Maintaining success has never been more difficult in college basketball. The combination of the transfer portal and the NBA Draft makes each offseason both eventful and potentially transformative for most programs.
Now that the smoke has mostly cleared following the 2021-22 season, we’ll go team-by-team in the Big Ten to assess which programs are set up for success, and who might take a step back.
Next up is Iowa. The Hawkeyes have won 20 or more games for four straight seasons under head coach Fran McCaffery, and he delivered a surprising 26-10 record and Big Ten Tournament title in 2022 despite losing Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp to the NBA.
- Keegan Murray (23.5 PPG),
- Jordan Bohannon (11.0 PPG),
- Joe Toussaint (4.3 PPG),
- Austin Ash (2.9 PPG)
- Patrick McCaffery, F (10.5 PPG),
- Kris Murray – F, (9.7 PPG),
- Tony Perkins – PG, (7.4 PPG),
- Filip Rebraca – C, (5.8 PPG),
- Payton Sandfort – G, (5.0 PPG),
- Ahron Ulis – PG, (3.1 PPG),
- Connor McCaffery – G, (2.5 PPG),
- Josh Ogundele – PF, (2.5 PPG),
- Riley Mulvey – C, (.9 PPG)
Freshmen (Rankings from 247Sports Composite)
- Dasonte Bowen – G, (No. 136),
- Josh Dix – G, (No. 152)
RETURNING MINUTES: 54.2 percent (per barttorvik.com)
WHY IT WILL WORK
McCaffery has had two of the better player development stories in the Big Ten over the last decade with the emergence of Keegan Murray and Luka Garza under his tutelage. It isn’t difficult to imagine Keegan’s brother Kris will be ready to make major strides this season, along with McCaffery’s son Patrick. Indiana fans don’t need to be reminded of Kris’ season-high 29 points against the Hoosiers in Iowa City. The ability to step into his brother’s shoes is clearly there. Tony Perkins is also an underrated point guard who is trending in the right direction. He averaged 11.4 points over the last nine games, and 4.0 assists over the last six.
WHY IT WON’T
The reality is, Kris Murray and Patrick McCaffery were already important parts of the equation in 2021-22, and Iowa did nothing to replace the production of Keegan Murray and Jordan Bohannon. Even if they are twin brothers, putting Keegan expectations on Kris isn’t fair. Iowa hasn’t had a top-100 recruit since 2019, they added no one from the portal, and eventually the talent drain catches up to you, especially when you don’t have a strong defensive identity. That year is here, especially with the Hawkeyes suspect on the low block and seriously lacking depth.
Although it is fun to mock his red-faced tirades, McCaffery has emerged has one of the Big Ten’s better coaches. Many Iowa fans wanted him out after the Hawkeyes went 33-34 over the 2015-16 and 2017-18 seasons. But he has produced 20-win seasons in eight of the last 10 years and Iowa has been .500 or better in the Big Ten in all but one of the last 10 years. Not many coaches are doing more with less recruiting talent.
BIG TEN OUTLOOK: Middle of the pack/top half.
MORE BIG TEN OUTLOOKS:
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