Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Wisconsin Badgers NCAAB Preview
Where: Kohl Center — Madison, Wisconsin
When: Thursday, March 2, 2017 – 9:00 PM ET
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Betting on the Iowa Hawkeyes (16-13, 8-8 Big Ten)
The Hawkeyes need to win all of their remaining games if they want to be considered for the tournament, and they have done well so far. They will enter the contest as winners of back-to-back. After eclipsing Indiana in OT, 96-90, they visited no. 24 Maryland over the weekend and dominated, 83-69.
Peter Jok (20.6 PPG), the team’s leader and main option, was quiet against the Terrapins (3-for-10 for 11 points), but his two co-starters, Tyler Cook and Jordan Bohannon, picked up the slack. The pair of freshmen each scored 20-plus points and collectively shot 61.5 percent on the floor, with Bohannon recording season-highs eight threes and 24 points.
Iowa would obviously need Jok to regain his rhythm moving forward, and Cook (12.2 PPG) and Bohannon (9.7 PPG, 4.5 APG) to continue being the key helping hands.
The team has seen a handful of spurts throughout the campaign. Following a 3-1 start, they have three separate three-plus game losing streaks, two three-plus game winning streaks, and one five-game stretch where they went 3-2.
The Hawkeyes are 3-8 SU and ATS on the road this season, but they boast the second-best scoring offense in the Big Ten (77.3 PPG), while also ranking first in steals (7.9 SPG).
Betting on the Wisconsin Badgers (22-7, 11-5 Big Ten)
The Badgers continued their decline after winning 21 of their first 24 contests. They have now dropped four of their last five (1-4 ATS), with the last two coming by double-digit points.
A big part of the struggles can be rooted to the inconsistency of their big three – Ethan Happ, Bronson Koenig, and Nigel Hayes – who are suddenly interchanging off-nights.
Happ is only a combined 6-for-15 from the floor for 12 points in this last two, and it’s after he recorded a pair of 20-point games where he made 71 percent of his shots. Hayes, meanwhile, scored 6, 21, 7, and 22 points in the same span.
As for Koenig, who currently plays the best out of the three, he put up 27 and 17 points in the two prior outings, but it was after he had a five-game stretch where he only netted 8.8 PPG and shot 25.5 percent.
Moving forward, the three will simply have to takeover, particularly Happ. He’s quite possibly the best big man and stat sheet-stuffer in the Big Ten, and the Badgers obviously need a whole lot of him if they want a taste of March Madness. The all-around forward is averaging 14.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.2 blocks on 60 percent shooting on the year, ALL of which are team-leading numbers. I mean…
Wisconsin is 15-1 at home this season (12-4 ATS).
The Badgers (-12) win, 80-75.
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