#9 Iowa vs #3 Michigan Road to March Madness

#9 Iowa vs #3 Michigan Road to March Madness | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on February 24, 2021

No question that one of the marquee matchups in college basketball this week is Thursday from the Big Ten as No. 9 Iowa visits No. 3 Michigan. The Wolverines control their destiny to win the Big Ten regular-season title and earn a top seed in the Big Dance. UM is +875 on the NCAAB odds to win it all and Iowa is +1400.

How to Bet Iowa at Michigan NCAA Basketball Odds & TV Info

Last Meeting

This is the only scheduled meeting of the season. Last year, they split. The one in Ann Arbor was a 103-91 Michigan victory when it was ranked fourth and Iowa was unranked. Hawkeyes star Luka Garza was unstoppable in the loss with 44 points. Garza scored 27 points in the first half, including 15 of Iowa’s first 17. Garza set a record for the most points by an opposing player at Michigan’s Crisler Center, breaking the mark of 39 by Ohio State’s Dennis Hopson in 1987. He’s the likely Big Ten Player of the Year this season again. Michigan led 50-38 at halftime and was really threatened in the second half.

Why Bet on Iowa? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Iowa (17-6) won its fourth in a row Sunday, 74-68 over Penn State. The Lions’ swarming defense held Iowa 13 points below its scoring average and forced 16 turnovers, a season high for the Hawkeyes, during the Big Ten battle.

Scoring droughts for both teams marked the second half with Iowa going without a field goal for two four-minute spans and Penn State unable to make a shot for seven minutes. With the game tied at 54 at 12:10, neither team could make a basket until Hawkeye center Luka Garza ended the Iowa stretch with a layup at the 8:18 mark for a 56-54 score. Quickly, Iowa would put together a 14-4 run to take a 70-61 lead with 4:05 left in the game.

Garza finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds, making 8-of-16 field goals and 7-of-11 free throws. He also had two assists and drew 12 fouls in the game. Garza became the all-time leading scorer in school history. It was previously 2,116 points in 134 games by Roy Marble. Garza reached the mark 15 games faster than Marble (119 games). The All-American posted his team-leading 10th double-double of the season and 31st of his career (23 points and 11 rebounds). Garza, the nation’s leading scorer, has netted 20+ 16 times this season and 53 times in his career.

Sophomore CJ Fredrick scored 18 points – 14 in the first half – making 7-of-10 field goals and four 3s, and junior Joe Wieskamp had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Iowa has held its last five Big Ten opponents to 70 points or fewer.

In addition to ranking first in career scoring, Garza is first at Iowa in conference scoring (1,324), total field goals made (799), field goal attempts (1,461), and 40-point games (2); second in 30-point games (12); fifth in double-doubles (31); sixth in rebounding (856); seventh in blocked shots (140); eighth in free throw makes (420); and 15th in 3-pointers made (108).

Why Bet on Michigan? | 2021 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Wolverines (16-1) only lost at Minnesota on Jan. 16. They are 3-0 since returning from a long COVID break, winning a great game Sunday, 92-87, at No. 4 Ohio State. It was the highest-ranked matchup every between the rivals. The loss snapped the Buckeyes’ seven-game win streak. Michigan had not won in Columbus in the last five meetings, spanning seven seasons.

UM was led by freshman center Hunter Dickinson, who finished with 22 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two assists. Ohio State just didn’t have anyone to deal with Dickinson inside, and he simply wore the Buckeyes down.

Senior guard Eli Brooks drained three three-pointers and made key free throws for a season-high 17 points, while senior guard Chaundee Brown Jr. came off the bench to hit three three-pointers of his own as he finished with 15 points.

Graduate guard Mike Smith scored 11 points and added seven assists, while senior Isaiah Livers had 12 points, four rebounds and four assists. In total, the Wolverines had 19 assists on 31 made baskets and finished the game shooting 53.4 percent from the field.

Michigan ranks first in the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (.385); second in fewest fouls per game (14.8), blocks (5.0), field goal (.502) and free throw (.767) accuracy, and rebounding margin (+8.2); and third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4), 3-point field goal percentage (.387) and scoring offense (79.1).

Michigan is ranked No. 3 and Iowa is ranked No. 9 in this week’s AP Top 25 Poll. The last time these two teams played with both teams ranked in the Top 10 was Feb. 9, 1989 (No. 10 Michigan edged No. 8 Iowa, 108-107 in double overtime in Iowa City). Michigan holds a 96-65 edge in the series.

The Wolverines hold a 53-24 advantage in games played in Ann Arbor. The teams have split the last four meetings at the Crisler Center, with Michigan winning the last two. Iowa’s 72-54 victory in Ann Arbor in 2015, was Iowa’s largest margin of victory at Michigan in 61 years.

Expert Prediction

  • Michigan 80, Iowa 77

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