After a weekend packed with Big Ten action, things will slow down a bit as we enter this week. Nonetheless, there is an interesting matchup between Iowa and Minnesota on Monday night.
Let’s take a look at that matchup.
Game of the Day:
- TV/Time: 8:00 PM ET (BTN)
- KenPom Spread: Iowa (-6)
Only two teams are in action on Monday, as Minnesota makes the short trip south to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes. The Gophers are riding a slight high as they beat Clemson in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge a week ago. Clemson has had a rough go of things in this young season and won’t make the tournament, but a victory over another Power 6 opponent always makes a team feel good.
Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes are coming off a 12-point loss to Michigan on Friday. Conference matchups are always going to hurt when you come up short, but losing on the road against the No. 4 team in the country is forgivable if you’re Fran McCaffrey. One thing to note about Iowa going forward is the development of Luka Garza. The senior 7-footer exploded for 44 points in their matchup with the Wolverines. Prior to that, he scored 23 points against a zone-heavy Syracuse team. He’s done all this offensively while maintaining a high field goal percentage (55.9% on the season).
The one common opponent between Iowa and Minnesota happens to be one of the better stories of the 2019 season - the undefeated DePaul Blue Demons. Iowa lost by 15 to DePaul on November 11th while Minnesota kept it a little closer, losing by 5 on November 29th. This game is a conflict of identities as Minnesota likes to slow the game down and play solid defense while Iowa scores the ball in bunches. Iowa’s only problem is their swiss cheese defense - full of holes.
Defense travels and Minnesota has shown that they can usually hold their opponents to low shooting percentages. I expect Minnesota to win this one if they can get their defense to show up the way that they’ve proven against quality opponents already.
- Pick Against The Spread: Minnesota