The Michigan Wolverines’ NCAA tournament fate is still hanging in the balance with just two games left on the Big Ten schedule.
The Wolverines can go a long way in securing their name being called on Selection Sunday with a win over the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes on Thursday. Iowa has won seven of its last eight contests, but that lone loss came at the hands of UM back on February 17. Bookies are setting 25th-ranked Iowa as a slim road NCAA basketball betting underdog in Ann Arbor.
Here are our free college basketball picks and predictions for Iowa at Michigan on March 3.
Iowa vs Michigan odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
Michigan opened as 1-point home chalk and has since risen to -2 with early play on the host. The total hit the board as high as 157 and has since dipped as low as 154.5 points with action taking the Under on Thursday morning.
Iowa vs Michigan predictions
Predictions made on 3/03/2022 at 1:24 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Iowa vs Michigan game info
• Location: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, MI
• Date: Thursday, March 3, 2022
• Tip-off: 9:00 p.m. ET
• TV: FS1
Iowa at Michigan betting preview
Iowa: Patrick McCaffery F (Questionable).
Michigan: No injuries to report.
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.
Betting trend to know
Iowa is 11-7-1 Over/Under (61% Overs) in games with totals of 150 points or more this season. Find more NCAA betting trends for Iowa vs. Michigan.
Iowa vs Michigan picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
The Wolverines are pushing to pad their resume before the postseason begins as many bracketologists have Michigan firmly placed on the Big Dance bubble. A victory over a ranked Iowa squad would go a long way this late in the season, but UM isn’t the only team trying to improve its postseason chances on Thursday.
The Hawkeyes’ late-season surge has them among the college basketball elite with two games to go and in pursuit of a Top 4 spot in the conference, which would mean a two-round bye and an automatic spot in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament.
Up-tempo Iowa catches Michigan in a tight turnaround after winning at home versus Michigan State on Tuesday. The Wolverines are playing their third game in five days and taking on a red-hot Hawkeyes team that rocks the second-fastest tempo in the Big Ten.
Iowa is one of the top offensive programs in the country, ranked out No. 6 in adjusted offensive efficiency and pouring in 83.7 points per game (sixth). Michigan plays a much more plodding pace but gets sucked into track meets with foes that like to rev the engines, as shown in shootouts with Nebraska and the last meeting with Iowa: an 84-79 victory in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Wolverines’ stamina will be tested in the second half of this game. Iowa is relentless with its attack (42.3 2H ppg) and has plenty of capable reserves to lean on – even with Patrick McCaffery (10.7 ppg) a big question mark tonight – ranking 44th in bench minutes. The Hawkeyes boast three guys averaging double figures and have five more players putting up between 4.6 and 9.9 points a night.
The win over Michigan State paused UM from pressing the panic button, but the Spartans were ripe for a letdown after the win over Purdue and come nowhere near the offensive firepower and depth of Iowa. This one will be close, but the Hawkeyes will break a tired UM team down the stretch and cover this short spread.
Prediction: Iowa +2 (-110)
The Hawkeyes are almost an automatic Over at home (12-5-1 O/U) but tackling their totals on the road is a bit trickier (6-4 O/U). This program puts up nearly 10 points less away from Iowa City, but its efficiency and field goal percentage doesn’t dip dramatically.
These schools blew the 149.5-point total out of the water in their first meeting, combining for 163 points and shooting a collective 47% from the floor – despite bad success from both sides from beyond the arc (8 of 38).
The Wolverines' beef inside can push around a soft Iowa interior for high percentage looks, leaning on bigs Hunter Dickinson and Moussa Diabate, who combined for 42 points back on February 17. Michigan should also bully the Hawkeyes on the offensive glass for putbacks and second-chance possessions.
Iowa, on the other hand, will look to push it quickly up the floor and put that lumbering UM lineup on its heels in transition. Michigan leans on its starters for a lot of minutes (77% of total minutes per game – 36th most) and the toll of this condensed schedule will show up on defense. Expect UM to get beat down the floor, found out of position, and whistled for bad fouls. The Hawkeyes have the ability to get to the foul line and score with the clock stopped.
Iowa is also a much better 3-point shooting team than its 4-for-18 performance from distance in the first meeting, knocking down an average of nine triples per game. Iowa has been especially hot from outside in recent outings, shooting 40% from beyond the arc and averaging more than 11 3-pointers over its last three games.
Iowa is 5-2 Over/Under in its last seven road games and 21-9-1 O/U in its previous 31 games overall.
Prediction: Over 154.5 (-110)
If this lofty total didn’t already tell you: this is going to be a fun game. I fully expect the scoreboard to be humming, at least in the first half.
The Hawkeyes put up the fourth-most first-half points in the country (40.7) and Michigan is no slouch either in the opening 20 minutes, boasting an average of almost 36 first-half tallies. UM is also hot coming off an explosive 44-point opening frame versus Michigan State.
The Wolverines are going to be amped up early on, trying to feed off the energy of the “senior night” crowd in Ann Arbor before exhaustion sets in later in the contest.
These Big Ten foes combined for 76 points in the first half of their last matchup and will go Over the 1H Over/Under tonight, which sits as low as 73 points at sportsbooks.
Pick: First-half Over 73 (-115)
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