A Big Ten showdown for the ages, Ohio State at Iowa, goes down on Thursday evening. The Buckeyes have gotten red hot over the last few weeks, moving up to 25 in the latest AP poll. Iowa dropped down a few spots, but comes in ranked 20th in the latest AP poll. Iowa is currently in third place in the Big Ten, while Ohio State sits way back in the 9th spot.
Iowa’s 18-8 record, 9-6 in the conference, only trails Maryland and Penn State in the Big Ten. A loss from them Thursday would bump Illinois up, and leave the two teams tied in third. The Buckeyes are 17-8 overall, but unfortunately for them, 7 of those losses have come at the hands of Big Ten opponents. They’re 3-5 on the road this season. Iowa has only lost 1 game at home all season.
Eyes to Eyes
Ohio State can think road wins against Kentucky and Michigan for their high ranking. Otherwise, this Buckeyes team has stumbled quite often this season. Much improvement was shown in January, but they haven’t been able to string enough wins together to climb the Big Ten standings.
They’re led by junior forward Kaleb Wesson, who averages 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Wesson also leads the team in blocks, putting up 1.1 per contest. Freshman guard D.J. Carton isn’t far behind Wesson in scoring, averaging 10.4 points per game. The guard combo of Carton and Duane Washington Jr. has proven a lethal threat for the Buckeyes.
At one point in time, many pundits thought Iowa may be the beat team in the Big Ten. However, Big Ten competition has been strong this season, and now Maryland and Penn State have taken flight. Led by Big Ten player of the year candidate, Luka Garza, the Hawkeyes are out for blood in the conference. Fully prepared to try and take home the regular season title.
Garza is averaging an astounding 23.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. He has steadily been a top 3 player within the conference, and one of the best in the country. Joe Wieskamp has become Robin to Garza’s Batman. Wieskamp is putting up 14.9 points and 6.2 rebounds. The duo is shooting 38% from deep this season. Add that to C.J. Frederick’s 47%, and you’ve got a dynamic three point shooting team.
Home in the Big Ten
Home court advantage doesn’t mean as much in any conference in the country, but in the Big Ten, the home teams win and win often. Iowa is one of only 4 teams in the Big Ten with one loss or fewer at home. Maryland has yet to lose at home, 15-0. Iowa is 15-8-2 against the spread this season, while Ohio State is 15-10.
Iowa is 9-2-2 against the spread at home this season, Ohio State is only 3-5 on the road. Iowa is favored by 2.5 with the over/under at 144.5 in this game. The scoring combo of Garza and Wiesman will prove to be too much for the Buckeyes to handle. Iowa wins and covers the 2.5.
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