In the championship game in the Emerald Coast Classic TCU faces an unbeaten and 25th-ranked Iowa squad.
Iowa is the 25th ranked team in the nation and in two of their last three games they have beaten teams from major conferences. Their last game was their first where they did not beat a team by at least 16 points. The Hawkeyes are a 6.5-point favorite in this game with the total sitting at 148.5.
TCU has won their last two games after suffering their first loss of the season and they won both games by double figures. The Horned Frogs killed it on defense in their last game and on the season their D has been solid only giving up an average of 62 ppg.
Good Thing for the Charity StripeIn their semifinals game of the Emerald City Classic, Iowa’s offense was out of sync and they struggled to shoot the rock but were solid from the free throw line in a 74-71 win over Clemson. They outscored the Tigers 24-11 from the free throw line and while they held the Tigers to 40.6% shooting, they only shot 38.3% from the floor and 21.1% (4/19) from beyond the 3-pt arc. Patrick McCaffery led three Iowa players that scored in double figures with 21 points on 7/14 shooting.
The Hawkeyes failed to cover the spread as an 8.5-point favorite and they had covered in their first four games.
While Iowa only scored 74 points in the last game, on the season, they rank fifth in the nation averaging 91.6 ppg. They have also been solid on the defensive side of the floor holding opponents to an average of 66.2 ppg. Kris Murray (23.8 ppg) leads the Hawkeyes in scoring and he had totaled 59 points in two games before the last game where he struggled only scoring 10 points on 4/17 shooting and was 0/5 from 3-pt land but he did have 12 rebounds. McCaffery (16.2 ppg) totaled 39 points in the last two games. The team’s leading rebounder in Filip Rebraca (10 ppg 8.8 rpg) was one rebound shy of a double-double in the last game with 10 points and nine boards.
Great D for the Second Straight GameIn their last game, TCU beat California 59-48 in the semis of the Emerald Coast Classic and in their previous game also played great defense only giving up 60 points. In the win over Cal they shot a lower FG% (39.3% to 41%) and 3-pt FG% (30.8% to 17.6%) but they had nine more offensive rebounds and 12 fewer turnovers. Mike Miles Jr.(21.3 ppg) came off the bench in the last game and was the only TCU player in double figures with 23 points on 9/22 shooting. The Horned Frogs failed to cover as a 14-point favorite and they have only covered in one of five games this season.
Miles Jr. is one of only two players that are averaging in double figures at 21.3 ppg. He has only played in three games this season and he had missed the two games previous to the last one. Emmanuel Miller (13.3 ppg) did not play in the last game and he is a question mark for this game. 6’11” C Eddie Lampkin Jr. (5 ppg 6 rpg) is the leading rebounder and he came off the bench in the last game and had four points and four boards. This is TCU’s first game facing a ranked team and last season they were 5-6 facing top 25 teams.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Iowa had a terrible shooting game in their last one but they were aggressive in attacking the rim getting 24 points from the free-throw line. They will be aggressive again facing a solid TCU defense that held Cal to only 48 points in their last game. The Horned Frogs also struggled with their shot but were solid on the boards and forced 19 turnovers. I see both teams playing good defense again but TCU will not dominate the boards again and they will not force many turnovers against an Iowa team that is not sloppy with the rock. Iowa will win and cover winning the Emerald Coast Classic and staying undefeated in the process.
Full-Game Total Pick
Both the last game for Iowa and TCU went Under in their last game and that is the pick I am leaning towards in this game. The teams really struggled with their shot in the last game and neither team will not shoot well in this game since each has a solid defense. Iowa is one of the highest-scoring teams in the nation but like the last game they will not put up a high total. TCU is not a high-scoring team, overall, and they will not be in this game. On top of that, they may be without their second-leading scorer. With both teams playing good D in this game the Under is the pick.