Iowa vs. Iowa State Odds, Picks, Predictions: Bet Hawkeyes to Cover
G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Bohannon
Iowa vs. Iowa State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Iowa State Odds|
-110o / -110u
It’s a massive week for rivalries in college hoops. One of the most fiercely contested in-state clashes pits Iowa against Iowa State in the storied “Cy-Hawk” duel.
Recent meetings have had a decidedly “Hawkeye” feel to them, with the Iowa City residents having won four of the past five, largely thanks to now-departed big man Luka Garza.
You know who has not departed? Jordan Bohannon! Somehow, this will be Jordan Bohannon’s sixth start in this series! In addition to the extra COVID season, he played in the 2019-20 edition before succumbing to a hip injury and receiving a medical redshirt. He has struggled in the past, though, averaging just 9.8 PPG in the five previous contests.
Per usual, Iowa is a deadly offensive squad. Bohannon is a lethal shooter, and burgeoning All-American candidate Keegan Murray has become a matchup nightmare. The ball movement is pristine as the Hawkeyes have been finding open shooters when defenses pay too much attention to Murray.
Crucially for this matchup, Iowa leads the entire country in Turnover rate. No one takes the ball from the Hawkeyes, though this is by far the best pressure scheme they have faced.
Defensively, the Hawkeyes have something of an identity crisis. The best offensive lineups cannot guard anyone, but when Fran McCaffery goes to his bench, the Hawkeyes perk up.
Tony Perkins and Ahren Ulis have given McCaffery a curveball. When paired with Joe Touissant, Iowa becomes a terrifying pressure team. The Hawkeyes nearly completed comebacks against Illinois and Purdue thanks to their frenetic efforts. Those lineups suffer a bit offensively, though.
As mentioned, the Cyclones have struggled in this battle recently. Of course, that was under coach emeritus Steve Prohm, while new boss TJ Otzelberger has the program surging forward. Iowa State has already beaten Memphis, Xavier, and Creighton away from Ames; last year, the Cyclones won two games total.
The key to that renaissance has been an aggressive defense. Otzelberger brought in several pieces capable of wreaking havoc, most notably freshman guard Tyrese Hunter and wings Izaiah Brockington and Gabe Kalscheur. That trio has helped Iowa State to the fifth ranking in defensive Turnover Rate, notably terrorizing Memphis to the tune of 22 miscues.
Those turnovers have sparked the offense by providing much-needed easy buckets. Per Synergy, Iowa State scores in the 87th percentile in transition compared to just the 43rd percentile in the half court. Wings Caleb Grill and Aljaz Kunc have been on fire from beyond the arc, but the sustainability of that is up for debate.
Iowa vs. Iowa State Betting Pick
I entered the year with a bearish outlook on Iowa State, but I buy the ascension for the most part. Hunter has emerged into the star the Cyclones needed, and Otzelberger filled the roster with solid complementary guys. The defensive identity appears legitimate.
Unfortunately, I just do not love the matchup for the host ’Clones. Iowa will not feed their transition attack with careless plays, cutting off their best route to offense.
Murray will command double-teams against this Iowa State defense, as well. Kunc and Tristan Enaruna should struggle to guard him, allowing the Hawkeyes’ pristine ball movement to shine.
Otzelberger may eventually turn the tide in this rivalry, but I don’t expect it this season.
Pick: Iowa -3.5 (take up to -4)
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