The Northwestern Wildcats and Iowa Hawkeyes are scheduled to meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Tuesday night on the campus of the University of Iowa. Northwestern will hit the road and travel to Iowa with an upset in mind. They will need a big effort to knock off No. 10 Iowa in this spot. That said, Northwestern are a talented team that have been playing decent basketball of their own in 2020.
It wouldn’t be the biggest upset of the season by any means. The No. 19 Wildcats have a lot to be happy about this season. They go into Iowa City with a strong record of 6-1. Their only defeat this season came against Pittsburgh by a point, 71-70, on December 9. Otherwise, it has been smooth sailing for the Wildcats in 2020.
Northwestern are coming off a 71-70 win over Ohio State on Saturday. They might have been frustrated by their 71-70 loss versus Pitt, but were on the winning side in that entertaining contest Saturday. The Buckeyes were the second ranked team that Northwestern bounced this season. Earlier in the year the Wildcats dispatched the Michigan State Spartans by a score of 79-65 on December 20.
Home court advantage might not be as advantageous without fans, but it’s still clearly a factor in games. Travelling on the road given all of these protocols in place has to be a drain for college aged players. Sitting at home and waiting for a team to arrive is clearly a plus for that school. Iowa were on the road in their most recent contest, a 102-95 loss against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Christmas.
Welcoming a team to come play on Christmas Day has to be even more of an advantage. The Hawkeyes return home looking to avoid their third loss of the 2020-21 season. They go into Tuesday with a record of 7-2. They have some impressive wins on their resume, but have yet to beat a ranked opponent. Gonzaga and Minnesota both defeated Iowa in two high-scoring games, 99-88 and 102-95. Head below for our free Northwestern vs. Iowa pick on December 29, 2020.
Northwestern Wildcats vs. Iowa Hawkeyes NCAA Betting Odds:
Northwestern vs. Iowa Prediction:
Iowa will likely be motivated to bounce back following a tough defeat against Minnesota on the road. They’re back home in a comfortable environment against the visiting Wildcats. In their last home game, the Hawkeyes dismantled Northern Illinois by a score of 106-53. That was after Iowa made it look easy in a 105-77 win over Iowa State. Through eight games in Iowa City, they’ve averaged a whopping 95.1 points per game at home. Besides the loss against Gonzaga, who is bulldozing everyone, Iowa has blown all of their other opponents out. North Carolina came the closest in a 93-80 final on December 8.
The Hawkeyes have scored an average of 95.1 points per game for second in the NCAA. The offense runs through big man and sharpshooter Luka Garza. Garza might be slow and unathletic, but he can shoot the ball and provide mismatches all over the floor. Whether it’s beyond the three-point line, or in the paint, Garza can be a headache to defend. It will be interesting to see how his game translates in the much quicker NBA.
He’s likely a second-round selection and might be a second rate Nikola Jokic of sorts at the next level. 20 years ago he would have been a can’t-miss prospect, but the game has changed and values speed and athleticism more so now. Garza has recorded 28.8 points and 10 rebounds per game. He’s shooting an incredibly impressive 62.7% from the field going into tonight.
Northwestern has been impressive in their own right. They are scoring an average of 85.3 points and conceding 62.3 points a game. I suspect that Northwestern could be in for a letdown spot here on the road, though. They are coming off a hard-fought loss against the Buckeyes, while Iowa were 102-95 losers in a game they should have played better in. The point spread has trap written all over it. Northwestern is likely being backed by the public, though the line isn’t budging. I like Iowa by a score of 85-71 at home.