North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Iowa Hawkeyes – College Basketball, December 8, 2020

By Dean McHugh in College Basketball
| December 7, 2020 1:59 pm PDT

The Hawkeyes welcome the Tar Heels to the Carver-Hawkeye Arena as they look to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

Iowa sits in the second position in the Big Ten conference as they look to build on a solid start to this campaign.

In contrast, one of the NCAA Championship favorites had their unbeaten start to the season halted last time out in a close contest with Texas, who defeated the Tar Heels at the buzzer.

The teams had met once before back in 2014 when Iowa picked up the win 60-55.

Tar Heels vs. Hawkeyes Odds

Tar Heels +4.5-109
Hawkeyes -4.5-110
Tar Heels To Win+165
Hawkeyes To Win-205

The bookmakers have gone with form here instead of reputation and instilled the Hawkeyes as favorites, which may surprise some.

Tar Heels News

North Carolina was instilled as second favorites to lift the NCAA Championship this year behind Virginia, but they haven’t lived up to that label so far. Was last week’s defeat just a speed bump in the road, or are the wheels falling off already?

After two comfortable wins against Coll of Charlton and UNLV, they had a closely fought win against Stanford in which they came from behind at half time to pick up the win. You could therefore argue that they have had a relatively hard start to the season.

Slow starts have cost the Tar Heels dearly, especially last time out against Texas, where they trailed 40-28 at half time.

Their shooting this season has been very poor as they struggle to reach a 42% field goal success rate, which is never going to win you a Championship, so this will need to improve drastically.

Defensively they have been pretty good, reducing opponents to an average of 60 points per game. They themselves are also averaging 49 rebounds per game, which, if they can sort their shooting out, should see their points per game average increase from 72%.

Hawkeyes News

Iowa has made a great start to the season, even if they haven’t faced any teams of note to date. Their three wins from three games this season have come by margins of 30, 27, and 41!

Because of this, they are currently averaging a mighty impressive 99 points per game so far this season. Their field goal success rate has been decent at 50%, and you can tell that they work the ball around the court well when you see that they are averaging over 24 assists per game.

Luka Garza has lit up the league so far as he easily leads the points per game standings with a whopping 34 points per game. The senior has improved his points per game average each year, and it really looks like he is maturing into a fine player. He also features on the three-point shooting statistical table and the steals per game table, so he really is showing that he can do it all.

Tar Heels vs. Hawkeyes Betting Pick

Pick
  • Tar Heels +4.5
    -109

There really is a lot of factors to take into account in this game. Can the un-fancied Hawkeyes maintain this impressive start? Can the fancied Tar Heels finally show up? After two hard games back to back, is this third difficult game a step too far for them? Or has the Hawkeyes had it too easy to date? I am going to go against the hype and go with the team that, on paper, is much better. Given they have been involved in a couple of close games lately, take them with the handicap to win.

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