Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Indiana Hoosiers Prediction 2/7/19
Iowa Hawkeyes (17-5 SU, 11-11 ATS) vs. Indiana Hoosiers (13-9 SU, 8-13 ATS)
When: Thursday, February 7, 2019 – 9 PM ET
Where: Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind.
Last Time Out: Iowa beat Michigan 74-59; Indiana outlasted Michigan State 79-75 in overtime.
Scouting the Hawkeyes:
You’re not supposed to be able to outfight Michigan. You’re not supposed to have your best scorers combine for 35 points against the Wolverines. However, Iowa did both of those things in its most recent game and blitzed the Wolverines, mainly by being tougher on the glass and taking good looks from beyond the arc. The Hawkeyes’ offense is hitting on all cylinders at the moment, which quietly has them up to a 17-5 mark as winners of six of their past eight games. Iowa’s offense ranks 10th in the nation per KenPom, behind only Michigan State and Purdue in the Big Ten, and the win over Michigan proves that the Hawkeyes have the ability to outscore absolutely anyone.
Scouting the Hoosiers:
Indiana is finally getting healthy, but is it too late to matter? The Hoosiers had lost seven in a row prior to going to Michigan State and winning, and now they’re starting to get the pieces back that helped them win 12 of their first 14 games. Juwan Morgan is likely to be back in the lineup for longer than the 13 minutes he played last game, and De’Ron Davis was huge in his return against Michigan State. Both players will combine to make Romeo Langford’s job much easier and make the Hoosiers a much more dangerous outfit.
Recent upsets. One of the hardest things to do in college athletics is to come back down to earth after a big win and prepare for the next game. This is the rare game in which both of these teams have to do precisely that, as Indiana went into East Lansing and beat Michigan State, while Iowa ripped Michigan at home. Those are the kinds of wins that can make a season — as long as a team doesn’t follow it up with a defeat in its next game.
Ironically, this is the rare situation that benefits the road team. Having to travel means that unlike Indiana, the Hawkeyes haven’t spent the past day and a half hearing from students on their campus talking about how great the win was in the previous game. By the time the game tips off in Bloomington, Iowa will have had a full 36 hours away from its campus to put the Wolverines out of its mind and focus on the Hoosiers. By contrast, Indiana’s players have had the drawback of constant reminders of their win over Michigan State from students on their campus. The Hoosiers have to block out that distraction of their past success and shift their attention completely toward a good Iowa team that is very capable of winning at Assembly Hall.
Iowa will Cover if:
The Hawkeyes can make themselves big in the paint. Iowa has a significant size advantage, but the Hawkeyes haven’t figured out how to put it to good use when they don’t have the basketball. Tyler Cook and Luka Garza have the size to dominate just about anybody, but they haven’t gotten the job done on defense. Iowa ranks last in the Big Ten in defensive field goal percentage, and the Hawkeyes can’t allow the Hoosiers to shoot at will if they’re going to get the victory.
Indiana will Cover if:
The Hoosiers are accurate with their shooting. Iowa is going to score and score often because the Hawkeyes do not waste possessions. They’ve got the most efficient offense in the Big Ten, and they just put up 74 points on a Michigan team that boasted the best defense in the league. But while the Hawkeyes don’t waste time when they have the ball, they aren’t great at denying their opponents’ offense. Indiana has to hit its short jumpers and keep pace with Iowa.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
Iowa is the more consistent team and the safer bet. The Hawkeyes have acquitted themselves well in Big Ten play, as four of their five losses are to Michigan State (twice), Purdue on the road and Wisconsin at home. Their fifth loss was at Minnesota, and the Golden Gophers have been almost unbeatable at Williams Arena this year, so that’s also a forgivable outcome.
In contrast, Indiana just went through a seven-game losing streak that included the likes of Nebraska, Northwestern and Rutgers, all of whom are candidates to be playing on the first day of the Big Ten tournament next month. Yes, the Hoosiers have had injuries, but this team also lost to Arkansas when it was healthy, and the Razorbacks are also going nowhere on Selection Sunday without a conference tournament victory. Indiana needs this game more than Iowa does, but I think Iowa’s the better bet here. I’m going with the Hawkeyes.