Matching up for the second time on the season, the 21-8 Iowa Hawkeyes take to the road to face the 20-9 Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin won the first matchup 72-66 and looks to sweep the season series against the Hawkeyes. Iowa will be without head coach Fran McCaffery for the matchup as McCaffery serves the second of his two-game suspension for comments towards an official during the Ohio State game on February 26th.
Both teams come into the matchup with all of their major rotational players healthy. Iowa is missing forward Cordell Pemsl who typically has seen a decent chunk of minutes in his three seasons for the Hawkeyes, but they’ve had to face the majority of the season without him already.
Especially without head coach Fran McCaffery on the sidelines, the Hawkeyes face a tough test in Wisconsin on the road to stop their two-game losing streak. The Badgers have actually won three of their last four, but have failed to cover in each of those games.
Iowa Hawkeyes vs Wisconsin Badgers Betting Line & Over/Under
(Betting Line and Total courtesy of Oddsshark.com)
- Iowa Hawkeyes (21-8) vs Wisconsin Badgers (20-9)
- Thursday, March 7th at 7:00 pm ET
- Point Spread: Wisconsin Badgers (-6.5)
- Point Total: 140
Iowa Hawkeyes vs Wisconsin Badgers Pick & Prediction
Although both teams come into the matchup somewhat stumbling, the Badgers have at least picked up wins recently and are heading into what should be an emotional senior night. Potential national player of the year Ethan Happ will be taking the court for the last time in Madison and should be in line to grace the Badger faithful with a sendoff performance to remember. Khalil Iverson is also a senior who sees decent minutes and while he typically plays more in a non-ball-dominant role, should be in attack mode tonight in front of the home crowd.
Without their head coach in Fran McCaffery, Iowa will likely be in a bit of trouble. While McCaffery has worked with the team all week and undoubtedly prepared the game plan against the Badgers, he will be unable to make mid-game adjustments himself and instead has to rely on his available assistant coaches to make the right decisions. In hostile territory against Wisconsin and the potential national player of the year on Senior Night, Iowa will almost certainly feel the loss of their leader.
Despite Iowa’s knack for playing in closely contested games, especially against the Badgers, Wisconsin should be coming out tonight with a ton of energy. Iowa is a good basketball team but hasn’t shot well from deep as of recent and Wisconsin’s elite defense will make sure they aren’t getting many open looks. If Iowa wants to have a shot at covering in this matchup, they need to find their three-point stroke again. Without the steady hand of players coach Fran McCaffery on the sidelines though, the Hawkeyes are unlikely to round back into form.
Expect the Badgers to come out hot and for Happ to put together a monster game as Wisconsin embarrasses a leader-less Iowa team.
Pick: Wisconsin -6.5