Happy Halloween Hawkeye fans!
While we wait to turn our calendars to November and push what has been a disappointing football season toward the rearview mirror, basketball season has crept up to save us all from our hand-wringing over a lack of offense. The Big Ten’s most prolific offense (for four years running) is back and ready to take center stage for the 2022-2023 season as they kick things off tonight with an exhibition matchup with the Bulldogs of Truman State.
The Hawkeyes bring back just over 52% of its scoring production from a season ago, third most in the conference. They’ll look to replace the rightful heir to the Big Ten Player of the Year crown in Keegan Murray, who became the highest Hawkeye ever drafted when he was taken 4th overall in last year’s NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings.
But despite the loss of Murray, Iowa returns his twin brother Kris, who slots nicely into Keegan’s starting spot. He is joined by three other returning starters in Patrick McCaffery, Filip Rebraca and Tony Perkins. Sophomore Payton Sandfort figures to be Iowa’s fifth starter as he looks to become the Hawkeyes’ new sharpshooter after Jordan Bohannon graduated last spring.
The Hawkeyes will open up the season tonight without junior point guard Ahron Ulis, who was suspended for the matchup. He figures to feature prominently this season alongside freshman Dasonte Bowen. In the absence of Ulis, the Hawkeyes will start Tony Perkins at point guard in Monday’s exhibition.
Truman State is coached by former Hawkeye Jeff Horner. Horner is in his fifth season with the Bulldogs after spending three years as an assistant with North Dakota, where current Hawkeye Filip Rebraca began his college career.
Perhaps it’s that Hawkeye state connection with Horner that has led fully half of the Bulldog’s current roster to hail from the state of Iowa. Truman State has ten players from the Hawkeye state, including Cedar Rapids natives Hunter Strait and Caleb Schlaak.
The Bulldogs return seven of their top ten scorers from a season ago. However, they lost their top two scorers, Cade McKnight (19.2 ppg) and Masen Miller (14.2 ppg), to the transfer portal and Indiana State. Their third leading scorer from a season ago was Elijah Hazekamp. He averaged 12.8 points per game while also leading the team in rebounding at 7.1 rpg.
Truman State averaged 79.3 points per game en route to a 20-10 overall record in 2021-2022 so expect a high scoring affair on Monday night.
Here’s a look at the details for tonight’s contest.