No. 7 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. No. 2 Villanova Wildcats (-6.5, 145.5)
Game to be played at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Villanova passed its first test in the NCAA Tournament, but a tougher challenge awaits Sunday when the second-seeded Wildcats take on seventh-seeded Iowa in South Regional action at Brooklyn, N.Y. In the first round, Villanova topped UNC Asheville by 30 points, while Iowa nipped Temple at the buzzer.
The Hawkeyes’ victory prevented a Big 5 showdown between the Owls and Wildcats, who are longtime Philadelphia city rivals. Instead, Villanova will take aim at an Iowa squad that has not won consecutive games since early February and overcame poor shooting in Friday’s tournament opener. The Wildcats, meanwhile, have captured 13 of 15 but still need to win another game to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009. “Just going forward in this game, we can’t think about the shortcomings in the past years,” Villanova big man Daniel Ochefu said. “We have to focus on the things we can take care of that will help us get this ‘W’ on Sunday.”
TV: 12:10 p.m. ET, CBS
LINE HISTORY: No. 2 Villanova opened as 6.5-point favorites and the line has yet to move off that number. The total also hasn’t moved off it’s opening number of 145.5. Check out the complete line history.
ABOUT IOWA (22-10, 14-15 ATS, 15-14 O/U): The Hawkeyes escaped at the final horn when Adam Woodbury put in Mike Gesell’s airball to clinch Iowa’s third win in the last nine games. The team has not reached the Sweet 16 since 1999 and will need a much better shooting performance from its stars in order to slip past Villanova, which ranks 20th in the nation in points allowed (63.7), entering the weekend. In the first round, Jarrod Uthoff (7-of-21), Gesell (0-of-8), and Peter Jok (5-of-15) all struggled with their shooting, although Iowa committed only three turnovers while forcing a dozen.
ABOUT VILLANOVA (30-5, 16-17-1 ATS, 17-16-1 O/U): The Wildcats are 0-6 in their last six NCAA Tournament games against teams not ranked 15th or 16th, so this is a critical contest for Wright’s squad if it hopes to silence the doubters. A good sign against UNC Asheville was the play of seniors Ochefu (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Ryan Arcidiacono (14 points, 4-of-6 3-pointers). Five players registered at least 10 points for the Wildcats, although that group did not include their leading scorer on the season, Josh Hart, who contributed nine points, seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals.
* Iowa is 1-8 ATS in its last nine games overall.
* Villanova is 8-0 ATS in its last eight games versus Big Ten opponents.
* Over is 6-0 in Iowa’s last six games versus Big East opponents.
* Over is 8-2 in Villanova’s last 10 games overall.
No. 13 Hawaii Rainbow Warriors vs. No. 5 Maryland Terrapins (-7, 144)
Game to be played at Spokane Arena, Spokane, WA
Hawaii continues its extended road trip Sunday as the 13th-seeded Rainbow Warriors take on No. 5 Maryland in the second round of the NCAA Tournament’s South Region in Spokane, Wash. The Rainbow Warriors, who have been on the mainland since March 1, upset No. 4 California 77-66 in Friday’s first round while Maryland built an 18-point lead over No. 12 South Dakota State before holding on for a 79-74 victory.
Forward Jake Layman tied a career high with 27 points and guard Melo Trimble added 19 to pace the Terrapins, who were 3-5 in their final eight games before the tournament but can reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003 with a win over the opportunistic Rainbow Warriors. Maryland shot 51.1 percent from the field and 88.9 percent from the foul line against the Jackrabbits and will need a repeat performance against Hawaii, which is riding high following its first NCAA Tournament victory in school history. The Rainbow Warriors led the Big West in steals and play the type of tenacious defense that could create trouble for a Maryland team that ranked 11th in the Big Ten in turnover margin at minus-1.7. The game features a pair of top point guards in Trimble and Hawaii’s Roderick Bobbitt, who scored 17 points in the win over Cal.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, TBS
LINE HISTORY: Maryland opened as 6.5-point favorites and have been bet up a half point to -7. The total opened at 144 and has yet to move off that number. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT HAWAII (28-5, 15-12 ATS, 14-12-1 O/U): Big West player of the year Stefan Jankovic battled foul trouble and was limited to 16 points and five rebounds in 18 minutes against Cal, but the Rainbow Warriors still managed to set a new single-season mark for wins while forcing 16 turnovers. Hawaii, which beat Long Beach State in the Big West tournament title game to clinch its first trip to the Big Dance since 2002, will need a complete game from Jankovic in order to keep the taller Terrapins off the glass. The Rainbow Warriors are a poor shooting team from 3-point range but feature a veteran backcourt in Bobbitt, Quincy Smith and Aaron Valdes, the team’s second-leading rebounder.
ABOUT MARYLAND (26-8, 15-17-1 ATS, 13-19-1 O/U): Inconsistency remains the biggest issue surrounding the Terrapins, who began the season with a 15-1 mark and boast one of the nation’s most talented and balanced rosters but fell to a fifth seed after losing several close games late in the season. The stellar frontline includes 6-foot-11 freshman Diamond Stone along with Layman, a 6-foot-9 senior who made five 3-pointers and was 7-of-11 shooting against South Dakota State. “The last four weeks he’s gotten a lot more aggressive and he’s just so confident in shooting the basketball,” coach Mark Turgeon told reporters. “He’s playing with poise and great pace.”
* Hawaii is 4-0 ATS in its last four non-conference games.
* Maryland is 0-4 ATS in its last four NCAA Tournament games.
* Over is 7-3 in Hawaii’s last 10 non-conference games.
* Over is 5-1-1 in Maryland’s last seven neutral site games.