NCAA Basketball Betting:  Villanova vs. Iowa&h=253&w=372&zc=1

Yesterday, I was writing an analysis for the North Carolina vs. Providence game and observed that since the Big East realigned in 2010 only one team from the conference has reached the ‘Sweet Sixteen’. Villanova could be the second and to do so they’ll have to get past Big Ten entrant Iowa. In the first round, we tried to take a play against Iowa with Temple but the Hawkeyes were up to the test. That being said, we’ll go with a similar concept in this game and suggest that Iowa won’t make it past this game.

Iowa’s preferred gameplan makes me cringe at this stage of the tournament season. The Hawkeyes want to play uptempo. In other words, Iowa will come out and try to run Villanova off the court. There’s a problem with that since Villanova very likely has the better athletes that grew up playing uptempo basketball and won’t have any problem responding in kind. Villanova rebounds better than Temple did and they have significantly better outside shooters which means that our handicapping premise should work here after it didn’t in the Iowa/Temple matchup in the first round.

There’s another big issue I have with Iowa–they haven’t put up good numbers away from home. In fact, they’ve been downright awful on neutral courts and in tournament games this season. On neutral courts, Iowa is 2-4 ATS this year, 4-13 ATS L3 years. In tournament games, Iowa is 2-3 this year, 4-11 ATS L3 years. To be fair, I’ve gone against a couple of Big East teams already in this tournament because they don’t ‘travel well’ but they look like world beaters compared to Iowa’s performance in unfamiliar gyms.

Iowa’s win over Temple in their previous matchup doesn’t give them much of a boost going into this game. Villanova is just a significant step up in class. Take it from Owls’ coach Fran Dunphy who observed after his team was routed by ‘nova on their home court: “I thought they were terrific. Very few weaknesses, if any.” Sure, that’s the gracious thing to say after your team has been thumped but there’s something to it here in our opinion. Iowa is a team waiting to be exposed and don’t be surprised if Villanova is the one that does it.