Missing out on the NCAA Tournament is a tough pill to swallow, but that’s where Iowa found themselves on Selection Sunday. Luckily, they were awarded a consolation prize, the No. 1 seed in the NIT bracket.
The Hawkeyes will take on No. 8 seeded South Dakota (22-11), the winner of the Summit League regular-season title.
Below you can preview Wednesday night’s matchup between Iowa and South Dakota, with betting odds courtesy of Covers.com.
- Time/TV: 9:00 P.M ET — ESPN 2
- Covers spread: Iowa (-12)
1. How will a young Iowa team perform in their first postseason?
Besides scoring king Peter Jok, this team is very young. Jok is the only senior who gets regular minutes and four of their six leading scorers are freshmen. With that said, it will be interesting to see how the young team will respond in their first-ever postseason.
By the looks of it, they should be fine. Two of their freshmen standouts, Jordan Bohannon and Tyler Cook, earned Big Ten All-Freshmen honors, while another first-year player, Cordell Pemsl, led the conference in field-goal percentage.
Also, it’s not like South Dakota is a team full of upperclassmen. According to KenPom, the Coyotes rank No. 305 in experience, as well as No. 347 in minutes continuity.
2. Can Iowa slow down South Dakota guard Matt Mooney?
Like Iowa and Peter Jok, the Coyotes also rely on a single player to do the bulk of their scoring. Sophomore Matt Mooney is South Dakota’s leading scorer, pouring in 18.5 points per game.
Mooney’s large offensive output ranks him third in the Summit League, and lately, he has been outdoing his normal average. In the Coyotes last three games, he is averaging an absurd 27 points per contest.
It will be interesting to see how Fran McCaffrey elects to deal with Mooney. He may play more man-to-man than normal, so the sophomore doesn’t shoot over their regular zone defense.
3. Which Iowa team will show up?
Throughout the year, the Hawkeyes have been wildly inconsistent. In 32 games, the program has had three separate losing streaks of three games or more, but has also produced three winning streaks of three games or more.
With an NIT title firmly within the realm of possibility, hopefully the high-flying Iowa team shows up. When they get rolling, they’re one of the more difficult teams to hang with, as they average 80 points per game on offense.
However, this team also allows nearly 80 points per game, so they’ll need to step-up on defense if they want to make a real run at the NIT chip.
The Hawkeyes enter this game as huge favorites over the Coyotes, laying 12 points at home. With that said, they are in a different class than South Dakota, and should handle them easily.
Whoever comes out on top will play the winner of the No. 4 TCU and No. 5 Fresno State in the second round of the NIT.
- Pick Against The Spread: Iowa
Casey’s Record vs. The Spread: 46-26-1