Iowa's Connor McCaffery, CJ Fredrick plan to play in big game at Ohio State

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central
Connor McCaffery did not return Thursday after this ankle sprain, but he is expected to play Sunday at Ohio State.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — While the Iowa basketball team is reeling from the season-ending knee injury to key forward Jack Nunge, the Hawkeyes will have the services of two starting guards for Sunday's 3 p.m. CT game at No. 5 Ohio State.

McCaffery, who didn't play in the final 16 minutes of Thursday's loss at Michigan after spraining his left ankle, is "good to go" Sunday, according to university spokesman Steve Roe. CJ Fredrick is also "expected to play" against the Buckeyes, Roe said.

That would mark the fourth straight game Fredrick has been available as he deals with unpredictable plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Iowa fans don't need further explanation how important his status is to this Hawkeye team that stands 17-7 overall, 11-6 in Big Ten Conference play.

McCaffery's presence is important for the Hawkeyes, in that he starts at the "4" position — one that Nunge helps man off the bench — and can be a reliable ball handler. He averages 3.9 points and 3.5 assists per game and was Iowa's leading rebounder at Michigan, with eight, despite playing just 17 minutes. McCaffery can also run the point, which helps give coach Fran McCaffery plenty of flexibility even without Nunge.

Look for the Hawkeyes to roll out their usual starting five of Jordan Bohannon, Fredrick, Joe Wieskamp, McCaffery and Luka Garza. Minus Nunge, freshman Keegan Murray becomes an important top reserve.

Ohio State (18-6, 12-6) has its own injury worries. Key forward Kyle Young (concussion protocol) missed Thursday's game at Michigan State and was hopeful to be cleared today. His status isn't expected to be known until closer to game time.

The contest will air on CBS, with Ian Eagle and Bill Raftery on the call.