Fran McCaffrey and Iowa were one of the most popular picks to get upset in the first round, but despite an OT scare the Hawkeyes were able to scrape out a win against No. 10 Temple. Iowa did let a double-digit lead in the second half slip away, something that is becoming all too familiar. It cannot afford to let up against a high-powered Villanova Wildcats team that is fresh off of a 30-point rout of UNC Asheville if the Hawkeyes wish to move on to the Sweet 16.
No. 7 Iowa Hawkeyes (22-10) vs. No. 2 Villanova Wildcats (30-5)
When: 12:10 p.m. ET (Sunday)
Where: Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY)
Line: Villanova -6.5
Keys for Iowa
Iowa once again failed to close out a game and deliver a complete, 40-minute effort. However, they kept their composure in overtime and senior big man Adam Woodbury was able to put back an offensive board with four seconds left for the victory. Iowa pulling off the upset on ‘Nova rests largely on the shoulders of Jared Uthoff and Peter Jok, who were a combined 5-for-20 from 3-point range on Friday. That cannot happen again if the Hawkeyes want to keep pace with a Villanova team that gets consistent scoring at every position.
Keys for Villanova
Villanova must study the tape from Friday and force Iowa into making the same mistakes it did against No. 10 Temple. If Villanova can keep Iowa out of the paint the Wildcats have a very good chance of running away with this game. Jay Wright’s teams often look great on paper during the regular season but fail to win in March. These Wildcats must come out fired up to play an Iowa squad that can be lethal when it’s hitting shots. Senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono must be a floor general and create open looks for his teammates from the opening tip to get them in a good groove.
There is a ton of talent on display in this second round showdown between Iowa and Villanova. I believe the matchup plays to Villanova’s strengths, and if senior big man Daniel Ochefu (6-11, 245) can keep Uthoff in check while staying out of foul trouble then the Wildcats should come out on top. The Wildcats also will benefit from the crowd, as this game in Brooklyn is only a few hours away from Philadelphia. Additionally, Arcidiacono is one of those pesky four-year starters that seem to carry their team through the tournament on sheer heart. Villanova should be able to score enough against a sloppy Iowa defense to move on to the Sweet 16.