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Iowa Big Ten Basketball 2024-25 Outlook: Hawkeyes Eye Growth

Mar 14, 2024; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes guard Brock Harding (2) works around Ohio State Buckeyes forward Jamison Battle (10) during the first half at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

It will be another tough year for Iowa in the Big Ten in basketball, as they have plenty of growth to do. Gone are the days of Head Coach Fran McCaffery having his boys to look to to be a leading force on the floor for the Hawkeyes.

It has been middle-of-the-pack seasons for the Hawkeyes the last couple of years. They were an NCAA tournament team two seasons ago, but that was when they still had Kris Murray alongside sharpshooter Jordan Bohannon. Turn to the 2023-24 season, and the Hawkeyes had plenty of unknowns, but they still had Patrick McCaffrey alongside dangerous sharpshooter Payton Sandfort.

It was a step back as Iowa went 19-15 and had to settle for a NIT berth. Plus, they had lots of youth in their line-up. That made things tough down the stretch, but Iowa was able to beat three of the Big Ten’s tournament teams in the final month of the season Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Northwestern. This year will be a real test with so much of the teams leadership gone.

Iowa Big Ten Basketball 2024-25 Outlook: Hawkeyes Eye Growth

The Hawkeyes have high hopes going into the new season, and they should after being a borderline NCAA tournament team last season. Like most teams, they had their departures, especially via the transfer portal. Those losses included Coach McCaffrey’s son, Patrick, who left for Butler. Tony Perkins, who took a big step last season for Iowa, also left for Missouri.

Things are certainly going to be different in Iowa City in 2024, but they certainly have some players on the roster who are more than ready to step up in a big way. Getting Sandfort to remove his name from the NBA Draft was big, but keeping Josh Dix in the fold didn’t hurt either. Dix was a serious threat to transfer from Iowa but chose to stay.

According to Tyler Tachman from the Des Moines Register, Dix is ready to contribute in a big way this season.

“I feel like with everything we have returning- and obviously Payton making the decision to come back- I feel like we got a really good group,” Dix said. “I feel connected to the coaches and my teammates. I’m from Iowa, so I want to be here.”

It’s clear the Hawkeyes are confident they have the roster to get back to the top half of the Big Ten, and they have a great group of young players ready to take the next step.

The chemistry looks strong in a post via Iowa Basketball’s X page.

Hawkeyes Made the Right Moves to Take a Step Forward

Dix and Sandfort are going to be the top guys for Iowa, but they have plenty of other key pieces ready to make an impact this season. Pryce Sandfort the younger brother of Payton wasn’t as impactful as many thought he was going to be as a freshman. Still, he got great experience playing in 32 games last season.

Owen Freeman showed he can be the next great Iowa big-man, as he was among the best freshman in the Big Ten in 2023-24. Freeman has real potential to be one of the faces of the Big Ten in the post, much like former Hawkeye Luka Garza was.

With an average of nearly 11 points per game and 7 rebounds as a freshman, it’s hard not to think that Freeman is only going to get better.

The Hawkeyes add a pair of transfers in Seydou Traore (Manhattan) and Drew Thelwell (Morehead State). Both will be expected to contribute as quickly as possible. The same goes for a pair of 6-8 incoming freshman players: Cooper Koch and Chris Tadjo.

Overall, Iowa looks to have made up for the losses of McCaffrey and Perkins.

A Closer Look at The Schedule

The schedule is always tough in the Big Ten.  Iowa has some real tests ahead with a west-coast road trip to play both USC and UCLA in California. Add in road games at the likes of Illinois and Michigan, and the RAC at Rutgers. Face it: winning on the road in the Big Ten is hard.

Carver-Hawkeye Arena will be rocking with their home draw in the Big Ten. The likes of Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Oregon, and Washington have to make the trip to Iowa City.

A much closer breakdown of Iowa’s Big Ten Slate was shared via social media.

Not having to go to Mackey Arena, might be a lifesaver for Iowa, since Purdue is once again a favorite to be atop the league.

Growth Is Best For Iowa

Iowa may have been one win shy of an NCAA berth last season. If they can show that competitiveness again in 2024-25, the Hawkeyes should be right around that tournament line once again. The Big Ten is a gauntlet, but Iowa cannot be overestimated.


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