Previewing the Iowa basketball team for 2022-23
Photo Credit: Gabby Drees - The Daily Iowan
Coming off of a Big Ten Championship and back-to-back top 5 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, the Iowa Hawkeyes are looking to replicate their recent regular season success, and finally get over the hump in March.
The biggest question for the Hawkeyes that has been circulating this off-season is what the roster will look like following the losses of All-American Keegan Murray and longtime starting point-guard Jordan Bohannon. Based on what I have heard recently, I would expect Fran McCaffery and co. to roll out a starting lineup similar to this:
PG: Tony Perkins (Junior)
SG: Payton Sandfort (Sophomore)
SF: Patrick McCaffery (RS-Junior)
PF: Kris Murray (Junior)
C: Filip Rebraca (Fifth-year senior)
It is well-known that Fran is very excited with what Payton Sandfort has done this off-season, and, like most of the fans, he seems to be projecting a big breakout year for the upcoming sophomore. Another piece that Coach McCaffery has shown great praise for is incoming freshman point guard Dasonte Bowen. Bowen is the highest-rated point guard in the McCaffery era and will look to make an instant impact for the Hawks. The Hawkeyes bench, led by sixth-year senior Connor McCaffery, may end up something like this:
PG: Dasonte Bowen (Freshman)
SG: Josh Dix (Freshman)
G: Connor McCaffery (Sixth-year senior)
G: Ahron Ulis (Junior)
C: Josh Ogundele (Junior)
Despite others thinking that a transfer big or wing was a necessity, the Hawkeyes chose to not pick up a single player from the portal. This move may seem questionable, but it makes it clear that Head Coach McCaffery is confident with what they have put together so far.
Diving into the schedule, the Hawkeyes have a few big games in the non-conference, something that was not present last season. Iowa will take on Seton Hall in the notorious Gavitt Games, Clemson in the Emerald Coast Classic - with the opportunity to match up with a widely considered top 15 squad in the TCU Horned Frogs, barring both win their first game. Iowa also matches up against Georgia Tech in the B1G-ACC Challenge, Duke in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden, and will host the Iowa State Cyclones at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to close out the non-conference schedule. Of the 10 non-conference games this year, Iowa realistically should have 6 easy victories and 4 solid matchups against Seton Hall, Clemson, Duke, Iowa State, and potentially a fifth vs TCU. It is likely that the Hawkeyes enter Big Ten play with 2-3 losses.
The 2022-23 season will be different for the Big Ten compared to years past. There is not a standout program this year like we are used to seeing. The conference is taking a drastic step back as a whole, but it is uniquely deep, especially for the number of teams within it. Iowa should be a middle-of-the-pack Big Ten team this year, with the opportunity to jump into the upper echelon of teams, barring player development for studs such as Kris Murray, Payton Sandfort, and Tony Perkins.
Final Thoughts, although most are expecting a mediocre season from the Hawkeyes, I am projecting that they will overachieve their current 'bubble team' status and end up being a likely 6-9 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Big Ten is abnormally wide-open, and Iowa has a shot to be the wildcard and cause some noise throughout. Although it was considered a pretty disappointing off-season for most Hawkeye fans, I still firmly believe that the season will be a positive one.