Ladies and gentleman, it is BIG TEN TOURNAMENT TIME! Yes, our Hawkeyes have been playing very badly the last few weeks, and losing 5 out of your final 6 games is not good, but was this the plan all along? Hear me out: Iowa was basically locked into the 6 seed in the Big Ten tournament weeks ago. Instead of continuing to play hard and give every other team a scouting report on them, they packed it in. Players didn’t try as hard on defense to avoid a catastrophic season-ending injury. They didn’t run all of their plays on offense so that teams wouldn’t know what they were doing. This may sound crazy, but I am convinced this is what happened. Now, with the tournament starting, I expect Iowa to bust out the big guns. I feel bad for the poor Illinois Fighting Alma Otters.
HOW WE GOT HERE
IOWA (21-10) vs IllINOIS (12-20)
- LINE: Iowa -4.5
- O/U: 154
- WHEN: Thursday, March 14th @ 8:30 CT
- WHERE: United Center (Chicago) (BTN)
The events that transpired in Iowa’s last game vs Nebraska were shocking. A 93-91 overtime loss to a terrible team, after leading by 9 with 50 seconds left, is something that will be burned into my memory for the rest of my life. We really don’t need to go into any more details about that game, because it was brutal and it is making me sick just thinking about it. Just keep reminding yourself that the regular season is over, we don’t need to think about awful things like that anymore.
The 11-seeded Illini survived the first round of the Big Ten Tournament with an overtime win over Northwestern. Illinois has two wins in their last seven games, and both of those wins were over Northwestern. Iowa is definitely not Northwestern, so I feel pretty good going into this game.
- Iowa ATS (season): 12-19
- Iowa ATS (favorite): 5-11
- Illinois ATS (season): 14-18
- Nebraska ATS (underdog): 10-8
The Hawkeyes have now failed to cover the spread 8(!!!!) straight times. The last time Iowa covered the spread as a favorite was almost two months ago, on January 20th against…you guessed it, Illinois! The Big Ten tourney has not been kind to Iowa as of late. The Hawks are 3-12 since 2006. The good news? Their three wins are all against teams from the state of Illinois!
The total for this game is scary. 154 points is a lot, especially when Illinois is playing back-to-back days and went to overtime last night. On the other hand, every time I think the total for an Iowa game is higher than it should be they go out and prove me wrong. The last time these two teams met the total was 159.5 and they blew through that, scoring 166 combined points. Iowa also went 15-21 from behind the 3 point line in that game, which is something that I am not sure they can repeat.
I feel like every time I pick Iowa to cover they let me down, and when I don’t pick them to cover they surprise me and cover (I am 0-6 picking ATS, so this is not a joke). It’s okay though, this is the Big Ten Tournament, a fresh start. It is times like these that I like to remember this inspirational quote from former President George W. Bush:
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me, you can’t get fooled again.”
Spread Awareness WILL NOT BE FOOLED AGAIN. WE ARE NOW FOOLPROOF. TAKE IOWA, TAKE THE UNDER (we are still perfect picking those), AND LET'S TAKE HOME THE BIG TEN TITLE (or maybe just win a game or two, I would be fine with that).