No. 4 Iowa vs. Minnesota

No. 4 Iowa vs. Minnesota | 2020 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Written by on December 24, 2020

There are a handful of college basketball games scheduled for Christmas this year, and the best team in action is without a doubt No. 4 Iowa as the Hawkeyes visit Minnesota in Big Ten action. Iowa will be favored on the NCAAB odds but not heavily so against the one-loss Gophers.

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

  • When: Friday, 8 PM ET
  • Where: Williams Arena, Minneapolis
  • TV: Big Ten Network
  • Stream: BTN+
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAB Lines: TBA (Iowa will be favored)

Last Meeting

The schools played twice last season and Iowa won both. They most recently played on Feb. 16 at Minnesota and it was a 58-55 final. Hawkeye star Luka Garza had 24 points and Iowa closed the game by scoring the final 11 points to rally. Minnesota’s Daniel Oturu missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw attempt with a chance to tie the game with 3.8 seconds left. The Hawkeyes trailed by eight points with 5:25 remaining. The Gophers had five of their 13 turnovers during the final stretch.

Why Bet on Iowa? | 2020 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

Off a loss over the weekend to top-ranked Gonzaga, Iowa (7-1) bounced back with a 70-55 win over Purdue on Tuesday. Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp led the Hawkeyes for the second straight game, combining for 39 points and 18 rebounds. Garza tallied a game-high 22 points, bolstered by sinking four 3-pointers, while Wieskamp contributed 17 points. The Hawkeye duo each grabbed nine rebounds.

Purdue entered as one of the Big Ten’s leading rebounding teams, averaging 9.8 more rebounds per game. Iowa won the rebounding battle, 37-35, and recorded its first win in a conference opener in five seasons.

“We communicated and had the edge on the boards. Getting second shots fuels their offense and we were able to limit them to one shot tonight,” said Garza, the National Player of the Year favorite.

Garza extended his streak of scoring 20+ points to 17 straight Big Ten games, dating back to last season. The 17-game streak against Big Ten opponents is the longest streak by a player since Ohio State’s Dennis Hopson (17) in 1987.

After being held to a season-low four 3-pointers against top-ranked Gonzaga, the Hawkeyes made 12 vs. Purdue. It was the sixth time this season Iowa had made at least 10. Jordan Bohannon sank three 3-pointers, including the 300th of his career. He now ranks 10th in Big Ten career 3-pointers made.

When the Hawkeyes visit Minnesota, it will mark the first true road game that Fran McCaffery’s team have played this season. Over the course of seven home games and one neutral-floor contest, Iowa has been amazing on offense but just average defensively.

Why Bet on Minnesota? | 2020 NCAA Basketball Expert Analysis

The Gophers (7-1) beat a very good Saint Louis team 90-82 on Saturday. Marcus Carr scored 32 points, making 14 free throws after halftime, and Minnesota held off Saint Louis in handing the Billikens their first loss of the season.

The game was Carr’s fifth 20-plus game of the season. He made a layup with 13 seconds left and a free throw with five seconds, each time preventing Saint Louis from getting closer than seven points. Carr also finished with seven assists and four steals. He has scored in double-figures 32 times in his career, including in 17 of his past 18 games. He has five games this season with 20 or more points.

Four other Gophers reached double figures, Gabe Kalscheur and Both Gach with 11 points each, Liam Robbins and Isaiah Ihnen with 10 each. Ihnen also grabbed 10 rebounds for his first double-double.  Over his past three games, Ihnen is averaging 9.3 rebounds per game. Minnesota blocked nine shots, four by Robbins and three by Ihnen. Kalscheur made a pair of three-pointers, giving him 160 for his career (seventh-most at Minnesota).

Coach Richard Pitino utilized a starting lineup of forward Brandon Johnson (fourth start this season), center Robbins (eighth start), junior guard Carr (eighth start), junior guard Gabe Kalscheur (eighth start) and junior guard Gach (eighth start). That starting five is 4-0 this season. Minnesota finished with 26 bench points, but the Gophers were outscored 52-20 in the paint.

“I thought that was the best ball movement of the year, Pitino said of the Saint Louis win. We’re really good at getting to the foul line after eight games. When you have 34 points from the foul line, you’re normally going to win the game.”

Carr is averaging 23.9 ppg and 6.0 apg so far and looks to be the best player not named Luka Garza in the Big Ten right now. If one of them has the clear upper hand, their team could very well win.

Expert Prediction
  • Iowa 84, Minnesota 81
 
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