College Basketball Odds, Expert Picks & Prediction for Iowa vs. Northwestern (Sunday, Feb. 19)
Pictured: Iowa guard Tony Perkins (11) and Iowa forward Kris Murray (24). (Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Iowa vs. Northwestern Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
When the regular season schedule came out, noone knew this matchup between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Northwestern Wildcats would have such huge Big-Ten implications. Northwestern enters this matchup riding a four-game winning streak, while Iowa has won four of its past five.
In the last meeting on January 31st, the Hawkeyes cruised to an 86-70 home victory, so the Wildcats will be looking to avenge their loss from that matchup. Additionally, the Hawkeyes can leap to second place in the Big-Ten standings if they are able to come out of Evanston with a victory.
These teams are drastically different in terms of offensive styles. The Hawkeyes love to get out in transition and the Wildcats move at a snails pace. I think this is an intriguing matchup to breakdown and I’m excited to dive in.
Despite the departures of CJ Fredrick, Jordan Bohannon and Keegan Murray, the Hawkeyes offense has not skipped a beat.
Per KenPom, the Hawkeyes are third in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency and 53rd in adjusted tempo. This team loves to fly up and down the court, so if they’re cooking from the outside they will blow opponents out of the gym. Kris Murray leads the Hawkeyes in scoring, averaging 21 points per game.
A lot of talk about last year’s Hawkeyes team centered on how poor they were on the defensive end of the floor. Well, they certainly have cleaned things up a bit this season, as they rank a respectable 85th in defensive efficiency. The Hawkeyes could be a matchup nightmare for a lot of teams when the calendar turns to March.
Considering how slow Northwestern goes on offense, it’ll be interesting to see if the Hawkeyes can replicate their performance from their previous matchup against the Wildcats, when Iowa shot 10-of-21 from 3-point land.
It’s been a terrific season for the Wildcats, and they will look to continue to strengthen their resume with another big home victory on Sunday evening. The real question is if they are up for the challenge of containing this Iowa offense. Northwestern will need all the help it can get from its terrific backcourt duo of Boo Buie and Chase Audige.
To no surprise, the Wildcats have leaned heavily on their defense, where they rank 24th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 281st in adjusted tempo. They love to slow their opponents down and lower the variance by limiting possessions.
They’ve also gotten the job done at the charity stripe, ranking 57th in FT%, which is another reason they’ve been successful. My only worry about the Wildcats is that they may have some regression coming as a result of not being balanced on both ends of the floor.
Per Shot Quality, the Wildcats hold a -8.01 record-luck, which indicates they’ve been a bit fortunate this season. I think that they are playing much better basketball heading into this matchup than prior to last month’s clash, but Northwestern certainly doesn’t want the regression monster looming as it goes up against Iowa’s firepower.
Iowa vs. Northwestern Betting Pick
This is going to be a terrific basketball game, and it’s going to be a true chess match between these teams. With such a contrast in styles, I can see why this line has opened at Iowa -1.
I think this is a great spot for the Hawkeyes. Northwestern is coming off two tough, emotional victories in the past week, so it could be a bit sleepy, even at home. I also believe the Hawkeyes have way too much firepower for the Wildcats to keep up.
I will roll the dice that Iowa stays hot on offense and that Northwestern will struggle to keep up, just as it did in the previous matchup.
Pick: Iowa -1 (Bet up to -2)
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