2021 NCAA Tournament Odds: Iowa vs. Grand Canyon Spread, Early Pick & Prediction

2021 NCAA Tournament Odds: Iowa vs. Grand Canyon Spread, Early Pick & Prediction article feature image

Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Garza

  • Opening Iowa vs. Grand Canyon odds list the Hawkeyes as a huge favorite over the Antelopes in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
  • Grand Canyon might not have the shooting to hang with Iowa for 40 minutes, but 7-footer Asbjorn Midtgaard could give Iowa's Luka Garza some trouble.
  • Get our Iowa vs. Grand Canyon breakdown and betting prediction below.

#2 Iowa vs. #15 Grand Canyon Odds

Grand Canyon Odds+16
Iowa Odds-16
Moneyline+1000 / -2000
TimeSaturday, 6:25 p.m. ET
Odds as of Sunday and via DraftKings

How Iowa & Grand Canyon Match Up

Grand Canyon
All stats via KenPom.

Iowa vs. Grand Canyon Instant Analysis

This is a fairly intriguing matchup for the Antelopes. No, teams aren’t exactly lining up to battle Luka Garza and the hot-shooting Hawkeyes. But Grand Canyon does have a ton of size that should give the presumed National Player of the Year some trouble.

Wichita State transfer Asbjorn Midtgaard leads Grand Canyon in scoring, standing at 7-feet and 270 pounds. Garza’s worst performances this season have come against big men he could not bully around on the block. His worst shooting nights from the field against the size of Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn, Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson, Rutgers’ Myles Johnson and the size of North Carolina.

Defensively, Garza will need to battle with Midtgaard or chase stretch-four Alessandro Lever out to the perimeter. Grand Canyon doesn’t have the shooting to hang wire-to-wire with Iowa, but the Lopes have the size to pull out a cover and contain Garza. — Shane McNichol

What To Know About Iowa

The Iowa offense is among the best in college basketball because it has a dominant big man in Luka Garza, along with one of the best 3-point shooting rates in the country. Garza is likely to be the National Player of the Year, and the big man is surrounded by players who can light it up from deep.

The Hawkeyes are in the top-five nationally in 3-point percentage, an attack led by guards Joe Wieskamp (48.9% 3-point shooting), Jordan Bohannon (39.7%) and CJ Fredrick (50%). The loss of Jack Nunge hurts a bit, but it appears that Fredrick and Wieskamp are fully healthy heading into the tournament, which makes this one of the best offenses in college basketball.

The biggest Iowa storyline over the past month has been a defensive resurgence, which is almost unheard of from this Hawkeyes program. They have skyrocketed up the defensive metric boards over the past month and are one spot outside of the top-50 in Kenpom's Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. Iowa will mix it up quite a bit defensively with a press periodically and lots of zone looks, and the communication has been much better in both regards of late.

If the Hawkeyes can continue this recent defensive form into and throughout the tournament, this is a Final Four-caliber team. The defense doesn't need to be elite: If they can just play at a top-50 level instead of a top-100 one, look out. — Matt Trebby

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What To Know About Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon boasts a post-oriented, 2-point-shooting, slow-paced offense that features three players at 6-foot-10 or taller in the post. Two of those centers — Italian Alessandro Lever and Dane Asbjorn Midtgaard — actually lead the team in scoring at more than 14 points per game a piece.

However, for as strong as the post play is, the perimeter play is shaky with a group of guards that turn the ball over too much, struggle to defend the perimter and aren't great shooters. The Antelopes rank 277th in college basketball at 31.5% shooting from 3-point range but are 17th inside the arc. They rank 130th in KenPom’s efficiency rankings, which is pretty good for a WAC school.

Grand Canyon presents a problem down low for any team, but its ability to beat a top-tier squad is limited due to its limitations on the perimeter. — Stuckey

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