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Iowa Hawkeyes at Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Preview

Two of the top four teams in the Big Ten will battle it out on Sunday as the No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes (17-7, 4th in Big Ten) take on the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (18-6, 3rd in the Big Ten). Ohio State will host this one from the Value City Arena, with tipoff scheduled for 4:00 pm ET.

With the end of the regular season rapidly approaching, both teams would love a win over a top-10 ranked team to boost their postseason resume. Furthermore, with just a half-game separating these two in the conference, a win could have big implications for the final conference standings.

For Iowa, they are trying to bounce back from a big loss to No. 3 Michigan, 79-57, on the road on Thursday. In the loss, Luka Garza led the way with 16 points and four rebounds. Prior to that loss, they had won four in a row, so they will look to get back into the win column Sunday.

They won’t be the only ones trying to get back into the win column. Ohio State has lost back-to-back games to No. 3 Michigan (92-87) and unranked Michigan State (71-67). With remaining games against Iowa and No. 5 Illinois, Ohio State will have their hands full trying to end the regular season on a positive note.

Ohio State is the slight favorite playing at home. They are -136 to win while the Hawkeyes’ moneyline sits at +116. The spread features Iowa +2.5 while the over/under for total points is 158.5.

By The Numbers

Offensively, Iowa has been one of the best teams in the nation. They currently rank 4th in scoring, averaging 85.2 points per game, although they have struggled as of late, averaging just 69.3 over their last three. For Ohio State, they rank 31st, averaging 78 points per game.

Defensively, Ohio State has the edge. They rank 141st in scoring defense allowing opponents 69.7 points per game, although that has swelled to 81.7 over their last three. Iowa falls to 235th, allowing 73 points per game.

Iowa Looking For Revenge

After losing to Ohio State by four earlier in the month, the Iowa Hawkeyes will look to repay the favor as they visit the Buckeyes on Sunday.

In order to do so, they will need a big game out of big man Luka Garza. On the season, Garza is averaging 24.3 points on 54.8% shooting. He is also averaging 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.5 blocks. In their first matchup, Ohio State was able to limit the damage from Garza as he went for just 16 points.

In addition to Garza, the other main contributors for Iowa include Joe Wieskamp (15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds), Jordan Bohannon (9.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists), and CJ Fredrick (8.6 points).

Unfortunately, the Hawkeyes will be without forward Jack Nunge in this one as he tore his meniscus against Michigan and is out for the season. On the year, Nunge was averaging 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds. In the first matchup with Ohio State, Nunge scored 18 points and pulled down six rebounds.

Ohio State Looks To End Losing Streak

After losing two games in a row, it has been a long week for the Buckeyes. They are hoping to halt their losing streak at two games, and playing at home, where they are 10-2, should help.

While they may not have quite an elite scorer like Luka Garza, the Buckeyes have a ton of depth in their offense. To prove the point, you don’t have to look any further than the first matchup with Iowa, where they had four players in double digits and three (Kyle Young, EJ Liddell, and Duane Washington Jr.) with 16 apiece.

Liddell and Washington have been the two top scorers for Ohio State all season. Liddell is averaging 16 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks, while Duane Washington Jr. has averaged 15.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists.

The Buckeyes have one other averaging double digits in Justice Sueing, who is averaging 10.3 points on the season.

In order to beat Iowa for a second time, they will need that depth to come through again to keep pace with the high-scoring Hawkeyes.

Taking Ohio State To Win And Cover

Frankly, this one comes down to Luka Garza. If he can dominate and prove that he is the best player on the floor, the Hawkeyes have a good chance of not only covering but winning outright.

I am just not sure he will be able to do that against Ohio State. Just like in the first game, the plan will be to limit the damage he does and make someone else beat them. While the Hawkeyes have some nice scorers surrounding him, they have been inconsistent at stepping up when Garza has trouble.

It is also worth noting that Iowa has been much more pedestrian on the road (5-4) this season. Throw on top of that the fact that Ohio State has an offense that is able to keep up with the Hawkeyes, and they seem like a good play to win and cover the modest 2.5-point spread.

Prediction: Ohio State -2.50 Points

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