(7) Iowa v. (10) Davidson
Time: 7:20 PM ET
Spread: IOW -2.5
Betting odds c/o Bovada
The No. 7 seeded Iowa Hawkeyes will meet No. 10 seeded Davidson in a matchup that promises to be a close nail biter. College basketball oddsmakers at Bovada set early lines 2.5 points in favor of Iowa, with an over/under of 145.
The Hawkeyes ended the season with a loss to Penn State, which was disappointing for Iowa faithful since the team had managed to take down PSU just two weeks prior on Feb 28 in an overtime battle. Wins over Indiana and Northwestern were more definitive, but Davidson promises to be a tough match for Iowa.
The Hawkeyes are a very well balanced team, but have its struggles offensively to say the very least. It only averaged 69 points per game this season while shooting an abysmal 42 percent from the floor as a team. It works well against lesser opponents, but Iowa finished the season just 2-5 against AP Ranked opponents, which should limit the enthusiasm of Iowa fans, given that those are the teams comprising this elite tournament. The lack of offense just limits Iowa in a way that may not matter in this opening round matchup, but it will debilitate Iowa against the better defensive teams entirely capable of stifling its already weak offense.
Iowa makes up for a good bit of it by being a good rebounding team. The Hawkeyes finished 35th in the nation in rebounding and its top two leading scorers Aaron White and Jarrod Uthoff also are the top-two rebounders on the squad. White is averaging 16 points per game and the 6’9” senior forward has seen significant minutes all four of his NCAA seasons, with modest improvements until he became the offensive focus this season. He’s efficient (see: 50 percent field goals and just 1.2 turnovers per game) and he can step out and knock down the triple proficiently at 33.3 percent on 1.7 attempts per game.
Even more importantly, White is a good free throw shooter at 81.5 percent and he gets to the line 7.3 times per game. His interior presence is essentially what keeps Iowa in games, because outside of White and Uthoff there aren’t a lot of scoring options. Foul trouble to White would take Iowa out of this, but he averaged just 1.6 fouls per game in the regular season, smart enough to know that without being on the court the Hawkeyes chances aren’t good.
Davidson had a strong season in the weak A-10 conference, going 14-4 in conference play but losing to VCU to end its run in the A-10 tournament. The game also wasn’t close. VCU exploited the Wildcats defensively to put up 93 points its 73. The Wildcats got strong contributions from Tyler Kallinoski, Jordan Barham and Jack Gibbs, but outside of that trio the rest of the team shot just 6 of 18 from the field. Davidson also was negative-10 on the glass, which is where the team needs to excel to hold its own against Iowa.
Kalinoski and Gibbs both average 33.3 points between them, essentially accounting for about 2/5ths of the Wildcats’ scoring output. Kalinoski sees 35 minutes per game and the 6’4” senior combo guard has played some great basketball lately. He put up 32 points in the win over Duquesne on an ultra efficient 12 of 14 shooting from the field, and he also dished out nine assists in the game. He’s good for 4.1 dimes per game, while turning it over just 1.4 times. In fact, in the past five games, he has just three turnovers. His composure and experience could be the difference maker if Davidson is to pull the slight upset.