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So much for slumps. No. 6 Iowa took apart Illinois, 83-62 on Thursday to meet up with No. 3 Michigan on Friday night in Chicago for the quarterfinals of the Big 10 tournament. These two teams met just once this season, on Feb. 1, with Iowa winning big, 74-59.
Hawkeyes break a streak
Iowa came into the Big 10 tournament having lost four straight and five of six, so they weren’t exactly playing well. Between that streak and Fran McCaffrey’s suspension, the Hawkeyes were kind of limping before they faced No. 11 Illinois. Iowa jumped out to a 37-31 lead at the half and poured it on in the second half with 46 points. It was raining three-pointers in Chicago for the Hawkeyes, who made 52.2 percent (12-of-23) led by Nicholas Baer, who made 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Baer led Iowa with 17 points, while Joe Wieskamp added 13 points and seven rebounds. Illinois did shoot 52 percent from the field but turned it over 13 times.
— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) March 15, 2019
For Iowa to beat No. 11 Michigan, they may need a bigger game from 6-9, 250-pound Tyler Cook (14.7ppg, 8.1rpg), who has scored just 21 points in his last three games. The Hawkeyes are a high-scoring team, averaging 79.1 points per game on 45.8 percent shooting (36.8% 3pt). They allow 73.6 points per game on 44.8 percent shooting (32.6% 3pt).
Looking for a higher seed
Michigan is looking for more than just a higher seed. Iowa is listed as No. 7 in Jerry Palm’s latest Bracketology projections. They are going to the NCAA Tournament, but where will Michigan land? At this point, it looks like a third seed but they could move up with a title here. Of course, they also may have some revenge on their minds, not just against Iowa but against Michigan State, who has defeated the Wolverines twice this season. That includes the finale on the road on March 9, their last game (75-63). Losses to Iowa and Penn State on the road are tough ones, but you know this bothers John Beilein and that’s losing to the Spartans twice.
The Wolverines are led by Ignas Brazdeikis, a 6-7, 215-pound freshman from Ontario, who is averaging 15.0 points per game and 5.3 rebounds on 46.6 percent shooting (41.7% 3pt). Point guard Zavier Simpson is one of the top point guards in the conference, who averages 9.1 points per game, 5.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists. Defensively, Michigan is a tremendous team, allowing just 58.8 points per game (2nd) on 40.1 percent shooting (20th) and 29.4 percent from beyond the arc (10th). The offense is efficient but not dynamic, averaging 70.4 points per game on 44.9 percent shooting (35.1% 3pt).
- 2-7 ATS last 9 in series.
- 9-0 ATS last 9 neutral site games.
- 5-2 ATS last 7 after an ATS win.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
It’s hard not to like Michigan. They are well-coached but Iowa has something special in tournaments. They are 9-0 ATS their last 9 in neutral site games. Michigan’s lack of dynamic offense and Iowa’s strong three-point shooting led by Baer and Wieskamp gives them a shot to win this game outright. Revenge or no revenge, they are going to win this game.
Full-Game Total Pick
Iowa plays defense but they love to score over 80 points. They put up 74 in the first game against Michigan an have gone over in 4 of their last 4 after an ATS win. Despite their strong defense, Michigan has gone over in four straight games.