With a record of 6-2 through this point of the season, there are a number of takeaways to examine from each of the team’s first eight games.
While the Hawkeyes have appeared in the top 25 so far this season, they have had their share of struggles as well. Each game through this point has provided some insight regarding who the Iowa Hawkeyes are this season, as well as who they could be going forward.
Iowa vs. Bethune: W 89-58
In their first game of the 2022-2023 season, the Iowa Hawkeyes easily handled the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. The major takeaway from this game, which was a great way to set the tone for the Hawkeyes, was their starting five.
Each of Iowa’s starters played over 20 minutes in the game and was in the double digits in scoring. Junior guard, Tony Perkins, led the Hawkeyes in game one with 16 points, while 6’9” forward, Filip Rebraca led the team with 10 rebounds.
Game one for the Hawkeyes showed a well-rounded team win, exciting Iowa fans for the season moving forward.
— Iowa Hawkeyes on SR (@SRHawkeyes) November 8, 2022
Iowa vs. NC A&T: W 112-71
The Hawkeyes kept the momentum going after game one, putting up over 100 points and adding a second win by over 30 points to start their 2022-2023 season. Much like in game one, each of the five starters played over 20 minutes in the contest.
This time, four of the five found themselves in double digits in scoring, with both Kris Murray and Patrick McCaffery scoring over 20 points.
Kris Murray led the Hawkeyes in both scorings, with 22 points, and rebounds, with eight. Through their first two games of the season, the Hawkeyes were able to maintain the trend of well-rounded team wins, without truly being tested.
Tough night for UNC fans.
Football team loses to NC State in 2OT.
#1 ranked Basketball team loses to Iowa State. pic.twitter.com/0EmCeEXwFz
— Barstool Sportsbook (@BSSportsbook) November 26, 2022
Iowa vs. Seton Hall: W 83-67
Game three for the Hawkeyes, their first road game of the season, proved to be their toughest test of the season through the first three.
Still winning by 16 points, Iowa outscored Seton Hall by 12 points in the first half and four in the second half. This time, we saw a few of the Iowa starters creep up in minutes played, while also adding some significant minutes from the bench.
After a somewhat quiet game two, with 20 minutes played and six points scored, guard Tony Perkins joined Filip Rebraca and Kris Murray as the three Hawkeyes who played over 30 minutes of the game. Murray led the team with 29 points, with Perkins behind at 18, while both Murray and Rebraca shared the team lead with 11 rebounds each.
From the bench, we saw guards Ahron Ulis and Connor McCaffery playing significant minutes, both over 20 minutes in the contest, Ulis had the third most minutes played for the Hawkeyes in game three, with 27.
Locked On Now:
Iowa basketball beats Seton Hall
Full instant Reaction coming to your feed soon. pic.twitter.com/qWBv93S2t2
— Locked On Hawkeyes (@LockedOnIowa) November 17, 2022
No. 25 Iowa vs. Omaha: W 100-64
Creeping into the rankings for the first time this season, the Hawkeyes found themselves at number 25 in the nation following their first three games.
Omaha proved to be no match for Iowa in their fourth game of the year, as the Hawkeyes won their third game by over 30 points and scored over 100 points for the second time. Despite another lopsided victory,
Iowa starters each played over 20 minutes, with Kris Murray exploding with 30 points, leading the team.
Game four was a special one for the McCaffery family as a whole, as head coach Fran McCaffery’s team scored over 100 points, while his two sons, Patrick and Connor, each played over 20 minutes and scored in the double digits.
— Joseph Cress (@josephwcress) November 22, 2022
No. 25 Iowa vs. Clemson: W 74-71
Returning to the road for the second time this season, number 25 Iowa was finally tested in a narrow three-point victory over Clemson.
The undefeated Hawkeyes showed that they were able to work for their wins, even when things weren’t clicking offensively. Iowa shot only 38% from the field and 21% from three-point range, making this win all the more impressive.
Game five for the Hawkeyes was a truly telling one about the team’s character. They showed that even when shots aren’t falling, they are able to battle for wins, especially on the road against a tough ACC opponent.
— Iowa Men’s Basketball (@IowaHoops) November 26, 2022
No. 25 Iowa vs. TCU: L 66-79
Iowa’s undefeated season would end in their sixth game, in the championship game of the Emerald Coast Classic, against the TCU Horned Frogs.
The Hawkeyes’ offensive struggles continued, shooting 42% from the field and a horrendous 17% from behind the arc.
Scoring was led by guards Tony Perkins and Ahron Ulis, both with 15. Ulis was third on the team in minutes played with 24 coming off of the bench. This marked back-to-back games in the Hawkeyes struggled from the field, this time being unable to scratch out a win.
Iowa Basketball can see the light of a stretch that is Clemson, TCU, Georgia Tech, Duke, Iowa State and Wisconsin. Sell out Carver tomorrow!! pic.twitter.com/HPa2CaBel5
— Nate Swann (@Swann_Burgundy) December 10, 2022
Iowa vs. Georgia Tech: W 81-65
The Hawkeyes returned to the win column after facing the Yellow Jackets from Georgia Tech. Kris Murray was the highlight for the Hawkeyes, playing 39 of the game’s 40 minutes, scoring a career-high 31 points, while also adding 20 rebounds.
In their return home, Iowa had some more success putting points on the board, shooting 45% from the field and 34% from three, a major improvement after shooting 17% from three in their last game.
Iowa vs. No. 15 Duke: L 62-74
Recent struggles continued for the Hawkeyes, as the Blue Devils held them to 62 points, again shooting below 40% from the field and below 20% from three. Kris Murray and Filip Rebraca led the charge in minutes played for Iowa, with 36 and 33 respectively.
However, scoring was led by Patrick McCaffery and freshman Dasonte Bowen with 12 points each, Bowen’s coming from the bench. Despite the subpar team performance, this was a career high in points scored for the freshman Dasonte Bowen, who has seen action in five of the team’s eight games so far.
It will be interesting to see if Bowen will continue to see meaningful minutes for the Hawkeyes, potentially becoming a key player for the team in the near future.
Despite their 6-2 record, the Hawkeyes have struggled to score on a few occasions this year. After a very strong first four games of the season, the Hawkeyes have had some serious shooting struggles.
In three of their last four games, the Hawkeyes have shot below 42% from the field and below 20% from the three-point line. The major issue here is that these scoring troubles seem to be contagious. In their games against TCU and Duke, Iowa did not have a player score of more than 15 points.
Against Clemson, Patrick McCaffery did score 21, but the Hawkeyes had only two other players in the double digits in scoring, with the high being 11 points. McCaffery seemed to be the difference maker in the narrow victory over Clemson. With the rest of the team struggling to score, having one player step up was something that the team didn’t see in either of their losses this year.
Averaging a double-double so far this season, with 19.4 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per game, Kris Murray has stepped up for the Hawkeyes this season in a major way. In four of the team’s eight games, Murray has scored over 20 points, scoring over 30 in two of them. He has also had less than 10 rebounds only twice this year.
Murray’s season so far has been highlighted by his performance after Iowa’s first loss, in which he scored 31 points, had 20 rebounds, and had four assists while playing 39 of 40 minutes against Georgia Tech. Kris Murray has been the clear leader on the Iowa Hawkeyes team so far in the 2022-2023 season. If he is able to maintain consistent production throughout the course of this season, Kris could be joining his twin brother Keegan in the NBA very soon.
🔙 to Iowa City! Go hawks🐤 pic.twitter.com/F6GLuHfpJR
— Kris Murray (@KrisMurray24) June 1, 2022
Through their first eight games, we have seen two different Iowa teams. On one end, we have seen a well-rounded team that spreads scoring fairly evenly across the starting five and key bench players. On the other hand, we have seen a team in which no one seems to be able to get the ball in the basket.
Offensive struggles will happen, which is inevitable, however, for the Hawkeyes to be successful this year, they cannot allow these struggles to be contagious. Someone will have to step up in games when the basket seems like it has a lid on it.
The Iowa Hawkeyes have shown that they can score in high volumes, they just have to find a way to keep that scoring consistent, spreading points around, and not relying too heavily on any one player. Iowa is a very intriguing team this year, their matchup with in-state rival and number 20 Iowa State on December 8, 2022, could be an opportunity for the Hawkeyes to regain the momentum they created to start the season.