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All of a sudden, these teams are two of the best in the daunted Big Ten, and it has kind of come out of nowhere. Iowa looks unbeatable at home, but also has a nice road win at Ohio State. Michigan has figured out how to play without Mitch McGary and is undefeated in conference play, with its last win coming at Wisconsin.
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It's a tough week for the Wolverines who get a road game in East Lansing on Saturday. But first things first, they'll have a slight advantage at home against the Hawkeyes, but that doesn't really mean a whole lot. Iowa has three losses on the year, but all of them have been incredibly close against some of the best teams in the nation. Iowa is a team that can find themselves as a Top 3 seed by season's end.
As for Michigan, this is a team that was Top 10 in preseason polls, but started off with a 6-4 record. Three of those losses were in extremely tough situations, but one came against Charlotte, and that's where a lot of the doubt started to seep in for this team. However, they have turned things around and are once again in the rankings.
The Wolverines are led by a powerful starting lineup, while the Hawkeyes have one of the deepest teams in the country.
Nik Stauskas, a shooting guard for Michigan, is probably the best player in this game. He's coming off a 23-point performance against the Badgers, and is averaging 18 for the season. Stauskas is extremely efficient, shooting just 10.6 field goals per game, which is incredible for his point total. Being a taller guard, he also helps on the glass (3.7 REB), and when he receives more attention, can dish it out (3.8 AST).
He's joined by NBA prospect Glenn Robinson III, who is still figuring out his game. GRIII has a bigger role this year, but his rebounds are surprisingly down, including zero last game. Scoring wise, Robinson has been more consistent lately which is good to see. In addition, big men Jon Horford and Jordan Morgan are looking better and are a big part of their current seven-game win streak.
Horford and Morgan will get the task of trying to contain Aaron White for Iowa. He's been unbelievable this year shooting 66 percent from the field for 14 points per game. Those numbers are mostly unheard of, and he runs the court really well. His athleticism is a problem for most teams. Senior guard Roy Devyn Marble is the team's top scorer as expected with 16.3 per game. When you play against Iowa, the main person you want to stop is Marble.
As for the rest of the Hawkeyes, they have a range of role players from forwards Jarrod Uthoff, Melsahn Basabe and Zach McCabe to guard Mike Gesell. To make matters worse for opposing defenses, the Hawkeyes recently got back Josh Oglesby, one of their best outside shooters, from a broken foot. He finished with 17 points in their last win against Minnesota.
With how these teams have looked this year, this series will likely end with both home teams coming away with wins. However, in any game that comes down to the final few minutes, anything can happen. With Stauskas playing the way he's been playing, it'll be hard for the Iowa guards to contain him down the stretch. That's where the main advantage lies.
Our Score Prediction model Says: Michigan 78 Iowa 75
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