As the new year is officially here and conference play is fully underway, a Big Ten matchup between the Indiana Hoosiers and Iowa Hawkeyes goes down. Indiana enters this game ranked 15th in the AP polls and a 10-3 record following a long two break from playing due to the holidays. It will be interesting to see how the Hoosiers come into this game after their hiatus and see if they are rusty at all. Guard Xavier Johnson remains out with a foot injury and will remain to be seen when he returns. Starting his stead will be Tamar Bates who will be entering the starting lineup for the first time in his career. The former five-star recruit scored 19 points against Kennesaw State in the last Indiana game, leading the Hoosiers in scoring in the victory. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to joining the starting lineup in a rivalry matchup such as this.
Iowa enters this game with a record of 8-6 and off the heels of a losing streak. They have lost their past three games and have fallen to 0-3 in Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes will be entering this game desperate to get their first win of the conference season and playing at home will certainly give them a boost to get over their losing streak. What won’t help is the absence of forward and sharpshooter Patrick McCaffrey, who is sitting out due to personal reasons. He averages 12.8 PPG and is the third leading scorer for the Hawkeyes, so they will certainly need other players to step up in his stead. Let’s jump into this game’s picks and predictions:
Indiana vs. Iowa Betting Odds
The betting odds lines are still yet to be posted for this game and I’m certainly interested to see how this game is placed. On one side you have Indiana playing with a ranking next to their name going up against an Iowa team with six losses on their season. On the other side you have Iowa playing at home, which is never an easy place to play, and with an eagerness to win. Iowa also beat Indiana twice last season and rankings certainly go out the door when it comes to hard fought Big Ten rivalry matchups. I could see the favorite being either team in this matchup with the spread line being placed extremely narrow at one or two points in either team’s favor. ESPN Analytics currently gives Iowa the small margin victory advantage with a 52.3% chance to win but this prediction was given before McCaffrey’s announcement to sit out so it will really be interesting where this line will be placed and could certainly go either way.
As for the over/under total, that hasn’t been posted yet either but we can speculate based upon scoring averages. Indiana currently averages 80.1 PPG and allows around 65.3 PPG. The Hawkes are averaging 81.1 PPG and are allowing about 71.4 points on average. I would expect the line to be placed around 150 or 145.
Indiana vs. Iowa Odds, Picks, and Predictions
My Pick: Indiana ML
I really wasn’t decided on this game until I saw the McCaffrey news. Losing their number three scorer will certainly hurt as he is usually there to take pressure off Filip Rebraca and Kris Murray. I think Indiana goes on the road and gets a big Big Ten win while Iowa narrowly loses another one. They will figure it out eventually but don’t think Indiana is the team they bounce back against with their missing pieces. Indiana is currently 21st in Kenpom’s analytical rankings while Iowa is placed at 50. I suspect Tamar Bates will step up big in the starting lineup after coming off his career high with 19 points. Trayce Jackson-Davis’ return will also be crucial and I think he will be able to score pretty easily down low against a Hawkeye team that doesn’t feature major all-american style big men as they used to when they had Luka Garza. The only other double-digit scorer for Indiana is Jalen Hood-Schifino who will also need to show he’s ready to play on the road in the Big Ten as a freshman in this matchup. Kris Murray averages 20.4 PPG so if he wants to keep Iowa with a chance to win, he will need to have a big game and be able to make shots from 3-point range where Hoosiers notoriously struggle from.
Trayce Jackson-Davis vs. Iowa
The biggest matchup will be Trayce Jackson-Davis against this Hawkeyes team as Jackson-Davis has sat out the past couple of matchups with back soreness. It’s still unclear how he will be playing in this game and if he will have limited minutes but if he is able to play in a full role, expect him to score around his season average of around 16.4 PPG. He will be going up against Filip Rebraca downlow who averages 14.1 PPG and 8.4 RPG so should be an interesting matchup in the post.