Wisconsin vs. Iowa Betting Odds & Pick: Wieskamp’s Status Crucial in Big Ten Tournament Quarterfinal
Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Iowa guard Joe Wieskamp
- Iowa is favored over Wisconsin on Friday night in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.
- Iowa's Joe Wieskamp is expected to play, giving the Hawkeyes a much needed boost since we projected him as worth nearly 2.5 points to the spread.
- Get our full breakdown for Iowa vs. Wisconsin below.
Wisconsin vs. Iowa Odds
Editor's Note: Joe Wieskamp is expected to return for Friday night's quarterfinal.
Wisconsin and Iowa meet for the second time in less than a week in the Big Ten quarterfinals on Friday night.
Wisconsin was able to hold off a late scare from Penn State last night, as the Nittany Lions finished the game on a 17-2 run to lose by one and cover.
Wisconsin (-5.5) was up 18 with 7 minutes to go and didn't cover… pic.twitter.com/bDXDDYKmvX
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) March 12, 2021
The Badgers gave the Hawkeyes everything they had in Iowa City last Sunday, but ultimately fell short, losing 77-73. Wisconsin is projected to be a 7-seed, according to ESPN's bracketology, but win over a top-five Iowa team could potentially bolster Wisconsin up to a 6-seed for the NCAA Tournament.
Iowa is searching for its first Big Ten conference tournament title since 2006 and potentially a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Hawkeyes swept the Badgers during the regular season, but will potentially be short-handed coming into this game. The Hawkeyes' second-leading scorer Joe Wieskamp is questionable to play after suffering an ankle injury in the first half against the Badgers on Sunday. If he is unable to play, it will be a huge blow for the Hawkeyes.
When Wisconsin Has the Ball
The Badgers' offense has been below-average in Big Ten play, averaging only 1.01 points per possession. The main issue is that they're shooting the ball horrendously — they rank 10th in the conference in both 2- and 3-point percentage per KenPom. Really the only positive of this offense is that they take care of the ball: The Badgers have the lowest turnover rate in the country and committed only seven turnovers against the Hawkeyes last Sunday.
Wisconsin lit Penn State up from behind the arc on Thursday night, shooting better than 50% from 3-point range. Shooting 3s is exactly how you beat Iowa's defense, as the Hawks are allowing more than 35% from 3-point range in Big Ten play. They've really improved defensively over the second half of the season: Wisconsin is the only opponent over Iowa's last nine games of the season that has broken the 70-point mark against the Hawkeyes.
Trying to score inside against Iowa is a fool's errand because the Hawks allow less than 47% from 2-point range and 53.4% on shot attempts at the rim, per Hoop-Math. Wisconsin figured that out first hand in their first meeting in Madison, as the Badgers shot just 8-of-36 from inside the arc.
Wisconsin is going to have to get hot from deep to pull off the upset.
When Iowa Has the Ball
It's no surprise that the Hawkeyes' offense revolves around the best big man in college basketball, Luka Garza. The senior is averaging 23.8 points per game, the third-best scoring average in all of college basketball. However, the Hawks have shredded teams in many different ways this season, as they lead the Big Ten in efficiency, averaging 1.16 points per possession. They can bomb 3s with best of them, averaging more than 40% during conference play. However, they made only seven 3-pointers against the Badgers on Sunday.
Iowa also has dominated opponents down low, making 62.3% of its shots at the rim, per Hoop-Math. Wisconsin had no answer for Iowa in the paint last Sunday, as Iowa was able to shoot more than 65% from inside the arc. If the Hawks are able to dominate in the paint again tonight, Wisconsin is going to have no chance at stopping Iowa's offense.
The status of Wieskamp is key for this game. The Hawkeyes weren't their usual selves on either end of the floor for long stretches on Sunday with him on the sidelines. Wieskamp averages 15 points a game and is one of the best 3-point shooters in the country, averaging a ridiculous 49% for the season. If Wieskamp is unable to go, they Hawks could be on upset alert.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Like I mentioned above, this matchup truly does come down to Wieskamp's status. He is Iowa's best backcourt player and, based on my projections, is worth 2.49 points to the spread. Even though Wisconsin's offense has been terrible all season long, they should be able to shoot a decent percentage from 3 if Wieskamp is on the sidelines.
If Wieskamp is out, I have Iowa projected as only a -0.57 favorite, so I'll take the Badgers at +4.5 (DraftKings) if he does not play.
Pick: Pass with Wieskamp active