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The No. 1 team in the nation, Purdue, hosts a red-hot Iowa Hawkeyes club that has won seven of their past nine games, re-entering the Big 10 conversation. A win here can put Iowa in a tie for second place in the conference, merely weeks after its season seemed to be over. Can Iowa cover a 7.5-point spread on the road against an angry Boilermaker team seeking revenge?
Meanwhile, Arizona will face the California Golden Bears, a team that has struggled mightily this season. The Wildcats have a lot to play for, as they are merely half of a game out of a tie for first place with UCLA for the Pac-12 regular season title. Arizona should win, but can it cover a massive 19.5-point spread on the road?
See our analysis of these two exciting matchups below in what will be yet another terrific slate for fans of college basketball!
When: 7:00 PM EST
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Purdue just lost to its arch-rival, Indiana, on the road. The Boilermakers will certainly want to take out their anger and frustration on their next opponent, Iowa; however, the Hawkeyes are a tough team to beat, especially with how they have been playing recently. Let’s get into the details below.
Throughout this entire season, the one thing that has taken Purdue from a good team to a great team has been the emergence and play of 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey. Edey is the obvious favorite for National Player of the Year and barring anything unexpected (i.e. injury, or absurdly impressive play from someone else), he should win it.
Per BlackHeartGoldPants.com, Edey leads the entire nation in PER (player efficiency rating), win shares, and plus/minus. Basically, he is an unstoppable force, especially at the collegiate level. Iowa’s only hope is to shoot the ball from deep at an elite clip. Luckily, the Hawkeyes have been doing just that.
Iowa has won seven of its past nine games, and while it likely won’t stop Edey and the Purdue Boilermakers, it should put up enough points to keep this game close. During that nine-game stretch, the Hawkeyes have shot 48% from the field and 41% from deep, with Kris Murray posting averages of 21 points and seven rebounds.
Purdue might be the No. 1 team in the nation, but it does not cover well, with a 4-7-1 record ATS as a home favorite this season. This has historically been a betting concern with head coach Matt Painter, even when the Boilermakers are crushing teams.
Iowa has not been great covering either (3-3 on the road), but it has been playing some impressive basketball recently. The Hawkeyes had a rough start to the 2022-23 season, but have since turned it around, and are merely one game out of being tied for second place in the always-competitive Big Ten Conference.
I like the Hawkeyes to cover in this game. Purdue will be playing motivated, but remember that Iowa has the third-ranked offense (per KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency metric) in the nation, despite a slow start to the season. The Boilermakers should win, but Iowa should keep it relatively close due to pace and shooting.
When: 11:00 PM EST
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Arizona is a team that I have covered quite a bit this season in our best bets articles; it undoubtedly has the best-starting frontcourt in the nation and has ascended all the way to No. 4 in the latest AP Poll after winning six-straight games in a tough Pac-12 Conference.
The Wildcats’ best player, Azuolas Tubelis, has been on a tear recently, averaging 28 points and nine rebounds in his past three games. Many people in Arizona’s basketball program, including head coach Tommy Lloyd, believe that Tubelis has not gotten the national media attention that he deserves. Quite frankly, they are probably right.
Tubelis and Oumar Ballo are a borderline unstoppable frontcourt duo, and Arizona’s backcourt certainly isn’t weak either, with three sharpshooting guards (Kerr Kriisa, Cedric Henderson Jr, and Courtney Ramey) all averaging 37% or better from deep.
Lloyd has the Wildcats playing their best basketball one month before the start of the NCAA Tournament; it is almost a perfect time to peak!
Meanwhile, the California Golden Bears have been making every effort to find the silver lining in their season, but I can only imagine that is a struggle to do. The Golden Bears are 3-20 this season and 2-10 in the Pac-12. Ouch.
Their only victories have come against Texas Arlington, Stanford, and Colorado; the win against the Buffaloes could end up being the highlight of their season. So what has gone so wrong for this team that they barely ever win?
For one, their best player, and former Kentucky and Texas transfer, Devin Askew, has only played in 13 games; he has officially been ruled out for the rest of the season due to a sports hernia injury.
To worsen matters, DeJuan Clayton, a super, super redshirt senior has played in roughly a handful of games for the Golden Bears. He is another one of their most experienced players and leading scorers outside of Askew.
California was not expected to be a great team in the preseason (163rd in a preseason ranking on SI.com), but this season has still been its worst nightmare.
These two teams faced off in early December, and Arizona won by 13 points at home, so one might think that the Golden Bears have a shot at keeping the game competitive since they are in front of their own fans. However, Devin Askew was available for that game, and he posted a heroic 25 points in 37 points.
Without Askew, California, which ranks 285th in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency, has virtually no shot at keeping this game within 20 points, especially with how the Wildcats have been playing. I will ride with Arizona against the spread.
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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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