- The No. 9 Auburn Tigers take on the No. 8 Iowa Hawkeyes in first round NCAA tournament action on Thursday, March 16th
- Oddsmakers have this one handicapped very tightly, with Auburn a slight 1-point favorite
- Check out the full Auburn vs Iowa odds and picks
Two evenly matched squads who operate in totally opposite ways battle it out for a spot in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, March 16th when the No. 9 seed Auburn Tigers (20-12, 15-17 ATS) take on the Iowa Hawkeyes (19-13, 17-15 ATS) in Midwest region action.
Whoever wins this contest gets the reward of likely facing the top dog in the odds to win the NCAA tournament, the Houston Cougars. Tipoff between Auburn and Iowa is scheduled for 6:50 pm ET from the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama and will be broadcast on TNT.
This will be a case of offense versus defense. You can find more of the Auburn vs Iowa odds below, while we also offer up our best bet and prediction for this 1st round test.
Auburn vs Iowa Odds
|Auburn Tigers||-1 (-110)||-129||O 151.5 (-110)|
|Iowa Hawkeyes||+1 (-110)||-106||U 151.5 (-110)|
Auburn have been cast as the slightest of favorites, pegged as 1-point chalk against Iowa, despite having lost seven of their last 10 games entering the tourney. On the other side, the Hawkeyes haven’t fared much better of late, suffering defeats in four of their last six.
Iowa can score with the best of them and have hit the over in 19 of 32 games this campaign, the exact same over record as their opponents. However, Auburn’s best key to victory in this one will lies with it’s defense. The over/under total stands at 151.5 points, with each team having hit the over in three of their last four.
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Defense Paramount to Auburn Success vs Iowa
Nobody wants to see a March Madness bracket with a potential 2nd round clash against the nation’s top ranked team, but before Auburn can even think about Houston, they’ll need to play their hard brand of basketball to get by Iowa.
This team can guard the ball like few others and rank 28th overall in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom. They make it extremely difficult to score in the paint, blocking over 9% of opponent shots, which puts them amongst the top 20 squads in the country.
Video of Auburn Tigers practice as they prepare for their first round of NCAA tournament game vs Iowa Hawkeyes in 8 vs 9 matchup in Birmingham. #MarchMadness @CBS_42 #WarEagle @AuburnMBB pic.twitter.com/tkndV1TxWq
— Ronald Gaines, Jr. (@RonGSports) March 15, 2023
Offensively, they’ve left much on the table this year. From beyond the arc, they’re shooting only 31%, placing them in the bottom 50 of all Division I programs. Their 2nd highest scorer, Wendell Green Jr., made just 25% of his shots from the floor over his past five games, which is a cause for concern entering the madness.
Iowa Hawkeyes Offense Amongst Best in Nation
Only two teams in the country own a better adjusted offensive efficiency ranking this season than Iowa, a pair of No. 3 seeds, Gonzaga and Baylor. Once this Hawkeyes’ team starts making their shots, they are a load to deal with.
Led by standout Kris Murray, the lefty twin of NBA star and 4th overall pick of last year’s NBA draft, Keegan Murray, this side can be really dangerous from three-point land. During an eight game stretch in January, the Hawkeyes shot 41.5% from long distance.
Kris Murray since Jan. 1st: 22.4 PTS, 7.4 REB, 51.3% FG, 34.2% 3FG, 2.6 stocks
Guy is just the definition of a solid all-around player. Defends, shares it, rarely forces, and can score in a variety of ways. Can see him having a long NBA career
28 PTS, 14 REB, 3 AST vs. Gophers pic.twitter.com/x2sRNOlNAC
— The Box and One (@TheBoxAndOne_) February 13, 2023
Murray is a force on the offensive end and is the type of star that can carry a side no matter who the opponent is in the college basketball odds. He averaged 20 points on 47% shooting over his last 10 regular-season games. He also provides blocked shots and steals on the other end of the floor, which is a huge bonus considering his offensive repertoire.
While Iowa can score, they are average at best on the defensive end. They give up way too many open shots and don’t have sufficient rim protection, which is problematic. However, they don’t give up the easiest buckets of all, free throws, committing fouls at a very low rate with a high level of disciplined play.
Auburn vs Iowa Prediction
Part of the reason for Auburn’s recent poor run of play is due to the fact the defense just hasn’t been able to bail out the offense. They’ve allowed at least 70 points in seven of their last nine games.
Auburn vs Iowa Head-to-Head Stats
|72.7 (155th)||Points/Game||80.6 (20th)|
|66.8 (86th)||Points Allowed/Game||74.5 (302nd)|
|43.9 (228th)||FG%||45.4 (137th)|
|31.4 (328th)||3PT%||34.6 (165th)|
Neither of these teams is likely to make a run in the Final Four odds, so they’ll put everything they can into this affair to make it to the weekend.
Our prediction is that offense wins out over defense in this game. The Hawkeyes can change defenses and cause issues for an Auburn team who really struggles from the perimeter. It’s imperative for Iowa to contend with the Tigers on the glass, but overall, we feel shooting wins out in this one.
Pick: Iowa Hawkeyes moneyline (-106)
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