College Basketball Picks: Iowa at Virginia NIT Odds and Predictions

Doc MosemanCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2013

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - FEBRUARY 28: Akil Mitchell #25 of the Virginia Cavaliers goes up for a dunk against the Duke Blue Devils at John Paul Jones Arena on February 28, 2013 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Virginia defeated Duke 73-68. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

As a good warm up for the start of the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 round this Thursday night, one of four NIT quarterfinal games will pit the No.3 Iowa Hawkeyes against the No.1 Virginia Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena. Wednesday night’s game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. (ET), and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.

Iowa advanced through the first two rounds of the NIT with a 68-52 romp of Indiana State as an 11-point favorite followed by a 75-63 victory over Stony Brook this past Friday as an 8.5-point favorite. The total went “over” the 134.5-point line in its last outing after staying “under” seven of its last nine games.

Virginia bounced back from its NCAA tournament snub with a 67-56 win over Norfolk State as a 16-point favorite and a 68-50 rout of St. John’s this past Sunday as a 10.5-point favorite. The total stayed under in both contests and has now stayed under in five of their last six games.

Iowa at Virginia Betting Storylines

The Hawkeyes finished 23-12 straight up overall and 9-9 in Big Ten play this season, which were better marks than both Illinois and Minnesota, which made the NCAA tournament field of 68. They are averaging 70.4 points a game and remained ranked 10th in the nation in rebounds with 39.4 a game. Iowa has also been profitable to wager on after covering against the spread in nine of its last 10 games.

Roy-Devyn Marble pumped in 28 points in the win over Stony Brook after scoring a game-high 24 points against Indiana State. He led Iowa this season with 14.1 points a game, but he struggled at times shooting the ball in hitting 40.7 from the field and 33.8 percent from three-point range. The Hawkeyes averaged 70.4 points a game and shot 42.2 percent from the field. They did a decent job on defense by holding teams to 62.6 points a game.

Virginia recorded SU wins over North Carolina, NC State and Duke this season, but it also had its share of bad losses, which ultimately cost it a spot in the NCAA tournament field. Determined to make the most of their situation, the Cavaliers have played to their potential in both NIT outings so far. They will have the benefit of the home-town crowd at John Paul Jones Arena, where they have gone a perfect 20-0 this season SU and 14-3-1 ATS. 

Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell are the team’s primary scorers with a combined average of 29.7 points, which is close to half of the team’s total of 64 points a game. Virginia is shooting 45.6 percent from the field. However, where the Cavaliers have really excelled is on the defensive side of the ball. They are allowing an average of just 55 points a game, which is the fourth lowest total in the country.

Iowa at Virginia NIT Betting Odds and Trends by BetOnline

BetOnline has opened Virginia as a 4.5-point home favorite with the over/under line set at 123.

The Hawkeyes are 5-3 ATS in their last eight road games and 6-1 ATS in their last seven games as underdogs. The total has stayed under in seven of their last nine road games.

The Cavaliers are 1-4 ATS in their last five games as favorites but 5-2 ATS in their last seven games at home. The total has stayed under in their last five games as favorites.

College Basketball Picks: Iowa vs. Virginia Betting Predictions

These teams match up well against one another. And while Iowa should have a pretty big advantage under the boards, the Cavaliers’ shut-down defense, especially on their home court, should prove to be just too much to overcome. While Virginia continues to give the NCAA tournament selection committee something to think about as it heads to the NIT semifinals; the Hawkeyes will not go down quietly and remain the play in this game with the 4.5 points.

Take # 779 Iowa (+4.5) over Virginia (Wednesday, March 27, 7 p.m.)