Winter storm, plane issue may affect Iowa-Ohio State men’s basketball game

The Hawkeyes were slated to depart for Columbus Wednesday night, but a mechanical issue with their plane forced them to wait until Thursday morning.


Grace Smith

Iowa forward Keegan Murray goes up for a layup during a basketball game between Iowa and No. 6 Purdue at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. The Boilermakers defeated the Hawkeyes, 83-73. Murray shot 4-11 in field goals.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

Iowa men’s basketball will continue its slate of ranked opponents as it takes on No. 16 Ohio State in Columbus on Thursday.

The 14-7 Hawkeyes are currently on a two-game losing streak and 4-6 in conference play. The Buckeyes are 13-5 overall and 6-3 in the league, with victories over No. 9 Duke, No. 11 Wisconsin, and Seton Hall.

Ohio State is also one of the most efficient shooting teams in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes collectively shoot 48 percent from the field — second in the conference.

“They do not make mistakes and are really solid fundamentally,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said of Ohio State on Tuesday. “They’re a veteran club and have a lot of guys who can score.”

The Hawkeyes’ matchup with the Buckeyes will also pit two national player of the year candidates against each other.

Iowa forward Keegan Murray and Ohio State junior forward EJ Liddell were both named to the late season Wooden Award Top 20 List on Monday.

Liddell, who was once recruited by Iowa, is averaging 19.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game for Ohio State. Murray tabs 21.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.

Murray is coming off a 21-point effort in Iowa’s double-overtime loss to Penn State. He scored all of his points in the second half and overtime periods — including a tip-in at the buzzer at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime.

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McCaffery also said he is toying with the idea of switching up his starting lineup. Currently, Murray, senior forward Filip Rebraca, senior guard Jordan Bohannon, junior guard Joe Toussaint, and sophomore forward Patrick McCaffery fill the Hawkeyes’ starting lineup.

“We’ve had a lot of unique lineups on the floor that have played substantial minutes, so I have never really obsessed over who the starters are,” Fran McCaffery said. “We have had some difficult starts, so it is something we are thinking about.”

Senior forward Connor McCaffery will be out Thursday’s game because of an injury he suffered at Penn State. He had his best game of the season against the Nittany Lions, registering 12 points and six rebounds before leaving the contest in the second half.

Connor McCaffery has arm contusion that has affected a nerve, and Fran McCaffery says he currently cannot dribble.

The senior was in Iowa’s starting lineup in 2020-21 but has come off the bench this season after undergoing double hip surgery in the offseason. He usually runs the floor with freshman Peyton Sandfort and sophomores Ahron Ulis, Kris Murray, and Tony Perkins.

“A lot of times he was in there with that second unit which is younger, and he has been really good with Peyton, Tony, Aaron and Kris,” Fran McCaffery said.

Iowa is currently scheduled to tip off against Ohio State at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Value City Arena in Columbus.

Eleven Warriors, a Columbus-based news site, reported that on Wednesday night that mechanical issues with Iowa’s plane, along with a winter storm in Columbus, may postpone the game.

The Hawkeyes were supposed to leave Wednesday night but will now attempt to depart on Thursday morning. Weather conditions in Columbus may worsen overnight, affecting Iowa’s travel. Iowa Athletics has not released an official statement on the matter.