College Basketball Betting Odds, Predictions: Our Top Pick for Iowa vs. Purdue (Sunday, March 13)
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Jaden Ivey (Purdue)
Iowa vs. Purdue Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Big Ten is one of the most competitive and intense conferences in college hoops. You never know what is going to happen on any given night.
In this tournament, nobody expected Indiana to come back against Michigan or upset Illinois. And nobody expected Jordan Bohannon to hit that incredible last-second shot in the semifinals.
JORDAN BOHANNON CALLS GAME FOR IOWA 😱 @JordanBo_3
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 12, 2022
But he did, and the Hawkeyes get a shot to play for a Big Ten Tournament title on Sunday.
On the other hand, everyone expected Purdue to be here. Purdue was considered the best Big Ten team all season, and the Boilermakers could prove they are on Sunday.
But can Purdue handle the red-hot Hawkeyes?
The Hawkeyes’ offense has been unstoppable.
The ’22 Keegan Murray-led Hawkeyes might be more explosive than the ’21 Luka Garza-led Hawkeyes. In three tournament games, Murray has scored 26, 26 and 32. His offense averaged 1.53 PPP against Northwestern, 1.24 PPP against Illinois and 1.19 PPP against Indiana.
The Hoosiers are the best defensive team in the Big Ten, and the Hoosiers had matchup advantages against Iowa. But the Hawkeyes still found a way to score 80 against them in a win.
The Iowa offense is a wagon.
This handicap comes down to one thing: can the Iowa offense keep up with the Purdue offense?
The answer is a resounding, yes. Purdue averages 1.005 PPP in the half-court, but Iowa averages .99 PPP. Purdue is third in adjusted offensive efficiency, but Iowa is third. Purdue scores 80.4 points per game, but Iowa scores 84.2
There’s been a narrative pushed that Iowa is just a poor man’s Purdue — i.e. the Iowa offense is electric, but not as electric as Purdue’s, and both teams defend at a similarly lackadaisical rate.
But that narrative is simply not true. The Murray brothers-led Iowa offense is better than any unit in college basketball. And Iowa’s defense snuck up in the efficiency metrics as the season progressed.
Final Big Ten efficiency margin numbers. Feels like it is going to be a fun weekend in Indianapolis based on some of the wackiness. pic.twitter.com/ZTQ1bDEeqd
— Dylan Burkhardt (@umhoops) March 7, 2022
In fact, Iowa finished the season fifth in the Big Ten in defensive efficiency and first in defensive turnover rate. Purdue couldn’t touch those statistics with a 10-foot pole.
Purdue’s defense is specifically bad on the perimeter this season.
Either way, the point is obvious — Purdue cannot guard ball screens.
That is why I don’t trust Purdue in March. Competent offenses can run ball-screens repeatedly against Purdue, and Matt Painter will never have an answer.
Purdue’s plan is to outscore opponents, which the Boilermakers have been good at, considering they own the most efficient offense in the nation. Between Jaden Ivey and the big man tandem of Zach Edey and Trevion Williams, it’s hard to stop Purdue.
I think Sasha Stefanovic will decide Purdue’s fate. Stefanovic is one of the smoothest shooters in college basketball, shooting 40% from 3 this season and averaging 1.169 PPP in spot-up situations (91st percentile).
Purdue needs him to shoot well to make a deep March run. Purdue is 36-5 when Stefanovic scores in double-digits, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
— CBS Sports CBB (@CBSSportsCBB) March 12, 2022
If Stefanovic makes three-to-four 3-pointers a night, I think Purdue is a Final Four team. If Stefanovic goes cold or he doesn’t get involved, I think Purdue could get knocked out early.
Iowa vs. Purdue Betting Pick
This game will devolve into a shootout. These are the two most electric, high-tempo offenses in the Big Ten.
I think that style favors Purdue. While Iowa is a dominant offensive team with Murray, Bohannon and Patrick McCaffery as shotmakers, Purdue somehow has more shotmakers than that.
The two-man duo of Edey and Williams should outplay the Murray brothers on the interior. Meanwhile, Stefanovic can easily shoot over Tony Perkins, McCaffery and Kris Murray — especially since Iowa ranks in just the 26th percentile in spot-up PPP allowed (.946).
However, there’s one stat that has convinced me of Purdue in this spot.
In terms of frequency, nobody in the Big Ten runs off-screen sets more than Iowa. But Purdue is third in the conference in off-screen frequency.
Purdue finished sixth in the conference in ShotQuality PPP allowed in off-screen sets (.92), while Iowa finished 13th (.97).
Purdue just has enough matchup advantages to beat Iowa, even if the Hawkeyes are red-hot. The Boilermakers won both matchups convincingly in the regular season, and I’m ready to back Purdue one more time — especially because the Iowa stock is particularly high right now.