NCAA Tournament – First Round West Regional
(2) Iowa (21-8, 14-6) vs (15) Grand Canyon (17-6, 9-3)
- Time: 3:25 PST – 5:25 CST – 6:25 EST – March 20, 2021
- Place:Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Indianapolis, Indiana
- TV: TBS
The Hawkeyes match their highest seed in history in the NCAA Tournament as this matched the 2-seed they received in 1987. The Hawkeyes have won eight out of their last ten games while they have held eight of their last 11 opponents below 70 points.
Grand Canyon has won four out of it’s last five including the last two over Seattle and New Mexico State which equated to the WAC championship.
It’s a return to the state of Indiana for Antelopes coach Bryce Drew and a return to the NCAA Tournament stage as he is best know for his desperation three-pointer in 1998 that lifted his Valparaiso Crusaders past Ole Miss.
Vs. The Spread
- The UNDER has been the play in 9 of Iowa’s last 11 games
- The Hawkeyes are 5-0 SU in their last 5 vs. the WAC
- The Hawks have gone OVER in 6 of their last 8 games played in March
- The Antelopes are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games
- The total has gone UNDER in eight of the last 11 ‘Lopes games
- GCU is 13-3 SU in it’s last 16 outings
Last Time Out:
Luka Garza scored 21 points and Joe Weiskamp added 20, but it wasn’t enough as Illinois defeated Iowa, 82-71, in the Big Ten semifinals. Garza had problems with Illini big man Kofi Cockburn inside as Cockburn finished with 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting.
Grand Canyon defeated New Mexico State, 74-56, to win it’s first WAC title and gain it’s first NCAA Tournament appearance behind 19 points and seven rebounds from Jovan Blackshear, Jr. The Antelopes had a 12-0 run midway through the first half that gave them a 19-9 lead and the ‘Lopes held New Mexico State to 36.4 percent from the floor. Backshear was the tournament MVP as he toiled 34 points and only one turnover in 59 minutes.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Grand Canyon||+14½ (-115)||+870||O 145½ (-105)|
|Iowa||-14½ (-105)||-1500||U 145½ (-115)|
There’s not much left toe written about the solid Hawkeyes career of Luka Garza (23.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg) plus the Hawkeyes 3-point game which averages 38.6 percent from the field. Joe Wieskamp (14.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg) has made 47.3 percent of his triples while Jordan Bohannon makes 38.9 percent with 77 makes. Iowa only averages 9.5 turnovers per game which is a catalyst for one of the nation’s most efficient offenses (2nd/NCAA).
Key Hawkeyes stat:
Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon is a tough matchup with his craftiness on the pint. He is first in the Big Ten in 3-point field goals percentage at 39.7 percent while his 3.27 assist-to-turnover ration is second as well as his 2.63 made triples per game. Bohannon’s 4.5 assists per game if fourth in the league. His matchup with Grand Canyon point guard Jovan Blacksher should be interesting as Backsher leads the ‘Lopes with 37 steals and is a key cog in a GCU defense that is second in the nation in field goal percentage at 37.6 percent.
Freshman forward Keegan Murray comes off the bench for coach Fran McCaffery and gives the Hawks a solid rebounder (5.1 rpg) as well as a finisher inside (52.1%). He was the leading scorer and rebounder off of the Iowa bench in Big Ten play with 7.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
Advantage, Grand Canyon:
The ‘Lopes are solid on both ends of the court, but watch for them to go at Luka Garza early with 7-0, 270-pound Wichita State transfer Asbjørn Midtgaard (14.0 ppg, 9.9) and 6-10 Alessandro Lever (13.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg). Midtgaard makes 70.6 percent of his field goals while Lever can go out side and nail the triple. Generally, teams have to choose their poison when playing the two GCU bigs.
Key Antelopes Stat:
Grand Canyon is the only team in the nation that can rank in the top 15 in team field goal percentage (49.1%) and defensive field goal percentage (37.6%). That said the Antelopes defense leads into it’s offense as it held last week’s two opponents in the WAC Tournament to 32.4 percent from the field.
Jovan Blacksher, Jr. on the point started from day one and he didn’t disappoint as he was the only freshman in the nation to score 300 points, pull down 150 rebounds and hand out 100 assists. He was named the WAC Freshman of the Year and he played with tons of maturity with his ability to direct the pace of games as well as facilitate as coach Bryce Drew asked.
Winner: Iowa 80, Grand Canyon (+14.5) 72