Welcome to the 2021-22 Iowa Basketball Top 10! To review previous entries, click the links below:
#10 - The UVA Sequence
#9 - The Tony Perkins Experience
#8 - Keegan’s Penn State Tip Drill
#7 - The Billy Taylor Game
#6 - Mt. Bohannon Erupts!
#5 - The Northwestern Massacre
#4 - Connor’s One Shining Moment
#3 - Keegan’s Ohio State Sequence
As I wrote at the beginning of The Northwestern Massacre, any of the top 5-6 plays/moments could grab the top spot. This one might really be the most under-ranked moment. This is not hyperbole - this 1:54 saved Iowa’s season. Even more than the final 14-ish minutes of the second Minnesota game.
Going into the Ohio State game, Iowa was painfully short on Quad 1 wins. They were a tournament team but with a resume full of empty calories, plus they had just dropped a tough game to Michigan in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, 84-79. They then had a quick turnaround to a game at Ohio State, who owned wins over Duke, Wisconsin, and had just won at Michigan the previous weekend. Throw in the scheduling component and the quick turnaround - tip was early afternoon for this game, right after a late game against Michigan - and I thought this game was a schedule loss as much as anything. I just didn’t love the prospect of a win and that Iowa would be forced to continue the hunt for a quality win for the resume.
And early on, that looked prophetic. Iowa remained stuck in first gear in the early exchanges and the defense couldn’t get a stop - Ohio State ran a lay-up/dunk line the first 7-ish minutes. An E.J. Liddell dunk put the Buckeyes up 21-10 and Iowa firmly in the danger zone. Fran McCaffery rightly called a timeout, with this game on the verge of falling off a cliff.
Then Keegan Murray did this. He had a ton of huge moments this year. You could pick 10 moments for Keegan and say, “Oh yeah, THAT moment.” That’s how amazing his season was. This might have been the biggest:
Keegan’s personal 10-0 run turned this from a 21-10 contest with Iowa in real danger to a 21-20 game in just 1:54 of game time. It’s Keegan on full display. A 3-pointer. A 3-point play while finishing through contact from Joey Brunk. Then it’s a perfect lob from our man Connor McCaffery for an easy throw down as a hapless Kyle Young looks on.
You watch this full clip and you’ll see some other Keegan moments. One that’s gonna be ahead of this (sneak preview there). Keegan had dominant stretches all year. It wasn’t the only time he went on those mini-runs by himself and went full-on flamethrower. But none were more important than this moment. Without this moment, what happens? Bizarro Basketball World probably has Iowa fall apart down the stretch and end up in Dayton with a play-in game, which they lose in heart-breaking fashion. Because, Iowa basketball.