Iowa is a 5.5-point favorite tonight in a top 10 showdown that could have Big Ten and NCAA Tournament implications.
No. 7 Ohio State (14-4, 8-4) faces the No. 8 Hawkeyes at 6 tonight. The game will be carried on ESPN. Iowa (13-4, 7-3) has a nine-game home winning streak against AP top 25 teams. That’s the longest streak in program history.
Ohio St. vs. Iowa odds
Hawkeyes National Championship/Big Ten odds
The all-time series between the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes is even at 81 wins each. Ohio State has climbed into the top 10 by winning six of its last seven.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey told reporters he has a lot of respect for the Buckeyes at his weekly press conference:
“They have got some guys that are really playing well. I mean, (sophomore) E.J. (Liddell) is really one of the best players in the country I think, and now they have got C.J. (Walker) back, that’s a help. There’s a lot of weapons there.”
Walker brings a streak of 45 consecutive free throws into the game and shoots 98% at the line. Liddell averages 15.3 ppg. Duane Washington Jr. (14.5) and Justice Sueing (10.9) are Ohio State’s other double-figure scorers.
Home favorites building momentum
Iowa is coming off a taut 84-78 win over Michigan State on Tuesday. Player-of-the-year candidate Luka Garza finished with a game-high 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Iowa’s reserves added 39 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists against the Spartans. Garza said:
“The bench was huge. I’m so proud of those guys. Throughout the whole game they were making plays — first half, second half, they gave us a lift and were giving us energy.”
At -1000, Garza is the odds-on favorite to win the John R. Wooden Award as the nation’s best player, according to BetMGM. DraftKings has the moneyline set at -2000.
Looking ahead, the Hawkeyes continue their busy stretch of games Super Bowl Sunday when they travel to Indiana. Fox will carry the 11 a.m. game.
The Hoosiers handed Iowa its only home loss of the season, an 81-69 upset on Jan. 21.