The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa men’s basketball notebook | Hawkeyes look for third straight win Saturday when they take on No. 12 Illinois

Iowa is looking for its first win in the State Farm Center since 2018, and will have to take down the Big Ten’s top rebounding team in order to do so.
Cody Blissett
Iowa forward Ben Krikke goes up for a shot during a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Arkansas State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023.

The Iowa men’s basketball team will look to earn its third straight Quad 1 victory as it ventures east to Champaign for a Big Ten battle with No. 12 Illinois on Saturday at 1 p.m. 

After notching upsets over then-20th-ranked Wisconsin at home and on the road against Michigan State, the Hawkeyes find themselves back in contention with a .500 conference mark – good enough for eighth place in the Big Ten. Illinois, on the other hand, is one of four Big Ten schools with double-digit conference victories but has played .500 basketball in its past four matchups, dropping road games to Michigan State and Penn State. 

“It’s a very veteran-oriented group,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said of Illinois, which boasts four seniors atop its minutes-per-game category. “They are extremely athletic and have multiple scorers. I think they are one of the best teams in the [Big Ten] and one of the best in the country.” 

The Illini are headlined by guard Terrance Shannon Jr., who averages 22.1 points per game – tied for second-best in the conference. Over his past four matchups, the 6-foot-6, 225-pounder is scoring at a blistering rate of 30.25 points per contest. Shannon is projected as the No. 21 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, per CBS Sports. 

Hailing from Chicago, Shannon missed six games this season after being suspended for a rape charge filed in Kansas back in December 2023. On Jan. 19, a federal judge reinstated Shannon to the team, arguing that the player was deprived of “protected property interests” without due process – mentioning his professional prospects, family dependents, and NIL income as examples. 

During Shannon’s absence, senior Marcus Domask took over head coach Brad Underwood’s offense, scoring 20.8 points per game – including 32 against Northwestern on Jan. 2. For the season, Domask is dishing out a team-high 3.5 assists per game while shooting just over 45.7 percent from the floor. 

This campaign is Domask’s first in Champaign, as the 6-foot-6, 215-pounder transferred from Southern Illinois in April 2023. With the Salukis, Domask piled up 1,615 points over four seasons. 

“He can play the point, play off-guard, and he can guard pretty much four positions,” McCaffery said of Domask. “He’s a veteran who doesn’t rattle typically and makes winning plays.” 

While the Illini aren’t known for their outside shooting – ranking seventh in the Big Ten with a 34 percent hit rate from downtown – they are a force in the paint. Led by senior forward Quincy Guerrier, Illinois tops the conference in rebounds per game and offensive rebounds per game. In those categories, Iowa ranks eighth. 

The last time the two schools played was back on Feb. 4, 2023, when the Hawkeyes were victorious, 81-79, but were also dominated in the rebounding department, 36-27. The key difference in that matchup was turnovers, as Illinois coughed up the ball 14 times. 

Part of Iowa’s rebounding effort will come from Ben Krikke, who turned heads against the Spartans with a season-high 14 boards. That performance was the first time he registered more than five rebounds since Jan. 6 against Wisconsin. Following Iowa’s loss to Maryland on Feb. 14, McCaffery challenged Krikke to step up his game under the basket, and just two games later, was left unsurprised. 

“Ben is an awesome young guy, incredibly competitive, and very talented,” the head coach said. “When I challenge someone, I don’t ever challenge them to do what they can’t do.” 

Illinois won’t likely be Iowa’s last Quad 1 opportunity, as the Hawkeyes face off against the Illini again on March 10 and take on Northwestern in Evanston on March 2. As of Friday, the Wildcats are 55th in the NET Rankings. 

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About the Contributors
Matt McGowan
Matt McGowan, Pregame Editor
he/him/his Matt McGowan is The Daily Iowan's Pregame Editor. He is a sophomore double majoring in journalism and mass communications and American studies with a minor in sport studies.  This is his second year with the DI
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.