Cincinnati-Iowa Betting Odds: Opening Spread, Analysis for 2019 NCAA Tournament

Cincinnati-Iowa Betting Odds: Opening Spread, Analysis for 2019 NCAA Tournament article feature image

Justin Ford, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Jarron Cumberland

#7 Cincinnati vs. #10 Iowa NCAA Tournament Betting Odds

  • Spread: Cincinnati -3.5
  • Over/Under: 139
  • Date: Friday, March 22
  • Time: 12:15 p.m. ET
  • Location: Columbus, Ohio
  • TV: CBS

Cincinnati’s Statistical Profile

The Bearcats essentially won the games they were supposed to win this year (for the most part), and lost the games they were supposed to lose. Cincinnati went 25-3 in games it was favored, and 0-3 in its three matchups as an underdog.

The Bearcats most memorable outcome, therefore, was a loss, and it came back in early January. Cincy was favored by 17.5 on the road against East Carolina – a team that would go on to finish 3-15 in AAC play – and came up two points short to the Pirates on a last-second shot block.

Still, the Bearcats posted a 14-4 conference record and finished second to Houston in the AAC standings. Per KenPom, they ranked 26th in the country with an adjusted defensive efficiency of 94.2.

The Bearcats would go on to win the AAC Tournament, beating Houston 69-57 as 5-point underdogs.

This year’s appearance continues an impressive streak of nine straight NCAA Tournaments for Cincinnati. Over that run, though, the Bearcats have made it past the Round of 32 just once. — Danny Donahue

  • Record: 27-6
  • Adj. Efficiency Rank: 36
  • Adj. Offensive Efficiency Rank: 57
  • Adj. Defensive Efficiency Rank: 28
  • Tempo Rank: 338

All advanced metrics via KenPom as of Friday, March 15

Iowa’s Statistical Profile

Iowa has had an up and down season. The Hawkeyes spent chunks of the 2018-19 campaign ranked in the AP Top 25 but finished the regular season losing five of their last six games and had coach Fran McCaffery suspended for two games following a post-game tirade directed at an official.

That can all be quickly forgotten with a deep tournament run. After a two-year hiatus, Iowa is back in the tourney. The Hawkeyes are looking to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1999.

For McCaffery’s team to have success they’ll need to win games with their offense. Iowa ranks 15th in KenPom’s offensive efficiency and are averaging 79.0 points per game – 33rd in the nation. Iowa has shown it can beat the best teams with four wins over ranked opponents including a 74-59 blowout of No. 5 Michigan.

McCaffery has coached the Hawkeyes in five tournament games – Iowa went 2-3 straight and 1-4 against the spread. — John Ewing

  • Record: 22-11
  • Adj. Efficiency Rank: 34
  • Adj. Offensive Efficiency Rank: 13
  • Adj. Defensive Efficiency Rank: 120
  • Tempo Rank: 86

All advanced metrics via KenPom as of Friday, March 15

Cincinnati-Iowa Instant Bracket, Betting Picks

The south is littered with snail vs. snail matchups featuring some of the slowest teams in the nation that also have excellent defenses. Cincy fits that bill, but this is the rare South matchup that pits two schools with completely different styles against each other.

Iowa wants to play fast, while Cincy is 338th in the nation in Adjusted Tempo (63.2, per KenPom). This matchup could simply come down to which team controls tempo. Where these two teams are similar is their defensive profiles: Like Syracuse-Baylor, this matchup pits two of the eight teams that run zone at least 30% of the time against each other. Iowa runs zone about one-third of the time, while Cincy does so in half of its possessions.

Cincy will also press about 20% of the time, while Iowa employs press at a 10% clip. The Cincy defense is elite overall, ranking in the 91st percentile in points per possession. When the Bears press and go to their matchup zone, they can be incredibly stingy. Meanwhile, the Iowa offense is also elite and ranks in the 99th percentile against both press and zone, though it hasn’t seen either a ton playing in the Big Ten, so beware of the small sample size. Regardless, this is strength-on-strength affair, and the difference in the game will come down Iowa’s absolutely dreadful defense, which will struggle against an underrated Cincy offense that has thrived against zones.

I think Cincy is the better team and will control the tempo and ultimately move on against an Iowa squad that was a few buzzer beaters away from being on the bubble. Cincy is probably underseeded and should be hungry after last year’s collapse against Nevada. At the end of the day, these are two teams headed in opposite directions: Cincy just won the very tough AAC tourney, while Iowa lost five of six to close the year and didn’t beat a team with a pulse away from home all season.

Early ATS lean: Cincy
Early bracket pick: Cincy — Stuckey

Sean Koerner’s Cincinnati-Iowa Projections

Sean Koerner’s proprietary projections also power our Bracket Simulator, which helps you find the most optimal bracket for your pool size.

  • Spread: Cincinnati -0.5
  • Total: 142.5
  • Proj Score: Cincinnati 71.5 | Iowa 71
  • Win Probability: Cincinnati 50.1% | Iowa 49.9%
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