Iowa men’s basketball not overlooking road matchup with 7-20 Nebraska

The Cornhuskers are 1-15 in Big Ten play this season, picking up their lone league win against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Feb. 9.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa forward Patrick McCaffery fights his way through defenders for a layup during a men’s basketball game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena between No. 25 Iowa and Michigan State on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. McCaffery scored five points. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans, 86-60.

Ben Palya, Sports Reporter

The Iowa men’s basketball team has won five of its last six games, climbing to sixth place in the Big Ten Conference standings. The Hawkeyes are now just two spots away from one of the league tournament’s double-byes — which are given to the conference’s top four teams after the regular season.

The Hawkeyes boast 19-8 overall and 9-7 Big Ten records with just four games left on their schedule.

Iowa will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, for its next game. The Hawkeyes will take on the 7-20 Cornhuskers at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery attributed his team’s recent run of success to its depth and physicality.

“Our guys are smart, they are tough, and we are deep,” McCaffery said. “We have fresh bodies out there a good portion of the time, which also helps our rebounding.”

A lineup change McCaffery made has also been helping the Hawkeyes of late. Ahead of Iowa’s Jan. 6 matchup with Minnesota, McCaffery inserted sophomore guard Tony Perkins into his starting lineup.

The move shifted senior Jordan Bohannon to the point guard position. Junior Joe Toussaint was moved to the bench to accommodate the lineup change.

Since Bohannon was moved from shooting to point guard, he’s scored in double figures in every game he’s played.

While Perkins is technically Iowa’s new starting shooting guard, he’s still split playing time with sophomore Ahron Ulis and Toussaint.

“I am really impressed with those guys,” McCaffery said. “Whichever one of those guys goes in produces.”

Iowa and Nebraska have already met once this season. The Hawkeyes cruised to a 98-75 win over the Cornhuskers at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Feb. 13.

Sophomore Keegan Murray scored a career-high 37 points for the Hawkeyes, shooting 51 percent from the floor.

Iowa’s win over Nebraska two weeks ago, however, may not indicate that the Hawkeyes will find success in Lincoln on Friday.

Because of COVID-19, Iowa has not journeyed to Pinnacle Bank Arena since 2019-20. The Hawkeyes haven’t won a game against the Cornhuskers in Lincoln since 2014-15.

Given their stretch of woes in Lincoln, the Hawkeyes are still wary of the Cornhuskers — even if Nebraska has a 1-15 Big Ten Conference record.

“It’s great to get really excited and hyped for a game, but with this league, if you do not have a professional and business-like approach, you will not be successful,” McCaffery said. “Our guys understand that.”

McCaffery added that guard Connor McCaffery will be available for Friday’s Iowa-Nebraska game. The senior injured his arm in the Hawkeyes’ 86-60 win over the Michigan State Spartans at Carver on Tuesday.

RELATED: Strong start leads No. 25 Iowa men’s basketball to blowout win over Michigan State

Tipoff between Iowa and Nebraska is scheduled for 8 p.m. The contest will air live on the Big Ten Network.

Iowa will play three of its last four games of the year on the road, traveling to Lincoln, Ann Arbor, and Champaign to take on Nebraska, Michigan, and Illinois, respectively.

The 2022 Big Ten Tournament will be held at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis March 9-13.