The Iowa Hawkeyes turned heads in the Big Ten Tournament with a Round 2 blowout over Northwestern, and now roll into the quarterfinals to face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse Friday afternoon.
The Hawkeyes put up 64 points in the first half versus a tired Wildcats squad playing its second straight game, which meant Iowa could put it in cruise control in the second half and save the legs of its starters. The Scarlet Knights come in fresher, however, having edged Iowa for No. 4 in the standings and the two-round bye, last playing on March 6.
Here are our free college basketball picks and predictions for Iowa vs. Rutgers on March 11.
Rutgers vs Iowa odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
Iowa opened as a 7.5-point favorite and has been bet down to -6.5. The total hit the board at 145 and that has slimmed to 144.5 points.
Rutgers vs Iowa predictions
Predictions made on 3/11/2022 at 9:20 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Rutgers vs Iowa game info
• Location: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
• Date: Friday, March 11, 2022
• Tip-off: 2:00 p.m. ET
• TV: Big Ten Network
Rutgers vs Iowa betting preview
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Betting trend to know
The Under is 5-2 in Hawkeyes’ last seven overall. Find more NCAA betting trends for Rutgers vs. Iowa.
Rutgers vs Iowa 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.
If you couldn’t tell by that explosion in the tournament opener, Iowa is one of the top offensive teams in the country, ranked out No. 3 in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Hawkeyes are also an up-tempo attack, sitting second in pace rating in the conference, which clashes with Rutgers’ methodical approach and defensive focus.
The Scarlet Knights can suck the energy out of the gym with their patient pace but also make opponents work for space on the defensive end. They take foes deep into the shot clock and protect the interior, limiting opposing offenses to a 46% success rate on 2-point attempts.
Rutgers checked the Hawkeyes to one of their worst offensive efforts of the year back on January 19, beating Iowa 48-46 inside Jersey Mike's Arena and limiting Iowa to just 28% shooting from the field. That includes a 6-for-27 day from beyond the arc and the Hawkeyes uncharacteristically left points on the table, shooting 6-for-11 from the foul line.
Iowa has matured a lot since that road loss, which was also the program’s second straight away game in three days. The Hawkeyes wobbled at the end of January, with that loss a part of a 1-3 finish to the month before Iowa went 8-2 SU to finish the Big Ten slate.
Today, the Hawkeyes won’t be as bad as that loss in New Jersey — nor will they be as good as yesterday’s lay-up line versus Northwestern. The big edge for Iowa here is its ability to take and make shots from outside. It went 19 for 29 from distance against the Wildcats and averaged 10.6 triples per game over its final five regular-season contests.
The Scarlett Knights, who allowed foes to shoot 34.6% from beyond the arc away from home this season, will eventually have to get their heels above the 3-point line and unpack that interior defense. That will open up space for Iowa’s frontcourt to attack the rim and put space on the scoreboard down the stretch.
Prediction: Iowa -6.5 (-110)
While Iowa’s offense gets all the glory, the Hawkeyes have made large strides on the defensive end in the past month.
Over their final six games of the Big Ten schedule, they limited foes to an average of just 67.7 points in contrast to the 71.3 points per game allowed before that home stretch. Iowa finished that six-game span with a 1-5 Over/Under record.
The Scarlet Knights have a sensational scorer in Ron Harper Jr. but don’t come close to the firepower of this Hawkeyes team. Rutgers is shooting an effective field goal rate of 49.5% (202nd) and has scored more than 70 points in regulation only three times in the past 16 games. The team was 5-11 Over/Under in that stretch.
Prediction: Under 144.5 (-110)
Rutgers isn’t going to win a shootout with Iowa and a team total of 69.5 points is asking a lot, considering the tempo and recent scoring output, mentioned above.
The Hawkeyes have much more left in the tank than most teams playing their second straight tournament game and their defensive efforts against Northwestern last night should be thrown out the window.
Iowa’s pace doesn’t just work to its benefit on offense. Playing at that tempo forces opponents to play faster than they would like, which means mistakes. The Hawkeyes are the top team in forcing turnovers in the Big Ten and average 7.4 steals per game.
Rutgers is a halfcourt team that moves the ball and doesn’t look to score until late in the shot clock, relying heavily on assists to generate field goals. If the Hawkeyes play pressure in the passing lanes, that throws a wrench into a Scarlet Knights offense that doesn’t have instant offense outside of a Harper.
Pick: Rutgers Team Total Under 69.5 (-120)
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