Richmond vs Iowa: College Basketball Prediction (3/17/22)
The Richmond Spiders and Iowa Hawkeyes will meet at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York for a first-round matchup in the NCAA Tournament. Richmond stole an automatic bid by winning the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament after finishing sixth in the A10 during the regular season. Iowa was always going to win an at-large bid, but they received an automatic bid after winning the Big Ten Conference Tournament. They ranked fourth in the conference at the end of the regular season. These are two teams that have been playing at an extremely high level, and you’ll find my favorite bet for Richmond vs Iowa in this article.
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If you’ve been following me on Twitter (@BalesSJustin), you know I’ve been riding Iowa’s overs for quite some time. They feature one of the highest over percentages (64.7%) in the NCAA, recording a 22-12-1 over/under record this season. They’re also hitting the over by an average of 4.9 points per game. They also hit the over in three of their four conference tournament games.
Richmond leans toward the under in their games. They own a 15-20 over/under record, finding the under in 57.1% of their games. With that being said, they only hit the under by an average of 0.7 points per game, which is significantly lower than Iowa in the same situation. Richmond’s also hit the over in two of their last three games.
The Hawkeyes will look to push the pace, similar to the way they do in all of their games. They feature one of the fastest offenses in the NCAA, which gives their games significantly more opportunities to score. Although Richmond’s a below-average-paced team, I’m expecting Iowa to be able to speed them up at times in this game.
One of the keys to this game will be specific offenses against each team's defense. Starting with Iowa’s dominant offense, they have the ability to score from anywhere on the floor. Iowa is an absurdly versatile offense, although Richmond isn’t likely to put them at the line. Still, the Spiders have struggled to defend the arc, and Iowa features several sharpshooters throughout their rotation. They should find plenty of three-point opportunities in this game.
On the other side, Richmond’s offense is interesting. They love shooting from deep, although they’re significantly more efficient from two-point range. Iowa doesn’t necessarily force their opponents to shoot inside the arc, but they’re giving up over 50% of their points in that zone. If Iowa forces the Spiders to attack the rim, they could become a significantly more efficient offense. If that isn’t the case, Richmond will continue to shoot threes at an elite rate, which is far from the worst-case scenario in this game.
The biggest offensive concern is each team's defensive ability not to foul. Both teams have been roughly average at drawing fouls, but neither defense is overly prone to put teams at the line. The key here is that when the time comes, specifically for Iowa to make free throws down the stretch, they’re one of the better free-throw shooting teams in the NCAA.
Another aspect that is somewhat of concern will be a lack of turnovers. There aren’t likely to be many free points, as these teams rank third (Iowa) and ninth (Richmond) in turnover percentage. Although there won’t be free points in this aspect, these teams also won’t waste possessions with meaningless turnovers.
Ultimately, I expect Iowa to force the pace. Both teams have been off for several plays after playing deep into their tournaments. Iowa specifically was dealing with tired legs in the Big Ten Championship, as they consistently missed open three-point attempts. I don’t expect that to happen in this game, and I expect them to score 80+ points themselves in this matchup.
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