This NCAA Basketball handicapper believes Texas has a shot at making the Final Four this season, but whether they have enough to cover a six-point spread against Iowa tonight may be another story.
'Horns-Hawkeyes Betting Odds
Most NCAA Basketball odds we checked with opened Texas at -5.5 over Iowa, with a total of 149. Most of those shops later bumped the 'Horns to -6. Those who believe the Hawkeyes might win this game outright could get a price of +226 on the moneyline at Pinnacle.
'Horns-Hawkeyes: The Match-Up
Texas returns basically the entire roster from a team that went 24-11 and reached the third round of the NCAA tournament last season. Freshman PG Isaiah Taylor averaged 13 points and four assists per game, big men Jonathan Holmes and Cameron Ridley combined to average 23 points and 15 boards and SG Javan Felix led the team from long range at 11 PPG.
As a team the Longhorns ranked 10th in the country last year in rebounding at +7 per game, but also ranked in the bottom third in FG shooting at 43 percent, 3-point shooting at 33 percent and FT shooting at 67 percent. The 'Horns are 27-for-39 from the line so far this season.
Texas is off to a 2-0 start, both SU and ATS, after beating North Dakota State last Friday 85-50, and Alcorn State Sunday 85-53, both in Austin. The 'Horns shot 48 percent from the field and held the Bison to just 27 percent shooting, while winning the battle on the boards by a 51-32 margin. Texas then shot 57 percent against the Braves, held them to just 30 percent and outrebounded State 47-28.The Longhorns made 12 of 25 shots from behind the arc against Alcorn State, but shot just 9/18 from the line.;Texas covered at -18 against ND State and at -28 against the Braves. Iowa, meanwhile, returns three starters this season, its fourth under Coach McCaffery, from a team that went 20-13 and just made the NCAA tournament last year, losing its opening game to Tennessee. The Hawkeyes finished with a thud last season, losing seven of their last eight games, and now they must replace leading scorer Roy Devyn Marble, who averaged 17 PPG last season.As a team Iowa ranked ninth in the country last year in scoring at 82 PPG, shooting 46 percent from the floor, 35 percent from long range and 74 percent from the line. The Hawkeyes also ranked 11;in rebounding at +7 per game, and posted an assist-to-turnover ratio of 16/11, which is pretty good.
Iowa is also off to a 2-0 start, 1-0 ATS, after defeating Hampton last Friday 90-56 and North Dakota State Monday 87-56. The Hawkeyes outshot the Pirates from the floor last week 48 to 34 percent, and outrebounded them 48-32. Iowa then outshot the Bison 54-27 percent, and won that boards battle by a 45-33 margin. The game against Hampton was unlined; the Hawkeyes then covered at -20 over North Dakota State.
Texas and Iowa have met just four times before, most recently an 85-60 Longhorns victory in Kansas City back in November of 2009.
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'Horns-Hawkeyes Betting Trends
Texas' two games this season have averaged 132 points.
Iowa's two games have averaged 145 points.
'Horns-Hawkeyes Free Pick
Texas has everyone back for Coach Barnes, and looks like a top-five team, which is why you should add them to your NCAA Basketball Picks. Iowa, on the other hand, might need a little time to adjust to life without Marble. As long as the Longhorns don't stink it up from the FT line they should win this game, by enough to cover.
Free College Basketball Pick: Texas -6 at 5Dimes