Sunday College Basketball Odds & Pick for Wisconsin vs. Iowa: Back Powerful Hawkeyes on Senior Day
Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Garza.
- Iowa hosts Wisconsin on Senior Day, with the Hawkeyes looking back to their normal selves in Sunday's game.
- The Badgers have struggled to live up to preseason expectations and enter this contest a bad matchup for Iowa.
- Mike Randle breaks down why he's backing the Hawkeyes as home favorites below.
Wisconsin vs. Iowa Odds
Wisconsin entered this season with Final Four aspirations, ranked No. 7 in the preseason polls. But the veteran Badgers have struggled all season and enter their matchup with No. 9 Iowa at 16-10 with losses in four of their last five games.
Iowa appears to have broken out of its mid-season struggles, winning six of its past seven games, including an impressive 73-57 win last Sunday at then-No. 4 Ohio State.
It's Senior Day at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and desperation time for the Badgers. Will Iowa deliver for seniors Luka Garza and Jordan Bohannon, or will Wisconsin find a way to grab a massive road win heading into the Big Ten Tournament?
Iowa dominated the Badgers in their matchup in Madison on Feb. 18. The Hawkeyes shot a blistering 63% (12-of-19) from beyond the arc en route to a 77-62 win at the Kohl Center.
The Badgers have allowed opponents to generate 31% of their points from 3-point land and allow the 10th-worst efficiency from deep. That is bad news against an Iowa team that shoots 41% from beyond the arc in conference play and now has sophomore CJ Frederick (8.1 points, 50.7% 3-point shooting) back healthy. Frederick has made seven of his last 13 shots from deep.
Wisconsin's offense has deteriorated throughout the season and has lacked consistency against the elite teams in the conference. The Badgers rank 11th in the Big Ten in effective field goal percentage, 10th in 3-point efficiency (32.5%) and 10th in 2-point efficiency (45.9%) in conference play. Wisconsin has failed to crest 70 points in any of its last seven games but has allowed opponents to reach 67 or more in six of those contests.
The Badgers need to control pace to be successful since they do not have the offensive ability to overcome a large deficit. As a result, they rank dead-last in conference play in adjusted tempo and need to avoid early deficits at all costs.
Wisconsin relies heavily on senior D'Mitrik Trice (14 points, 38.5% 3-point shooting) for scoring, but he was held to a miserable 3-of-15 from the floor during the loss to Iowa earlier this season. The Hawkeyes' superior depth at the guard positions with Bohannon, Frederick, Connor McCaffery and Joe Toussaint allows for constant pressure on opposing guards without concerns about anyone getting into foul trouble.
The Badgers will need to focus on limiting the production of Garza, the leading candidate for National Player of the Year. The senior scored 30 points in these teams' first matchup, including going 4-of-6 from 3-point landg. Wisconsin's pair of big men in Micah Potter (12.5 points, 6.1 rebounds) and Nate Reuvers (8.7 points, 3.3 rebounds) have underachieved all season and produced some of the most head-scratching performances of the season.
In their 67-59 home loss to Michigan, Potter and Reuvers combined for exactly zero rebounds. For two players who are taller than 6-foot-10, that is simply unfathomable.
The Badgers have been a poor cover team with only an 11-14-1 record against the spread (ATS) and have failed to cover four of their past five games. Iowa is a solid 15-10 ATS, including 10-5 at home.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Betting on Iowa as a home favorite in the Fran McCaffery era has been very profitable. The Hawkeyes are covering at a solid 60% (69-46-4) rate over a substantial sample size.
I can't see the Badgers containing an Iowa offense that is now clicking again, especially on the road on Senior Day. Wisconsin will need to control the pace and avoid an early deficit against one of the most explosive offenses in the nation.
This number is simply too low for a Wisconsin team that hasn't played well in weeks. The Hawkeyes will not overlook the Badgers and earn their third straight win over Wisconsin.
Pick: Iowa -6.5