Iowa vs Duke Game Preview and Pick

The Jimmy V Classic will go down tonight in Madison Square Garden and the second game of the doubleheader will feature the Iowa Hawkeyes and Duke Blue Devils. Both teams have gotten off to solid starts this season so we’ll preview this match-up and then get into what my betting play will be.

Game Preview

Tonight’s game will not be the Blue Devils' first test against a solid opponent, in fact, they just recently beat another Big Ten school in Ohio State by the score of 81-72. Due to their strong non-conference schedule, this young team has had to learn to grow up quickly.

It’s taking a bit of time to see this offense reach its max potential as the Blue Devils currently have an effective field goal percentage of 48.5% and are only shooting 30.7% from three. The offense has relied primarily on freshman Kyle Filipowski, who leads the team in scoring with 15.2 ppg and rebounds with 9.2 per game.

First-year head coach Jon Scheyer does have this team performing well on the defensive end and on the glass. Duke is bringing in an average of 12.8 offensive rebounds per game which is third in the country and they are also holding opponents to a defensive rebounding percentage of only 60.2%.

Despite the Iowa Hawkeyes scoring at a high level to start the season, they have struggled to establish a rebounding presence this season. The Hawkeyes are allowing 10.1 offensive rebounds a game and are ranked 271st in the country in defensive rebounding percentage.

Shooting and efficient offense are the major strengths of this Iowa team, the Hawkeyes are shooting 47.1% from the field and average 18.3 assists per game which is 10th in the country. Kris Murray has been the primary scorer, averaging 21 points per game and shooting 40.5% from three. It’ll be an interesting match-up between Murray and the Blue Devils' defense that possesses a ton of length.

Pick for the Game

Duke is currently favored by -3 points and that’s who I’ll be backing in this one. This Blue Devils team is battle tested already and showed against Ohio State they have the ability to close out games late. I think Iowa is a solid team but in their one true test this season against TCU they managed to only score 66 points and lost by 13.

The Blue Devils have an adjusted defensive rating on KenPom of 92.3 which is 28th in the country. They’ve been able to do that against a non-conference schedule rating of +4.31, so they aren’t just dominating mid-majors. Duke has shown they can get stops when they need it the most, against any level of offense.

Iowa on the other hand has a defensive rating of 96.9 which is 70th in the country. The difference being is that Iowa has done this against a non-conference schedule rating of -.11. This Duke offense might be too much for the Hawkeyes, especially if they continue to allow a large number of second-chance opportunities like they have all season. I think Duke has too much athleticism and length that give them the advantage on both ends of the floor.


  • Duke Blue Devils (-3)

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