Nebraska Cornhuskers @ #17 Iowa Hawkeyes Preview
Date: Saturday, February 8th
Time: 5:00 pm CST/6:00 pm EST
Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa
2019-20 Record: 16-7 (7-5, T-5th in standings)
Head Coach: Fran McCaffery 10th season (190-139 record, 85-91 Big Ten)
Odds: Nebraska +8.5
How To Watch: BTN
Iowa is on track to have one of their best seasons under Coach McCaffery. With 8 games still to go, they can reasonably expect a shot at 5 more wins which would give Fran his most wins ever in a Big Ten conference season. Their wins so far include Texas Tech, Syracuse, Maryland, Rutgers, and Illinois (though the Big Ten wins are all home games). They have struggled on the road, however. Losses at Nebraska, Michigan, and most recently a truly awful 104-68 absolute shellacking at Purdue just this past Wednesday night all demonstrate Iowa’s weaknesses as well.
Overall Iowa sits at both #17 in the AP Poll and in KenPom rankings. They have the 3rd ranked adjusted offense and can beat pretty much anybody when they are shooting hot. However, typical of a Fran coached team, defense is their weakness. They sit all the way back at 117th in adjusted defense. Iowa is giving up an average of 75.6 points per game in conference play, while averaging 76.3 points on offense. In games they are cold, Iowa simply can’t keep the other teams from scoring either, a fact they are well aware of after the loss in Lincoln a month ago.
As for players to watch, Luke Garza is the top scorer obviously. Garza is averaging 23.2 points per game for the Hawkeyes. He also leads the team in rebounds per game, 10, and blocks, 1.7. Meanwhile Joe Wieskamp is second in scoring with 14.8 points per game on 37.7% shooting from three point range and 83.1% from the free throw line, and this while leading the team in minutes with 32 per game.
Connor McCaffery leads the team in assists with 3.7 per game and averages 6 points per game (and leads the team in taking punches to the groin area by Brad Davison). CJ Fredrick is second on the team in assists with 2.8 per game, and is third in scoring with 11.5 points.
Whenever I predict Nebraska will get blown out, they end up pulling out a win. So I’m going to try that route for this game. Let’s call it:
Hawkeyes 98-Huskers 65