The Northwestern Wildcats were able to survive a slow start in their Big Ten tournament opener last night but can’t afford to come out flat against the Iowa Hawkeyes in Round 2 of the conference postseason Thursday afternoon.
The Wildcats fell behind 14 points at the break but battled back to set up this showdown with the Hawkeyes, who mowed down Northwestern 82-61 less than two weeks ago. The NCAA basketball betting odds have Iowa installed as a 7.5-point neutral-court favorite.
Here are our free college basketball picks and predictions for Northwestern vs. Iowa on March 10.
Iowa vs Northwestern odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
Following the Wildcats' comeback win over Nebraska, books opened Iowa as low as -7 and that jumped to as high as -8 at some markets. The total hit the board at 148 and slipped half a point to 147.5 as of Thursday morning.
Iowa vs Northwestern predictions
Predictions made on 3/10/2022 at 9:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
If you're signing up for a new sportsbook for the 2021-22 college basketball season, here are two of the best bonuses available:
USA: College Basketball Parlay Bet & Get with Caesars! Live from Wednesday to Sunday, can be used once a day! Place a $20+ parlay on 4+ legs +400 odds on College Basketball and get a $10 Free Bet. Claim Now
Canada: Bet $1, get $100 in free bets when you sign up with BetVictor! Sign Up Now
Iowa vs Northwestern game info
• Location: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
• Date: Thursday, March 10, 2022
• Tip-off: 2:00 p.m. ET
• TV: Big Ten Network
Iowa at Northwestern betting preview
Iowa: Patrick McCaffery F (Questionable).
Northwestern: No injuries to report.
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Under is 5-1 in Hawkeyes’ last six overall and 4-1 in the Wildcats' past five games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Iowa vs. Northwestern.
Iowa vs Northwestern 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.
It’s a short rest for Northwestern, which had to go all out in the final 20 minutes to avoid a first-round exit in the Big Ten tournament Wednesday night. Now, with a 2 p.m. ET tipoff staring them in the face, the Wildcats need to find extra energy to run with the Hawkeyes and the second-fastest tempo in the Big Ten.
Iowa, unlike Nebraska, can score inside and out. The Cornhuskers were great at attacking the rim last night but finished a dismal 3 for 15 from beyond the arc once Northwestern started packing the paint.
The Hawkeyes can make you pay for collapsing and come into the tournament with a hot hand beyond the arc, shooting a collective 42.7% from deep over the final three games of the regular season, including a 13-for-35 day from outside in the blowout over Northwestern on February 28.
Iowa has a bevy of options on offense and according to Chad Leistikow of HawkCentral.com, starting forward Patrick McCaffery is expected to return to the lineup after missing two of the final three games with an illness, including the matchup with the Wildcats. McCaffrey is one of four Hawkeyes averaging double figures on the season.
It’s all too much for the Wildcats who will find their tank running on empty, given the schedule makers are handing them a tight turnaround after an all-out effort last night.
Prediction: Iowa -7.5 (-110)
Northwestern thrives on translating defense into offense. The Wildcats force 13.4 turnovers per game and average 6.6 steals and didn’t get their gears going until the second half of Wednesday’s opener, forcing mistakes and stops against Nebraska.
The Hawkeyes, however, won’t give up any free possessions. Iowa has some of the best ball control in the country, coughing it up just nine times per outing – third lowest in the land. Northwestern is soft on the inside and will be very reliant on making shots from outside in this second game of the tournament.
The Hawkeyes aren’t the stingiest team at protecting the arc but know Northwestern can win if it can’t hit threes. The Wildcats launched 30 3-point attempts (making 10) in last night’s win and chucked up 25 shots from distance in the last meeting with Iowa (making only eight).
However, with the Hawkeyes pushing the pace and draining whatever is left in the legs of the Wildcats starters, those looks from downtown are going to start coming up short.
Prediction: Under 147.5 (-110)
If you are laying the points with Iowa, the big concern is a quick start for the Hawkeyes and putting it on cruise control in the second half – knowing you have to win four games in four days to take the Big Ten tournament title.
If Iowa gets up big, coach Fran McCaffery could pull his starters in hopes of reserving energy for a Round 3 matchup with Rutgers and a semifinal showdown with No. 1 Illinois. The threat of a backdoor cover is very real with a spread this big, especially considering Northwestern can take and make a lot of triples.
With the aches and pains of last night’s game still lingering for the Wildcats, we like Iowa to come out swinging and put this game away early on -much like it did in their last meeting. The Hawkeyes own the third-best first-half offense in the country, pumping out an average of 41 points in the opening 20 minutes.
Pick: Iowa first half -4 (-115)
Did you know that if you parlayed our Iowa vs. Northwestern picks, you could win $58.14 on a $10 bet?
Use our college basketball parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.