Iowa vs. Seton Hall Odds, Picks: Will Pirates Cover Spread in Gavitt Games Duel?

Iowa vs. Seton Hall Odds, Picks: Will Pirates Cover Spread in Gavitt Games Duel? article feature image

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyrese Samuel (Seton Hall)

Iowa vs. Seton Hall Odds

Wednesday, Nov. 16
7:30 p.m. ET
Iowa Odds
-110o / -110u
Seton Hall Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Gavitt Games is one of my favorite early-season events. Rarely do you get a good feel for two conferences this early, and this Big East-Big Ten battle provides us with precisely that.

I also love how the Gavitt Games make the matchups fairly even. DePaul-Minnesota closed with a one-possession spread, while Butler-Penn State closed at two possessions, et cetera.

Iowa is a 1.5-point underdog in Newark on Wednesday night, and these two teams match up perfectly

Iowa features an up-tempo, lengthy offense that projects as one of the best in the nation.

Meanwhile, Seton Hall boasts a lengthy, athletic defense that projects as one of the best in the nation.

Which team has the edge? Where does the value lie?

Iowa Hawkeyes

Everything pointed towards the typical high-octane Fran McCaffery offense in Iowa City this season.

Through two games, the Hawkeyes have lived up to expectations.

Iowa dropped 89 on Bethune-Cookman and 112 on North Carolina A&T to start the season, averaging 1.134 PPP through two games. Iowa runs at a high tempo (23rd nationally) while taking care of the basketball (third in offensive turnover rate).

It's only two games against low-major competition, but I wouldn't expect any drop-off for Iowa's offense this season.

And Iowa might have another Wooden Award candidate.

Kris Murray dropped 22 points on 7-for-11 shooting while grabbing eight boards and managing just one turnover in his last game.

Looks like Kris Murray is picking up where he left off last year. 22 PTS, 8 REB as Iowa cruised to a victory

Left-hand driver, good spot-up shooter, controlled off the bounce and can initiate contact. Intriguing wing long-term

— The Box and One (@TheBoxAndOne_) November 12, 2022

It's amazing how Fran does this every season.

I don't think the ceiling for this team is Murray, however. I think this has the chance to be a good defensive team.

Last season may have been McCaffery's best defensive team at Iowa. The Hawkeyes became active and chaotic, leading the Big Ten in defensive turnover rate and trending up to fifth in overall defensive efficiency.

The Hawkeyes run between 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-9 from the two to the five, providing length and versatility.

Meanwhile, 6-foot-4 point guard Tony Perkins graded well in pick-and-roll defensive sets (.741 PPP allowed, 51st percentile) and isolation defensive sets (.500 PPP, 86th percentile).

If Murray holds serve and the defense trends up, Iowa could be a good value bet to win the Big Ten (currently +650 at FanDuel).

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Seton Hall Pirates

Like Iowa, Seton Hall is also 2-0 with dominant wins over low-major schools.

But as I alluded to, these two teams play very different styles.

Seton Hall held Monmouth and Saint Peter's to a combined 96 points on .561 PPP. Only four teams in the nation are better defensively on a per-possession basis.

The new architect of this defense is Shaheen Holloway, former Seton Hall point guard and NCAA tournament cult hero. He's a huge proponent of general defensive toughness, including active shot contests and forced turnovers.

Tyrese Samuel and Kadary Richmond return, re-creating the core of last year's Seton Hall team that finished 20th in eFG% allowed.

However, Holloway then brought in several transfers to complete his vision.

First, Holloway took MAAC DPOY KC Ndefo with him from Saint Peter's, playing him at the four. Then, the coach snagged Al-Amir Dawes from Clemson, Dre Davis from Louisville and Femi Odukale from Pitt.

When it's all set and done, Holloway has four 6-foot-6 guards and four forwards between 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-10.

And every player is athletic and versatile.

This team is dangerous.

How things fit together offensively is TBD. There are so many pieces to mesh — plus, the two top scorers from last year's Pirates team are gone — and Holloway's Saint Peter's teams weren't offensive powerhouses.

Richmond could play a huge factor, given his ability to create shots for others and switch onto other defenders when needed. Samuel will need to play a solid two-man game with Richmond.

However, Dawes likely provides the necessary scoring pop Holloway is looking for. Dawes was a double-digit scorer last season, but did it from different sets and efficiently.

For example, Dawes ranked in the 94th percentile as a spot-up shooter (1.211 PPP, 40 3P%), in the 81st percentile running the pick-and-roll (.906 PPP) and in the 70th percentile in transition (1.140 PPP).

Holloway's Peacock teams got out into transition at an above-average rate, but never did it efficiently. His Pirates rank in the 85th percentile in transition PPP through two games (1.297 PPP) at a similarly high rate, so maybe that's how the team produces points.

I'm not sure yet. But for the sake of Big East basketball, I hope Holloway's Pirates avoid this trend:

Image credit: CBB Analytics
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Iowa vs. Seton Hall Betting Pick

This game is fun because both teams are about to put their strengths to the ultimate test.

If Iowa wants to be an elite college basketball offense, the Hawkeyes must out-run and out-gun this elite defense.

If Seton Hall wants to be an elite college basketball defense, the Pirates must smother this up-tempo, shot-drilling offense.

We'll learn a lot about these two teams in this game. And considering neither team has been tested, it's hard to predict how this game might unfold.

Therefore, I will fall back on my general college basketball gambling strategy: Always bet on the better defense at home.

Defense is still king in college ball.

Offense often doesn't translate year-over-year or on the road, and Iowa's roster could still see early-season chemistry issues.

But we know exactly what we're getting from Seton Hall's defense. And that provides a high floor that I believe provides value in this game.

Besides, VSIN's Greg Peterson makes this line Seton Hall -3.5 in his model projections, confirming my bias towards the home side.

This game should play out very close, so don't play the Pirates at anything worse than -2.

Pick: Seton Hall -1.5 (Play to -2)

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