Connor McCaffery likely out for Iowa basketball vs. Ohio State; starting lineup may change

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

Fran McCaffery likely would have been without his oldest son, fifth-year senior Connor McCaffery, when the Iowa men’s basketball team looked to snap a two-game losing streak Thursday night at No. 16 Ohio State.

That game, however, may be postponed due to a winter storm. It was unclear as of Wednesday evening whether Iowa would make it to Ohio, sources with direct knowledge told the Register.  

If Iowa plays Thursday, that might not be the only lineup change, too.

Iowa’s 12th-year head coach acknowledged he is thinking about shaking up his starting five of Joe Toussaint, Jordan Bohannon, Patrick McCaffery, Keegan Murray and Filip Rebraca. The Hawkeyes have fallen behind 21-9 to Purdue and 15-5 to Penn State in back-to-back losses that have dropped them to a tie for ninth in the Big Ten Conference standings (14-7, 4-6).

Iowa backup point guard Ahron Ulis and starting center Filip Rebraca battle John Harrar (21) for a rebound in Monday's 90-86, double-overtime loss at Penn State.

Iowa’s bench wound up scoring 24 first-half points to give the team a 34-32 halftime lead at Penn State. Toussaint and Bohannon combined to shoot 0-for-11 in that double-overtime loss. The most likely options to insert into the starting five would be guard Tony Perkins and/or forward Kris Murray, who have consistently provided sparks from the bench.

“It’s not something I like to do. I don’t like to knee-jerk (decisions),” McCaffery said Wednesday morning. “I think it’s something I give more thought to a lot more maybe than you think. (As a coach) you’re constantly thinking about it.

“I’ve always been of the school of thought of, ‘Does it really matter?’ You’ve seen us this year, a number of games we’ve had a number of different, unique lineups on the floor that have played substantial minutes in crunch time. … So I’ve never really obsessed with who the starters are. But you’re right, we’ve had some difficult starts. So, it’s something we’re thinking about.”

There you go. We’ll find out if there are any changes in Iowa's next game.

More:How to watch Hawkeyes' game against Buckeyes

As for Connor McCaffery, the head coach specified that his injury wasn’t a separated right shoulder as initially told to reporters Monday night. It’s a contusion in McCaffery's arm that has caused nerve damage. McCaffery, who scored 12 first-half points before exiting in the second half at Penn State, was still lacking feeling in his arm as of Wednesday morning.

“He’s still got quite a bit of pain in that arm. So it probably doesn’t look good for (Thursday's game),” said Fran McCaffery, adding that his son was unable to dribble with the pain. “Maybe Sunday (against Minnesota), but maybe not. ... It’s one of those things that it’ll get better when it’s better.”

Assuming Connor McCaffery is out, look for freshman Payton Sandfort (five points in 11 minutes at Penn State) to get some extra playing time.