The Big Ten only has one game on Friday, but it’s an important one for the bubble. Ohio State will travel to face Iowa in what feels like a “do or die” moment for both sides.
Let’s take a look at the schedule.
Game of the Day:
-Ohio State Buckeyes at Iowa Hawkeyes
- Time/TV: 7:00 PM ET (FS1)
- KenPom Spread: Iowa by 5
Heading into the new year, both these squads were in decent shape. Iowa was 8-5 and had what looked like a decent win over Seton Hall and the Buckeyes were 11-2 with wins over Alabama and UCLA. They both still had work to do, but certainly figured to be contenders for NCAA Tournament at-large bids.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t exactly worked out.
Iowa went 4-4 in January and Ohio State is a dreadful 1-6 over its last seven games. It’s been a rough run for both sides, evaporating what once looked like solid resumes. Both now face serious uphill climbs to even get back on the bubble. In fact, TRank now has both below one percent odds of making the field, meaning even one loss could have devastating impacts on their hopes.
From a style perspective, these teams are quite similar. Both have dynamic offenses, but underwhelming defenses. Fans are probably going to see plenty of fireworks and it’s going to come down to turnovers and foul trouble. The frontcourt battle could also be particularly important. Owen Freeman has been really stepping up over the last month and should have an advantage over Felix Okpara and Zed Key. It’s a spot where Iowa should be able to exploit Ohio State, especially since the Buckeyes don’t do a great job of guarding the paint.
If Ohio State is going to win this one, it’s probably on Jamison Battle. Both backcourts are probably going to go off, so it’s more on the wing and frontcourt to separate things. Battle should have an advantage at the four over Ben Krikke, but he’s been inconsistent. If Ohio State gets a Battle that’s ready to play, the team is more than capable of coming out on top.
Expect a fun matchup. This should be high-scoring, where every stop and turnover matters significantly. And since the Hawkeyes have such few turnovers, they seem to be the pick here, especially at home.
- Pick: Iowa
Picks Record This Season: 65-24