double figures. Nebraska held Iowa to just 26% shooting on the defensive end while cruising to a 66-50 victory on Dec. 29. Gary, whose nine rebounds left him just shy of a double-double, played a vital cog in the Huskers’ best defensive performance since the 2018-2019 season. UNL held the Hawkeyes to 33 points below their Big Ten-leading scoring average.
In addition to Gary, Sam Griesel had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds while C.J. Wilcher (13), Emmanuel Bandoumel (10), and Derrick Walker (10) all finished in double figures scoring for the Huskers. Nebraska had a sellout crowd of 14,920 rocking on their feet with a 20-0 first-half run, turning a 9-8 lead into a 21-point cushion en-route to taking a 38-26 lead into the locker room. UNL eventually extended its lead to 24 points at one point in the second half as it cruised to a 16-point win.
The 50 points allowed was Nebraska’s best defensive effort under Fred Hoiberg and the lowest against a Big Ten opponent since UNL held Northwestern to 50 points on Feb. 16, 2018. The 26% shooting by the Hawkeyes was the lowest by a Husker opponent since UNL held Mississippi Valley State to just 19% on Nov. 6, 2018.
- When: Sunday, March 5 at 1:00 p.m. CT
- Where: Carver Hawkeyes Arena
- TV: Big Ten Network, streaming via FOX Sports App
- Announcers: Kevin Kugler (play-by-play), Robbie Hummel (analyst)
- Radio: Huskers Radio Network; Kent Pavelka (play-by-play), Jake Muhleisen (analyst)
Broadcast Stations: KLIN (1400 AM) in Lincoln, KKCD (105.9 FM) in Omaha, KHYY (106.9 FM) in Scottsbluff, and KAMI (1580 AM) in Lexington
Also available on Huskers.com and the Huskers app.
The pregame broadcast with Pavelka and Muhleisen begins one hour before tipoff.
Iowa No. 31 in KenPom/No. 32 NET
2022-23 Record: 19-11 (11-8)
Head Coach: Fran McCaffery
Record at Iowa: 261-173 (13th year)
Career Record: 512-350 (27th year)
Nebraska No. 99 in KenPom/No. 94 NET
2022-23 Record: 153-15 (8-11)
Head Coach: Fred Hoiberg
Record at Nebraska: 39-82 (4th year)
Career Record: 154-138 (9th year)