Iowa Basketball: Preview and prediction against Minnesota

Iowa basketball will host the Minnesota Gophers on Sunday in a pivotal rematch. Here’s a preview and prediction for the game.

The No. 5 Iowa basketball team (10-2) will be seeking revenge when they host the No. 16 Minnesota Gophers (10-3) on Sunday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:30 pm CT on Big Ten Network.

The Hawkeyes are riding a three-game winning streak after their last loss came at the hands of Minnesota on Christmas night. The Gophers took Iowa to overtime and won 102-95. There’s no doubt Iowa will be motivated for some payback.

Prediction models are all over the Hawkeyes. According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, Iowa has an 86.5 percent chance of winning. Odds Shark has Iowa as a 9.5-point favorite. The over/under is set at 163.5.

In their last meeting with Minnesota, Iowa could not contain junior guard Marcus Carr, who put up 30 points and eight assists on 9-of-16 shooting. He also hit the 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.

Unsurprisingly, Carr has been the Gophers’ undisputed MVP so far this season. Over Minnesota’s last five games, he has accounted for 41 percent of the team’s field goals. He also leads the team with 21.5 points per game. Overall, the Gophers have four players who average double-digit points. As a team, Minnesota averages 79.7 points and allows 73.2 per game.

Liam Robbins is another player to watch on the Gophers. The 7-footer leads Minnesota in rebounding (7.3) in his first season with the team after transferring from Drake. Robbins was potentially going to miss this game with a leg injury, but he appears healthy enough to play. There’s some extra motivation for Robbins, too. The junior center is from Davenport, IA.

The Hawkeyes, currently third in the Big Ten standings with a record of 4-1, need to win to keep pace with first place Michigan (5-0) and second place Illinois (5-1). Meanwhile, Minnesota sits in fifth place (3-3) in the conference.

Iowa vs. Minnesota Prediction

Iowa wins 92-80. The Hawkeyes have won eight straight home games. It’s hard to see that streak ending on Sunday afternoon, especially against a Gopher team that hasn’t won in Iowa City since 2015. With the way Iowa’s bench is playing, it’s hard to see them losing this game.