College Basketball Odds, Pick & Preview for Iowa vs. Michigan (Thursday, March 3)
Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Hunter Dickinson (Michigan)
- The red-hot Iowa Hawkeyes travel to Ann Arbor to take on the Michigan Wolverines.
- The Wolverines remain on the NCAA Tournament bubble and can ill afford to lose this game at home.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks down this matchup and offers up his top selection.
Iowa vs. Michigan Odds
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
Following its wins against Rutgers and Michigan State on its home court last week, Michigan’s status on the bubble is trending in the right direction.
Most bracketologists have Michigan in the field, and a Quad 1 home win Thursday night against Iowa would all but certainly put it into the field of 68 — regardless of what happens in the Big Ten Tournament next week in Indianapolis.
Iowa is quietly playing better than anyone in the entire league, as it followed a 4-6 start in Big Ten play with seven wins in its last eight. The Hawkeyes have benefitted from a weaker portion of their schedule overall, but did notch wins against Ohio State and Michigan State during that stretch.
Iowa has a pretty clean resume that includes zero bad losses, but the Hawkeyes are a bit short on big-time victories this year. They’re just 1-5 in Quad I games.
The only team to beat Iowa during its recent winning run was Michigan, which won in Iowa City, 84-79, on Feb. 17. Iowa was a six-point home favorite in that game, and the market has now adjusted for the rematch, with the Wolverines as a short home favorite.
Much like that game, oddsmakers are expecting plenty of offense — the total is in the mid-150s.
It’s hard to tell whether the Hawkeyes are truly trending up or if their schedule just got worse. Wins against Minnesota, Maryland, Nebraska (twice) and Northwestern are fine, but none of those teams are going to really move the needle.
The OSU and MSU wins during this recent streak are better, but there’s still lingering questions about the Hawkeyes heading into this game.
Michigan isn’t a team that forces many turnovers at all, and that usually hurts its defense. However, no one turns over Iowa anyways, so I think that matters less when analyzing this matchup.
Really, this comes down to which version of Iowa’s jump shooters appear. Iowa has the ability to expose any defense in transition and runs at an elite level, but I’m not sure it’ll catch Michigan too often in transition — given the lack of turnovers both teams force defensively.
Iowa’s regression indicators from a shooting point of view are pointing slightly downward, per ShotQuality, with the expecting numbers on free throws, 3s and mid-range shots all a point or two lower.
This suggests regression is coming slightly for this Iowa offense, especially after six wins in seven games.
But by far the most interesting development has been the Hawkeyes’ defense, which is posting better numbers than years past by a considerable margin. ShotQuality suggests that the Iowa defense is actually more like a top-30 unit, not 79th, per KenPom.
Iowa runs a ton of ball screens and loves to get out in transition as much as possible offensively. The Hawkeyes also like to run sets inside for Keegan Murray, who can score from anywhere.
There’s not much to like about this Michigan defense, but one thing it does at an above-average rate is guard the rim.
There was nothing flukey about the Wolverines’ victory in Iowa City in mid-February. ShotQuality had the Wolverines winning the game by four points, and they didn’t even really shoot the ball well from the perimeter, as they made just 4-of-20 from deep.
Michigan took advantage of Iowa’s interior defense, as Moussa Diabate had a career outing with 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting from the field. The Hawkeyes had little answer for Hunter Dickinson too, who tallied 14 points, but added nine rebounds and seven assists along with it.
The Wolverines do two things a lot on offense, and if you can’t stop either, it’s very hard to contain them. They run a ton of pick-and-roll and post-ups. Given the abilities of Diabate and Dickinson, this is no surprise.
But you’d actually expect Iowa to be able to have some success taking away these areas.
Iowa’s defense ranks 61st in preventing quality shots out of post-up situations in the entire country. It’s an area of relative strength for the Hawkeyes, per ShotQuality.
The Hawkeyes are also an above-average unit at guarding both ball screens and pick-and-rolls.
The one area where Iowa has struggled defensively is in transition and guarding catch-and-shoot 3s. However, Michigan won’t be forcing any turnovers to run in the open court. Also, the Wolverines will surely look to slow down Iowa by controlling the pace as much as possible.
Michigan’s pace numbers have ticked up a bit in the last five games, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect that from a Phil Martelli team (he’s coached the last three games). That means it’s more likely to be noise than anything else.
Michigan will have a hard time winning this game playing at a frenetic Iowa pace, and at home, it should do a better job with pace control.
Iowa vs. Michigan Betting Pick
These two potent offenses had no issues getting basket after basket in the first meeting, but the total has become a bit inflated here (155.5).
Michigan dominated inside in the first meeting, but the regression and underlying indicators both suggest that Iowa does have the ability to guard ball screens and the post-ups well enough to at least limit the Wolverines.
The most important aspect of this game is pace, which I expect Michigan to control a bit more on its home floor. The Wolverines will likely try to force Iowa to slow down its lighting-fast offense. If Michigan has turnover issues and lets Iowa run, this could go over quickly with all of the pace.
Given both teams’ inconsistent perimeter shooting and a potentially slower pace in the rematch, I’m holding my nose and playing the under at 154 or better.