Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan Wolverines – NCAAM February 25

No. 9 Iowa (17-6, 11-6) at No. 3 Michigan (16-1, 11-1)

  • Time: 4PM PST | 6PM CST | 7PM EST
  • Location: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, MI
  • TV: ESPN

Tip-Off

Give coach Fran McCaffery and the Hawkeyes credit. They rebounded mentally and emotionally after losing four out of five as they have crafted a four-game winning streak which has gotten them back into the Top 10 and is giving them an opportunity to reassert their status with a win over the Wolverines.

Michigan has won five in a row despite a three-week COVID-19 pause by the UM athletic department as it forced postponement of five games in the process. Michigan freshman Hunter Dickinson has been phenomenal as he won his seventh Big Ten Freshman of the Week as he leads the Wolverines with in scoring (15.0 ppg), rebounding (7.8 rpg), blocks (1.6 bpg) while shooting a team best 63.9 perfect from the floor.

Michigan has won seven of the last 10 home games vs. Iowa as there are 13 games where these two teams were both ranked in the Top 25. Michigan holds a 7-6 margin when both are ranked.

The last time these two teams played each other and were both ranked in the Top 10 was in Feb., 1989 when Michigan beat Iowa, 108-107, in double overtime in Iowa City.

Vs. The Spread

Iowa:

  • The Hawkeyes check in at 3-6 ATS in the last 9 games
  • The UNDER has been the play in Iowa’s last 5 games
  • The Hawks are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games at Michigan

Michigan:

  • The Wolverines are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 6 of UM’s last 8 games
  • The total has gone OVER in 8 of the last 12 meetings between the Wolverines and Hawkeyes

Last Time Out

Luka Garza became Iowa’s all-time leading scorer as he scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Hawkeyes’ 74-68 passing of Penn State on Sunday. The Hawkeyes held the Nittany Lions to 35.5 percent from the floor, but had to outscored Penn State, 20-14, over the last 12 minutes to pick up the win. CJ Frederick tallied 18 for the Hawkeyes.

Hunter Dickinson led Michigan with 22 points and nine rebounds as the Wolverines knocked off then No. 4 Ohio State, 92-87, in Columbus on Sunday. Eli Brooks followed with 17 points while Chaundee Brown came off the bench to add 15 as the Wolverines stopped Ohio State’s winning streak at seven games.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Iowa +5 (-110) +185 O 154 (-105)
Michigan -5 (-110) -215 U 154 (-115)

Advantage, Iowa

Iowa Hawkeyes LogoThe Garza-Dickinson matchup is going to be one of the major storylines in this game; however, roles players stepping up will be the key in who wins the game. First, Garza scored 77 points in two meetings vs. the Wolverines last year, so trying to neutralize him will be Michigan’s first order of business. Guards Joe Weiskamp and Jordan Bohannon are going to be important on the perimeter for Iowa as the lead the vaunted Hawkeyes’ three-point attack (40.6% -3) with 56 makes each.

Michigan defends the triple at a 33.1 percent clip on the season; however, Ohio State was 11-of-22 from three, but the previous seven Wolverines’ opponents shot 32 percent or less from behind the arc.

Key Hawkeyes’ Stat:

This game will come down to how well the Iowa defense can defend as it will need to bring a physical presence toward Dickinson on the inside and then be able to matchup with Isaiah Livers, Eli Brooks, Mike Smith and Chaundee Brown on the perimeter. The Hawkeyes only turn the ball over 9.7 times per game and they only force their opponents into 11.7 per game. Michigan is sixth in the nation in offensive efficiency while the Hawkeyes are 75th in defensive efficiency, per kenpom.com.

X-Factor:

Iowa’s defense has been the key to it’s resurgence as they have held their four opponents to 36 percent from the floor in the four-game winning streak while giving up only 63 points per game. The out rebounded those four opponents by (+8.8) boards per night and the rebounding presence vs. Dickinson and Franz Wagner will be important.

Advantage, Michigan

Michigan Wolverines LogoDickinson hasn’t fouled out of a game yet, but a savvy veteran like Garza can certainly uses his experience and on-court knowledge to get Dickinson into foul trouble. Michigan is also a good three-point shooting team as the Wolverines net 38.7 percent of their triples on the season. The Hawks’ opponents make 34.7 percent and an eye-popping 9.3 per game. They have only allowed 31 percent from distance in the four game winning streak, but a shooter such as Isaiah Livers (42.9% – 3) presence a different kinds of challenge.

Key Wolverines Stat:

The Wolverines shoot 50.2 percent from the field as the Wolverines have shot above 50 percent 10 times and seven in the Big Ten. In addition to Dickinson’s 63.9 percent from the field, Franz Wagner (51%), Isaiah Livers (47.7%), Chaundee Brown, Jr. (48.2%) and Mike Smith (45.9%) put pressure on defenses with their consistency.

X-Factor:

The age of this Michigan team is a huge factor in it’s success. Coach Juwan Howard has nine seniors on their roster as the 2.14 years of experience is 57th in the NCAA (kenpom). The additions of Brown, a Wake Forest transfer, and graduate student Mike Smith of Columbia have elevated this team to the point where anything less than a Final Four is going to be a disappointment.

Winner: Michigan (-5) 83, Iowa 76

The Bets
Michigan Wolverines -5
-110
Michigan Wolverines
-215
OVER 154
-105
Sub Categories:
Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.