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All-American Candidate Luka Garza Leads Iowa vs Maryland as 5.5-Point Road Underdog

Blair Johnson

by Blair Johnson in College Basketball

Updated Nov 17, 2022 · 6:06 AM PST

Luka Garza, center, Iowa
Iowa center Luka Garza (55) shoots over Northwestern forward Pete Nance, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
  • Maryland is favored by 5.5 points over Iowa Thursday in a huge Big Ten matchup
  • The Terps have won 12 straight at home dating back to last season
  • The Hawkeyes have won six straight, including a comeback win over Wisconsin in their last game led by Luka Garza

The Maryland Terrapins (16-4, 11-0 home) are favored by 5.5 points over the Iowa Hawkeyes (15-5, 6-3 Big Ten) in a huge Big Ten matchup Thursday. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET Jan. 30 at the Xfinity Center.

The Terps have won 12 straight home games dating back to last season. The Hawkeyes have won six straight, including a 68-62 comeback win over Wisconsin that saw Iowa overcome a 12-point deficit with under eight minutes to go in the second half.

Even though Iowa hasn’t lost since dropping its first two games of the new year, sharps are fading the Hawkeyes to the tune of 5.5 points in College Park according to the Iowa vs Maryland odds.

Iowa Hawkeyes vs Maryland Terrapins Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Over/Under
Iowa +200 +5.5 (-115) O 145.5 (-105)
Maryland -240 -5.5 (-105) U 145.5 (-115)

Odds taken Jan. 29th. See the top Maryland online sportsbooks

The Terps are very much in the thick of the 2020 NCAA Tournament odds as well, with +2000 odds to win it all. So will Mark Turgeon’s squad hold serve at home – as has been the Big Ten trend this season? Or will Fran McCaffery’s group score the season sweep over Maryland – something it hasn’t done since the Terrapins joined the Big Ten?

The Last Time

Iowa hasn’t lost since beating Maryland 67-49 back on Jan. 10th

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The Hawkeyes dominated that night, holding the Terps to just 32.7 percent shooting from the field, Iowa also had a 44-32 rebounding edge, including a 21-point, 13-rebound effort from conference player of the year candidate Luke Garza.

Maryland hasn’t lost at home since March 3rd, 2019, when they lost to Michigan 69-62 in College Park. Considering how poorly Maryland played against Iowa last time and how well the Terps have played in their home arena, Thursday’s game should be considerably closer.

Don’t Call It a Comeback

Both teams are coming off big comebacks in their respective last outings.

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As noted above, the Hawkeyes went on a 23-5 second-half run to close out the Badgers on Monday. This in spite of shooting 33% from the field, including 3-of-20 from beyond the arc. But Iowa made defensive stops when it needed, and Garza’s 12th double-double of the season carried them to a win.

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Not to be outdone, the Terrapins scored seven points in the final 1:11 at Assembly Hall to stun Indiana, 77-76 on Sunday.

Jalen Smith led the way with a career-high 29 points and 11 rebounds and the game-winning layup with 14.5 seconds remaining.

How will these comebacks affect Thursday’s game? Perhaps not at all. But there’s also a chance each team could start off sluggish.

Strength vs Strength

Thursday’s game is a classic “good-on-good” contest. Iowa is No. 3 in KenPom’s offense adjusted efficiency rating, while Maryland is No. 10 on the site’s defense adjusted efficiency rating. And while oddsmakers see a relatively high-scoring affair, I see this one playing out differently. I’m not picking a winner with the points or straight-up. These two teams are too evenly matched.

I prefer the under in this spot. Iowa has gone under the total in four of its last six, while Maryland has gone under the total in five of its last seven. Expect a close one in College Park and bet the under.

Pick: Under 145.5 (-105)

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