The No. 4 Iowa Hawkeyes look to move back into a tie atop the Big Ten standings when they play host to the Indiana Hoosiers for a key conference clash Thursday night. The Hawkeyes (12-2) are 7-1 in Big Ten play and a half-game behind Michigan for the top spot in the conference.
Indiana (8-6, 3-4) has dropped two of three, including an 81-69 setback at home to Purdue last Thursday. The Hoosiers had a game with Michigan State postponed last weekend, so they’ve been idle for a week.
If you’re looking to do some betting online on this key Big Ten contest, Iowa is set as a 10-point favorite at home, with the over/under currently set at 150 1/2.
Needing Some Shooting
The Hoosiers are not a good outside shooting team, plain and simple. Indiana ranks last in the Big Ten in 3-pointers made per game (6.07) and 12th in the league in 3-point percentage (32.4%). That’s not a good thing when you’re facing a team that features one of the premier big men in the country in Luka Garza.
Indiana does have one of the top players in the conference as well in sophomore forward Trayce Jackson-Davis, who is averaging 20.4 points and 8.9 rebounds while shooting 53.5% from the floor. He’s also solid defensively with a team-high 26 blocks, and he’ll need to be a presence in the paint on both ends against Garza.
Junior forward Race Thompson is coming off a double-double against Purdue, finishing with 13 points, 10 rebounds and two steals. Thompson has been coming on of late, scoring in double figures in three of the last four games.
Sophomore guard Armaan Franklin is back in the lineup after missing a couple of games with an ankle injury. He had 14 points, seven rebounds and three steals against Purdue in his return to action and could be a key in this one.
While the Hawkeyes need this game in their quest for a conference title, the Hoosiers need it for their NCAA March Madness resume. Expect a spirited effort from Archie Miller’s squad, especially after a week off.
Garza has been the face of the Iowa basketball program for the past two seasons, and with good reason. The 6-11 senior forward is averaging 26.9 points per game and is coming off just his third game this season of under 20 points.
Garza also averages 8.7 rebounds and nearly two blocks a game, as he is constantly moving and making it hard for teammates to locate and double-team him. It’s big college basketball news when he doesn’t play well, so expect another big game in this one.
It certainly helps that he has shooters around him that can take some of the offensive pressure off as well. The Hawkeyes are tops in the Big Ten with 10.4 three-pointers per game, hitting 39.5% from beyond the arc, which ranks second in the conference.
Senior guard Jordan Bohannon ranks second in the Big Ten with 2.8 three-pointers per game and is averaging 10.5 points per game. He also leads the Hawkeyes with just under five assists per contest.
Junior swingman Joe Wieskamp has hit 24 3-pointers and is second on the team with 14.4 points per game. He’s also second on the team with 6.3 rebounds per game, as the Hawkeyes are tops in the conference, averaging 41.5 rebounds as a team.
There isn’t much to indicate the Hoosiers can stay close in this one, much less come away with a victory. Iowa has won 22 of its last 23 games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena dating to last season, and 10 of the Hawkeyes’ 12 victories this season have come by 15 points or more.
Iowa has won nine of the last 13 meetings between these two teams in Iowa City, though it took overtime in the Hoosiers’ last visit in February 2019.
Indiana has undoubtedly gotten healthier in its week off and will certainly be well-rested, but the Hawkeyes are going to be motivated to play well to keep pace with the Wolverines atop the conference standings. Garza has another big game, and the Hawkeyes come out on top.
When making your college basketball picks, make sure to take the Hawkeyes, as they’ll cover in this one with an easy victory.