Indiana Hoosiers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Pick
Indiana Hoosiers (13-13 SU, 9-16 ATS) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (20-6 SU, 12-14 ATS)
When: Friday, February 22, 2019 – 9 p.m. ET
Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa
By: Dan Jamison, College Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: IND +7/IOWA -7 (Intertops)
Total: O/U 146.5
Last Time Out: Indiana lost 48-46 to Purdue; Iowa lost 66-65 to Maryland.
Scouting the Hoosiers:
This isn’t how things were supposed to go for the Hoosiers. Indiana was supposed to be on the upswing in Archie Miller’s second season in Bloomington, and Romeo Langford was supposed to lead the Hoosiers back into the NCAA tournament. It started out that way, but Indiana hasn’t looked anything like itself for the past two months. The Hoosiers have looked disinterested and have apparently taken out frustrations on each other, as reports surfaced of the team getting into a fight at practice the day before the loss to Purdue. Even that did nothing for the Hoosiers, who scored just 46 points in the loss and have now failed to break 60 in five of their past seven games.
Scouting the Hawkeyes:
To say Iowa’s got a flair for the dramatic might be the understatement of the year in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes have now played three straight games that have come down to the final possession, and truthfully, two of them should not have come down to the final possession. Iowa seems to be in full survive and advance mode, and that ended up biting the Hawkeyes against Maryland when luck turned against them and they didn’t survive. Against Maryland, the Hawkeyes saw their 3-point shooting slump, as they hit just 30.8 percent of their shots from deep to end up with a one-point loss. Five of Iowa’s past six games have been decided by five points or less, the exception being their win over Michigan.
Emotions. Where are these teams after a pair of close losses in their most recent games? Ironically, this is the exact opposite of where they were when the teams met in Bloomington; Iowa was coming off a win over Michigan and Indiana had just beaten Michigan State. This time, both teams lost tight games by a single possession and both did so at home, making the defeats that much harder to take. Emotions are going to be a big concern with Indiana, as it’s very possible that the Hoosiers shot their wad against Purdue and will fall apart here after failing to get a win over their biggest rival in a game that was there for the taking.
Indiana will Cover if:
The Hoosiers can find some offense. Indiana has been a complete wreck when it’s had the ball, and that simply cannot continue against a team as strong as Iowa usually is on offense. The Hawkeyes like to push the tempo and can score with the best of them on most nights, which is a problematic situation for an Indiana team that hasn’t exactly found it easy to score as of late. The Hoosiers have to get Langford and Juwan Morgan going early and avoid replicating the disaster they had against Purdue. Indiana doesn’t have to morph into Michigan State, but the Hoosiers do have to shoot better than 28 percent from the floor.
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Iowa will Cover if:
The Hawkeyes can assert their will on the offensive end. This is a battle of strength on strength, as Iowa’s strength is its offense compared to Indiana’s defense. The Hawkeyes have to get back to consistently hitting their 3-point shots the way they did against Northwestern and Rutgers to get the result in this game, as Indiana just doesn’t have the ability to match Iowa shot for shot.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
The Hawkeyes honestly make me nervous with a seven-point spread. They’ve played two games that were much closer than they should have been against Northwestern and Rutgers, and they only beat this same Indiana team by five points when they met in Bloomington.
But there’s a real concern that Indiana is in a serious free fall here. When a team has been struggling, comes to a huge game and loses it, it often ends up causing them to give up on the season. Indiana hasn’t completely given up in most of its games, as it’s mostly lost by close margins, but Purdue might have been the final straw for this team. I just can’t see the Hoosiers turning things around in Iowa City. I think it’s the Hawkeyes who make a statement and cover the margin.
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