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There are not a lot of games on this Thursday slate, and even fewer to be amped about; however, the rivalry game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones should be entertaining, as the former has an elite offensive attack and the latter is a versatile defensive unit. Take a look at our best college basketball picks for the Iowa versus Iowa State “Cy-Hawk” basketball game below!
Date: Thursday, December 7
Time: 7:30 pm EST
Moneyline: Iowa N/A | Iowa State N/A
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The Iowa Hawkeyes stood little chance in their first Big Ten game of the 2023-24 regular season when they went on the road to face No. 4 Purdue, a team that had just dropped a game to unranked Northwestern for its first loss of the year. The Boilermakers’ last game against Iowa was a revenge game; they outscored the Hawkeyes 87-68 and held them to just 38.5% shooting from the field.
Don’t read too much into that game; the Hawkeyes are still a dangerous team and have the 14th-highest adjusted offensive efficiency in the nation, per KenPom. Even though they have not shot the ball from deep as well as they have in past seasons (35.3% as a team), they still can put up some big numbers, like they did against North Dakota (110 points), Alabama State (98 points), Creighton (84 points), and North Florida (103 points.) Posting 84 points on the Bluejays is extremely impressive, considering they are a top-ten defensive team in the nation.
The Hawkeyes are led by Valparaiso transfer Ben Krikke (18.4 points per game), Payton Sandfort (13.6 points per game), Tony Perkins (12.8 points per game), Patrick McCaffery (11.5 points per game), and Owen Freeman (9.8 points per game), who all average double-digits, or just shy of it in Freeman’s case. Their biggest weakness offensively, as alluded to above, is that they do not shoot the three-pointer all that well. Still, this team is capable of scoring in bunches, despite their mediocre 5-3 start to the season.
Meanwhile, Iowa State is having a strong start to the year, holding a 6-2 record with losses to Virginia Tech and now-No. 21 Texas A&M. The Cyclones are only a few seasons removed from their abysmal 2021 season, when they went 2-22 overall with an 0-18 conference record. Needless to say, they have turned the program back around in the right direction in short order.
Iowa State is led by the trio of Tamin Lipsey, Keshon Gilbert, and Milan Momcilovic, all of whom average between 13 and 15 points per game for the Cyclones. Lipsey, in particular, is the cornerstone of this team, as he leads them in points, rebounds, assists, and steals per game. Further, he shoots close to 50% from the field and 36% from deep, which helps provide an otherwise average offensive attack with sufficient scoring.
So how will the Hawkeyes fare against Iowa State, a team that ranks ninth in adjusted defensive efficiency and has an effective field goal percentage of just shy of 54%?
Iowa is in a solid spot for a bounce back performance, especially in a rivalry game against the Cyclones. The Hawkeyes are one of the better offensive teams in the nation and have played a much harder schedule up to this point than Iowa State, which matters a lot in the beginning of a season. Expect Iowa to hang close until the end. Even if it doesn’t win, seven points is a lot to lay in this situation.
Andrew has always been an avid sports fan and followed his hoop dreams all the way to college. He’s well-versed in everything betting with multiple years of experience and is qualitatively and quantitatively knowledgeable in sports statistics and analytics.More info on Andrew Norton
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