Iowa Basketball: Hawkeyes Poised for Rebuilding Year?

Fran McCaffery’s Iowa Hawkeyes had an up and down 2022-2023 season, which ended on a disappointing note. While they had a memorable comeback win against Michigan State, they suffered losses down the stretch and were eliminated in the first rounds of the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament. As they move on to the 2023-2024 season, the Hawkeyes have some key positions to fill due to departures and have turned to the transfer portal for reinforcements.

Two significant losses for Iowa are Kris Murray, the team’s top scorer, and Filip Rebraca, the starting center. Murray was drafted in the 1st round of the NBA Draft, leaving a scoring gap of 20.2 points per game. Rebraca provided scoring and defensive presence in the post, contributing more than 40% of Iowa’s rebounding production. To address these departures, Iowa has added transfer Ben Krikke and hometown player Even Brauns to their roster. Additionally, their recruiting class includes Ladji Dembele and Owen Freeman, who bring different skillsets and abilities to the team.

With these changes, the Hawkeyes will have a different look compared to last season. They will rely on returning players like Payton Sandfort and Tony Perkins to step up and fill the gaps left by the departed players. Despite the changes, the team faces skepticism from Vegas, which ranks them with the 11th-best odds to win the Big Ten title. However, media predictions suggest Iowa could surpass expectations and finish higher in the league.

Regardless of predictions, there’s something exciting about this team. Fran McCaffery’s group always finds a way to score points, which sets them apart from their football counterparts. There’s chemistry within the team, with former high school teammates and siblings playing together. While they may face challenges, the Hawkeyes possess weapons, potential, and players with grit.

The regular season starts for the Hawkeyes on November 7th with a home matchup against North Dakota. Fans can watch the game on Big Ten Network +.

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