The first round of the NIT tournament takes place tonight and we will see the Indiana Sycamores travel to Iowa City, Iowa to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 pm (Eastern) start time and will be televised on ESPN 2. Currently the Odds for the game have Iowa favored by 12.5 points while the total sits at 133.
Analysis: Indiana State makes a school-record fourth consecutive postseason appearance. The sixth-seeded Sycamores lost to Creighton in the Missouri Valley Conference semifinals. Indiana State has won just two of its past eight games. While these have played just once – 73 years ago – there are ties between the programs. Indiana State head coach Greg Lansing spent seven seasons as an assistant at Iowa; his father, Dave Lansing, is a member of the Iowa High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Iowa assistant coach Sherman Dillard spent three seasons as head coach at Indiana State. The Sycamores won’t be fazed by playing on the road against a Big Ten school. Indiana State owns overtime victories over ACC champion Miami and SEC champion Mississippi. Junior guard Jake Odum is a first-team All-MVC performer who hits 36.7 percent of his 3-point attempts, presenting a challenge to an Iowa defense ranked eighth nationally in 3-point defense (29 percent). Odum finished in the top 10 in the MVC in scoring, assists and steals.
Iowa spent the past two months pushing the best teams in the Big Ten, but that was not enough to push the Hawkeyes into the NCAA Tournament. The Hawkeyes, who open the NIT at home Wednesday against Indiana State, lost to five ranked teams in conference play by nine or fewer points. The third-seeded Hawkeyes have won seven of their past 10 games. Seven of Iowa’s nine Big Ten losses came by four or fewer points, or in overtime. Iowa played in the NIT last season, losing in the second round to Oregon after beating Dayton at home. Junior guard Roy Devyn Marble is a well-rounded player for head coach Fran McCaffery’s squad, and one could say he was born to be a Hawkeye. The son of Roy Marble – Iowa’s all-time leading scorer – Roy Devyn Marble is the sixth player in school history to surpass 1,000 points, 300 rebounds and 200 assists as a junior. Marble leads the Hawkeyes in scoring at 14.1 per game, and has led the team in assists 12 times. The Hawkeyes lack a deadly 3-point shooter; they're 284th nationally from beyond the arc (30 percent).
Pick: I like the Sycamores in this Game. Indiana State comes in struggling, winning just 2 of their last 8 games, but I still feel they are the right side in this game. The Sycamores are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games vs the Big 10 and they have wins over Miami and Mississippi this year, so this is a team that will not be intimidated in this one. The Sycamores are just 4-9 on the road this year, but have been outscored by just 3 ppg away from home, so they have the ability to keep it close, especially with a defense that is 71st in the nation in efficiency. The Hawkeyes do average 70.4 ppg on the year, but this is a poor shooting team that checks in at 230th in FG% overall and 318th in 3 point shooting. The Hawkeyes do play solid defense and Indiana State is not a great offensive team, but I feel that their defense will do enough to keep them in this one. We also may get a flat Iowa squad as this is not where they expected to be. Look for the Sycamores to keep this one Close.
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