The third-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes are off to a great start to the 2020-21 college basketball season.
However, the next eight days will go a long way in telling us how much of a contender that Iowa really is for the national championship.
Iowa continues six-game homestand tonight
The Hawkeyes are off to a 2-0 start to the season with a pair of home wins over NC Central and Southern. Their next four games will also be at Carver-Hawkeyes Arena, starting tonight.
- Thursday, Dec. 3: Vs. Western Illinois, 7 p.m. CST (BTN)
- Tuesday, Dec. 8: Vs. No. 14 North Carolina, 6:30 p.m. CST (ESPN)
- Friday, Dec. 11: Vs. Iowa State, 8 p.m. CST (BTN)
- Sunday, Dec. 13: Vs. Northern Illinois, TBA
After the homestand, Iowa wraps up nonconference play with a much-anticipated clash against top-ranked Gonzaga on Dec. 19.
Hawkeyes heavily favored against WIU
Tonight’s game should be a mismatch, as Western Illinois is playing its season opener.
The oddsmakers are split, but Iowa is heavily favored by all. The Hawkeyes are a 35.5 or 36-point home favorite, depending on the sportsbook.
|Western Illinois at Iowa Basketball Odds||DraftKings||FanDuel||PointsBet||William Hill|
(-110 juice unless noted)
|WIU +35.5 -109|
IOWA -35.5 -112
|WIU +35.5 -106|
IOWA -35.5 -114
(-110 juice unless noted)
|O 156.5 -109|
U 156.5 -112
|O 155.5 -108|
U 155.5 -112
When it comes to the moneyline, Iowa is sitting at a whopping -100,000 on FanDuel, which is the only sportsbook offering such a bet. If you are feeling froggy, Western Illinois comes in at +3,000 to win straight up.
The over/under is sitting at 155.5 points for the majority of the sportsbooks.
DraftKings is already offering odds on the matchup with North Carolina. They see the Hawkeyes as a 4.5 point favorite at home against the Tar Heels. Iowa is also listed at -205 on the moneyline.
Oddsmakers see big things for Iowa
In the competitive race to claim a national championship, oddsmakers see Iowa among the favorites to claim the title this season.
|Iowa 2020-21 College Basketball Futures Odds||DraftKings||FanDuel||PointsBet||William Hill|
|NCAA Championship Odds||+1000||+1000||+900||+1200|
|Big Ten Championship Odds||+250||+270||+250||N/A|
|Luka Garza Wooden Award Odds||N/A||+125||N/A||N/A|
Depending on the sportsbook, Iowa is listed from +900 to +1200 to win March Madness. Most see Gonzaga (+600 FanDuel) as the favorite, while Villanova (+850) and Baylor (+900) are also top contenders.
When it comes to the Big Ten, the oddsmakers see Iowa as the team to beat. The Hawkeyes are listed with odds from +250 to +270 to claim the conference title this year. Illinois (+310), Wisconsin (+310) and Michigan State (+450) are the other favorites.
Fran McCaffery is entering his 11th season as head coach of Iowa. He is 196-143 over his 11 seasons. Last year, Iowa was 20-11 overall and 11-9 in the Big Ten.
While McCaffery has a long history with Iowa, postseason success has not been part of it. Iowa has not reached the Sweet 16 under his leadership.
As a program, Iowa has never won a national championship. The Hawkeye’s last Final Four appearance came in 1980.
Garza leads dominant Iowa Hawkeyes offense
In the early stages of the season, Iowa has looked unstoppable on offense.
The Hawkeyes have scored 200 points through two games while shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 40.7% from three-point land.
Iowa has been quite efficient with the basketball, committing just 19 turnovers over the two games.
Luka Garza elected to return to Iowa for his senior season as oppose to go into the NBA draft. So far, Garza has been unstoppable. He had 26 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in just 24 minutes against NCCU. Garza followed that up with 41 points, nine rebounds and three blocks against Southern.
Oddsmakers see Garza as the favorite to win the John R. Wooden Award this season. The honor goes to the top player in the country.
FanDuel lists Garza at +125 to win; pretty short odds. Ayo Dosunmu, of Illinois, has +500 odds while Jared Butler, of Baylor, has +800 odds.
Iowa Hawkeyes balanced behind Garza
While Garza is the clear leader of Iowa’s team this season, the Hawkeyes look to have some solid depth behind him.
Junior guard Joe Wieskamp, along with freshmen Patrick McCaffery and Keegan Murray are each averaging double figures in scoring, thus far.
Wieskamp was sturdy for the Iowa Hawkeyes last season, averaging 14 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
McCaffery is the son of head coach Fran McCaffery. He is a redshirt freshman guard and brother of teammate, junior Connor McCaffery. Connor averaged 30 minutes per game last season and put up 6.2 points, four assists and four rebounds per game last year for Iowa.