The March 7th Wisconsin at Iowa matchup is a tale of two teams headed in the opposite direction. For the #5 Hawkeyes, things are looking bright at the most important time of the year, winners of six of the last seven. The #25 Badgers on the other hand are limping into postseason tournaments, losers of four of their last five.
The Hawkeyes have a more than steady chance of winning this matchup, as they are 13-2 in Iowa City on the season. Is -7 points too much to give in a key conference clash though? Iowa was pretty convincing in a 77-62 win in Madison last month as +1.5 underdogs.
Badgers Not Quite Big Ten Elite
The Big Ten is a gauntlet this season, with 4 of the top 7 teams in the country coming out of the conference. Wisconsin has a good squad at 16-10, but it’s clear they’re just not in the upper echelon of the B1G elite.
The Badgers’ signature win was probably at Michigan State on Christmas back when the Spartans were in a rut. Either that or the wins at Rutgers or at Maryland, but other wise Wisconsin has gone 0-7 vs. the top 5 teams in the conference. UW is 2-5 over their last 7, the only wins coming against Nebraska and Northwestern, the two worst teams in the Big Ten.
That’s not saying the Badgers aren’t ready to put up a fight heading into the March 7th Wisconsin at Iowa pick. The Badgers fell 69-74 to #4 Illinois 8 days ago (albeit at home and as -4.5 favorites) and just dropped a 69-73 contest at a surging Purdue squad (+2). UW also hasn’t played since Tuesday, giving them a couple extra days of rest.
Swan Song for Garza
It’s not like player of the year front-runner Luka Garza ever needs extra motivation, but he will surely be fired up playing his last game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena (along with Jordan Bohannon). Garza would love to give one more memorable performance, even if it’s in front of only about 500+ fans.
That’s not good news for Wisconsin, who had no answer for Garza when he went for 30/8 when the teams met in Madison. Garza had just 14 in Thursday’s win over Nebraska, but that’s what happens when you’re beating a team by nearly 40 points. Games like that also allow the Hawkeyes to find some depth outside of their big man, as Bohannon had 26, Patrick McCaffrey 19, and Joe Wieskamp double digits for the 9th straight.
It’s the ultimate clash of offense vs. defense as Iowa leads the Big Ten in scoring (85.3 ppg) and Wisconsin has the top defensive unit (63.5).
Free March 7th Wisconsin at Iowa Pick
The easy play here is probably Iowa to win big in the last home game for Garza. The Hawkeyes have looked dominant as of late too. Don’t discount Wisconsin though. They’ve slowed the pace and at least kept things close against good teams in Illinois and Purdue the last two. 7 points is doable.
Wisconsin 65 – Iowa 70
Free Pick: Wisconsin +7