Midwest Region First Round Betting Picks: #11 Iowa Hawkeyes vs #11 Tennessee Volunteers

2014 NCAA Tournament
Midwest Region – First Round

#11 Iowa Hawkeyes vs #11 Tennessee Volunteers
University of Dayton Arena – Dayton, Ohio
Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 9:10 pm Eastern, TV: truTV
Opening Line: Tennessee -3
Current Line: Pick
Opening Total: 143 1/2
Current Total: 142 1/2
Opening Money Line: Tennessee -125 / Iowa +105
Current Money Line: Tennessee -110 / Iowa -110

Tennessee and Iowa face off in the Midwest region first round Wednesday night in Dayton. The winner will face Massachusetts in the second round Friday.
Tennessee and Iowa face off in the Midwest region first round Wednesday night in Dayton. The winner will face Massachusetts in the second round Friday.

The 20-12 Iowa Hawkeyes and 21-12 Tennessee Volunteers meet for only the fourth time ever Wednesday night in Dayton in the Midwest Region First Round game. The winner will be the #11 seed in the region and face #6 seed Massachusetts in the second round Friday in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Iowa went 9-9 in the Big Ten and finished sixth. The Hawkeyes were once ranked in the top 15 in the AP poll but Iowa went 1-6 in their last 7 games, including 3 straight. Iowa was upset by #11 seed Northwestern 67-62 in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. The Hawkeyes are making their first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2006.

Tennessee was fourth in the SEC with an 11-7 record. The Volunteers lost to Florida 56-49 in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. That loss snapped a 5 game winning streak for the Volunteers. Tennessee is making their 7th NCAA appearance in the last 10 years.

Iowa leads the series against Tennessee 2-1. Iowa won the last meeting in 2000 in a tournament in Honolulu. All three previous meetings took place on neutral courts. Both the Hawkeyes and Volunteers participated the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament in the Bahamas this season, but they did not play each other.

Iowa is coached by Fran McCaffery. He joins Lon Kruger as the only coaches to lead five different programs to the NCAA tournament. The Hawkeyes have losses to Villanova in the Championship game of a tournament in the Bahamas, at Iowa State, Wisconsin twice, at Michigan, Michigan State twice, Ohio State, at Minnesota, at Indiana, Illinois and Northwestern. Iowa has key wins over Pennsylvania, Xavier and UTEP both in the Bahamas, Notre Dame, Drake in Des Moines, Nebraska, Northwestern twice, at Ohio State, Minnesota, at Illinois, Michigan, at Penn State and Purdue. Iowa is 15-15 ATS and the total is 20-9 this season.

Iowa is outscoring teams 82-70 this season. The Hawkeyes are #10 nationally in scoring. Iowa is shooting 46.5% from the field and 35.3% from 3 point range. The Hawkeyes make 73.3% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 41.4% from the field and 31.9% from 3 point range. Iowa is seventh nationally in rebounding at 40.8 per game and opponents are averaging 29.6. The Hawkeyes average 16.2 assists, 11.4 turnovers, 7.3 steals and 5.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.8 assists, 13.5 turnovers, 6.5 steals, and 3.5 blocks per game.

Guard Roy Devyn Marble averages 17.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Forward Aaron White averages 13 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. Guard Mike Gesell averages 8.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Forward Melsahn Basabe averages 7.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.  Forward Jarrod Uthoff  averages 7.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. Zach McCabe, Peter Jok,  Gabriel Olaseni, Adam Woodbury, Josh Oglesby, and Anthony Clemmons will also get significant time in the rotation.

Tennessee is coached by Cuonzo Martin. The Volunteers have losses at Xavier, UTEP in the Bahamas, at Wichita State, North Carolina State, Texas A&M twice, at Kentucky, Florida three times, at Vanderbilt, and at Missouri. Tennessee has key wins over Xavier and Wake Forest in the Bahamas, Morehead State, Virginia, at LSU, Auburn twice, Arkansas, Ole Miss, at Alabama, South Carolina twice, Georgia, at Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, and Missouri. Tennesse is 18-13 ATS and the total is 12-18-1 this season.

The Volunteers are outscoring teams 71-61 this season. Tennessee is #16 nationally in points allowed. The Volunteers are shooting 44.7% from the field including 33.5% from 3 point range. Tennessee makes 71% of their free throws. Volunteer opponents  are shooting 40.8% from the field including 34.2% from 3 point range. Tennessee averages 38.8 rebounds a game and opponents average 26.8 per game. Tennessee is #23 in rebounds nationally and #9 in rebounds allowed.  The Volunteers average 12.6 assists, 5.2 steals, 4.8 blocks and 10.7 turnovers a game. Opponents average 9.8 assists, 5.3 steals, 3.8 blocks, and 10.9 turnovers a game.

Guard Jordan McRae averages 18.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1 block per game. Forward Jarnell Stokes averages 14.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block per game. Forward Jeronne Maymon averages 10.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1 assist per game. Guard Josh Richardson averages 9.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.2 assists. Guard Antonio Barton averages 7.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Armani Moore, Darius Thompson, Derek Reese, and A.J. Davis will also get significant time in the rotation. Guard Robert Hubbs III is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

Tennessee is 4-1 ATS overall, 6-2 after a loss, and after failing to cover, 5-2 in non-conference games and after scoring 50 points or less, and 1-3-1 against Big Ten teams.

Iowa is 5-1 ATS in Wednesday games, 16-5 in non-conference games, 0-5 after a straight up loss, 0-6 after failing to cover, and against teams with winning records, and 0-7 overall.

This line opened at Tennessee -3 and almost immediately dropped to a pick. I don’t really understand why. Tennessee was red hot until the ran into the best team in the nation in Florida. Iowa, meanwhile has been a mess recently. I think Tennessee wins this game easily.

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