By: Matthew Vale
Spread: Iowa (-2.5); Over/ under (144)
February 20th, 7PM ET; Carver- Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, IA
Ohio State Buckeyes (17-8, 7-7)
Ohio State has finally broken out of their 2020 slump. After starting the year with a paltry 1-5 record, Ohio State has flipped the script and has won 5 of their last 6. Let’s dive into the 5 wins though. 3 of them were at home over mediocre road teams, and 1 of their wins was over Northwestern. That leaves only 1 win that truly impressed me over Michigan in Ann Arbor. Don’t get me wrong though, especially considering how the Buckeyes started in January, I am sure the Buckeyes are happy to be sitting where they are at. Combining this week streak with what they accomplished in the non-conference, Ohio State should be a lock to make the tournament. Ohio State is mainly led by their do it all junior forward Kaleb Wesson who is averaging nearly a double-double with 14.1 PPG and 9.4 rebounds per game.
Iowa Hawkeyes (18-8, 9-6)
Other than getting shellacked by Purdue, Iowa has started out February pretty well. Other than that game, the Hawkeyes are 3-1 with their only other loss also coming also in the state of Indiana against the Hoosiers. Good news for the Hawkeyes; this game will not be played in Indiana so Iowa is already at an advantage. More accurately, this game will be played in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa is 12-1 straight up at home with their only home loss coming to DePaul in early November. Most notably, Iowa owns strong home wins already over Maryland by 18, Michigan by 7, and Illinois by 7. Iowa is led by likely All-American center Luka Garza who is averaging 23.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Garza is the front-runner for Big 10 player of the year and he should also have a good shot as national player of the year.
Like most Big 10 games, the x-factor is who is at home. On top of that you want to look at who good they are at home and how good is the opponent on the road. As I mentioned earlier, Iowa is at home they are perfect in the conference slate at home, and Ohio State mediocre on the road. The most significant battle will be Garza vs K. Wesson down low but Garza is a better version of Wesson and Garza is at home so I will give the nod to him. Finally, in its home games this season, the Hawkeyes are 9-3-1 ATS. All signs it this game point to Iowa. Take Iowa -2.5.
Matthew’s Overall Record (5-4)