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Hawkeyes Have Dropped Six of Eight Heading Into the Tournament

Michigan's Isaiah Livers (4) and Jon Teske (15) block a shot by Iowa's Tyler Cook (25) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Conference tournament, Friday, March 15, 2019, in Chicago.

The slumping Iowa Hawkeyes meet the AAC champion Cincinnati Bearcats in the 7 vs 10 game of the South bracket with a potential second-round date with Tennessee as the reward. The Bearcats opened as a 3.5-point favorite against an Iowa team that was bounced from the Big Ten tournament with a 21-point loss to Michigan. The total is hovering around 137.5.

Iowa vs Cincinnati Game Center

No. 7 vs No. 10 March Madness History

Standout Stats

  • Iowa finished the season with a 22-11 SU and 13-20 ATS record with the No. 73 strength of schedule in the NCAA. Cincinnati finished the season 28-6 SU and 14-20 ATS with the No. 59 strength of schedule in the country. These schools haven’t played each other in 14 years.
  • Cincinnati was 11-2 SU and 7-6 ATS in non-conference play while Iowa was also 11-2 SU with a lesser 5-8 spread record in non-conference games. Not a lot separates these teams. Iowa is top-40 in offense, Cincy is top-40 in defense.
  • Iowa has covered the spread just once in its last 10 games. Its last five losses were by an average of 15.4 points. Cincinnati has covered the spread just twice in its last 11 games.
  • This is Iowa’s first time in the tournament in three years. The Hawkeyes are 6-2 SU in the first round since 1996 – but never once were they the underdog until this year.
  • This marks the ninth consecutive year that Cincinnati has been in the tournament. The Bearcats are 14-4 SU and 9-9 ATS in the first round since 1996.
  • The No. 7 seed is 8-4 SU and 7-5 ATS in the last three tournaments. The only No. 10 seed to win in the first round last year was Butler over Arkansas 79-62. The rest of the No. 7 seeds won and covered the spread.
  • Iowa and Cincinnati are two of the most efficient offensive teams in the country – they are tied for the No. 21 floor percentage (percentage of possessions ending in points) at 51.2 percent. This is a big part of why the total is on the higher side in this game.

My Best Bet for Iowa vs Cincinnati

Cincinnati -3.5

I’ll probably stay away from this game because I feel like Iowa could have a breakout performance at any time, but the Hawkeyes have been on an absolute downward spiral, so if I have to pick a side in this game, I’m going with the team that’s been to the dance for the previous eight years.

The Hawkeyes’ losing streak and the way they are losing games – handily – is enough to make them a complete fade in this spot.