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Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon

Who is right on Iowa men’s basketball tourney chances — the coach or oddsmaker? Plus, Tom Crean’s Tyler Cook comp and more

The best way to start your day is right here at Landof10.com as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Iowa Breakfast Club here with you at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.

So let’s get to it. Here is the Iowa Breakfast Club for Tuesday, March 7.


Iowa’s Big Ten Tournament chances

If the Iowa men’s basketball team needs a hype man — and it never hurts a team on the bubble to have one — it may have found its guy in Maryland coach Mark Turgeon.

But he may need to do some work on the oddsmakers.

Yes, the Hawkeyes, the No. 7 seed, come in with the ninth-best odds according to Bovada. Indiana, seeded 10th and Iowa’s opponent on Thursday, is ahead of the Hawkeyes. So why the disparity between the coach and the oddsmakers on Iowa?

Well, Turgeon did witness the best performance of the season by the Hawkeyes. Iowa outclassed Turgeon’s Maryland squad 83-69 on Feb. 25. In fact, Iowa enters the league tournament having won four straight and playing its best basketball of the season.

Based on their recent play, the Hawkeyes don’t appear to be an easy out. A hot team in a conference with no true dominant team and plenty of parity could be an attractive candidate to pick for a deep run, especially with Iowa beating the two highest-seeded teams on its side of the bracket — Maryland and Wisconsin — within the last week. Turgeon’s comments make sense.

But what about the oddsmakers: Why aren’t they so bullish on the Hawkeyes?

The sports books or gambling sites rely on more than just recent success when evaluating a team. Those outfits do look at the talent level of teams, how they matchup with opponents and other factors that can influence an outcome.

Let’s take a look at the KenPom.com ratings, an objective value to evaluate teams on their on-court efficiency.

KenPom Big Ten Rankings

Rank Team KenPom National Ranking
1 Purdue 13
2 Wisconsin 22
3 Michigan 25
4 Minnesota 33
5 Northwestern 37
6 Maryland 38
7 Indiana 46
8 Michigan St. 50
9 Iowa 66
10 Illinois 68
11 Ohio St. 70
12 Penn St. 82
13 Nebraska 105
14 Rutgers 131

There isn’t a direct correlation with what the numbers say are the best teams and the odds, but it’s close. Iowa is No. 9 on this list. Some of the teams KenPom likes better than its conference tournament seeds (Michigan and Indiana) are the same ones the oddsmakers do. It’s the same for the obvious team KenPom and oddsmakers like less than its seeds (3-seed Maryland).

The three teams the Hawkeyes are most likely going to have to beat to get to the Big Ten title game (Indiana, Wisconsin and Maryland) are all rated above Iowa in KenPom and have better odds. It’s probably the biggest reason why the odds are so long.

So what does it all mean? Yes, there is reason to be optimistic with how the team is playing. The Hawkeyes certainly are.

But it’s also not a guarantee Iowa will win the two games it looks like it needs to secure an NCAA Tournament at-large berth. The Hawkeyes could potentially be underdogs in their first three tournament games — if they survive that long.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition, but that makes sense from both sides. This is why the Big Ten Tournament will be intriguing, and potentially stressful for the Hawkeyes faithful.


Interesting comparison

Indiana coach Tom Crean likes what he sees in Iowa forward Tyler Cook. In fact, it reminds him of someone on his team.

That is an interesting comparison, one Iowa fans should be pleased with. Both are similar in stature, but Cook holds a weight advantage. OG Anunoby is 6-foot-8, 235 pounds and could play either forward spot. Cook is 6-9, 253 and is right now better suited for power forward.

Both, though, are big, long and athletic. Though Anunoby didn’t do much his freshman year, averaging 4.9 points, as a sophomore he is one of Indiana’s best players when healthy. He took a step forward this season, looking like a potential star and averaging 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds before injuries derailed his season after 16 games. Anunoby could be headed to the NBA after this season.

Cook is likely sticking around Iowa for a couple of seasons, but could very well follow the trajectory of potential impact player in his sophomore year. He has started to trend in that direction late this season.


Hanging up his helmet

Former Iowa LB Chad Greenway is retiring from the NFL and will hold a news conference Tuesday to make the announcement official. Minnesota did a mini-social media tribute on its Twitter feed for the two-time Pro Bowler.

Greenway’s retirement shouldn’t be a shock to Vikings fans or anyone who followed his career closely. He sounded like a man who knew this was the likely outcome in training camp in this story from Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star Tribune back in August.


Greatest Iowa Basketball Player Update

Land of 10 is trying to figure out the best basketball player in Iowa history. Readers are voting each day as we unveil a new bracket matchup. The first round consists of four players each day, with two advancing to the second round. Let’s check where thing sit from the last several days.

Murray Wier and Jarrod Uthoff advanced from Day 3, Don Nelson and Dean Oliver moved on from Day 4, and Andre Woolridge and Vince Brookins came out of the Day 5 bracket.


Lots of links

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