The Hawkeyes seemed to have bounced back a bit heading into the February 18th Iowa at Wisconsin matchup. Fran McCaffrey’s team has rattled of consecutive double digit wins after dropping 4 of their previous 5. The Hawks meet up with a UW squad that has had some struggles as of late.
Wisconsin is down to #21 in the nation after a 67-59 loss to Michigan on Sunday. Yes the Wolverines are ranked #3, but they were also playing their first game in over three weeks after a long COVID pause. The Badgers couldn’t hold on to a 12-point lead even against a rusty Wolverines squad. Nonetheless, UW is a -2 favorite on Thursday night.
Iowa Back in a Groove?
It was a tough 5-game stretch for the Hawkeyes to wind down January and start February, but that’s going to happen in this loaded Big Ten. During that time Iowa lost to Indiana twice, and fell at Illinois and at home against Ohio State.
Iowa has looked much better the last two though, beating Rutgers 79-66 as -7 home favorites and toppling Michigan State 88-58 in East Lansing as just -4 favorites. Joe Wieskamp led the way for Iowa on Saturday as they got the blowout win over the Spartans despite just 8 points from Luka Garza, who leads the Big Ten in scoring with 24.5 ppg.
That was a rare down game for Garza, who had scored in double digits in every other game this season. That being said, Wisconsin boasts the #1 defense in the Big Ten (62.6) ppg up against Iowa’s top ranked offense (87.4). Iowa has balance though, as Weiskamp has hit for 20+ in consecutive games, Jordan Bohannon has double figures in 3 of 4, and Jack Nunge has added 12+ off the bench in 3 of 5.
Wisconsin Has to Be Reeling Right Now
It was almost the perfect opportunity for the Badgers to get a statement win in knocking off #3 Michigan in Madison on Sunday. Things looked great as Wisconsin went up by a dozen at the half, but UW then stopped scoring and playing defense, as the Wolverines had a 40-20 edge in the 2nd.
The Badgers need a bounce back coming into the February 18th Iowa at Wisconsin pick, but how? Isaiah Livers did whatever he wanted against UW last time out, not good heading into a matchup with Garza. The Badgers have now lost 3 of their last 5, and their record at the Kohl Center has fallen to 11-3.
Iowa was able to notch a 68-62 win over Wisconsin last year in Iowa City. Garza was dominant with 21 points and 18 rebounds but the Badgers won by 20 in the previous meeting in Madison back in 2019.
Free February 18th Iowa at Wisconsin Pick
There’s definitely some value in the Hawkeyes getting +2 points here, as the Badgers’ loss on Sunday to Michigan was borderline unacceptable against a team that just sat idle for 3 weeks. 57% of the public likes Iowa, but the line has shifted from a WISC +1.5 open. Ultimately Iowa just has the better scoring balance and the best player on the court in Garza.
Iowa 71 – Wisconsin 66
Free Pick: Iowa +2