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March 18, 2016

Temple-Iowa preview: Which Hawkeyes team will the Owls see?

As recently as early February, the Iowa Hawkeyes appeared like they could be headed for the one line in this tournament. Sweeps over both Michigan State and Purdue along with wins over Michigan, Wichita State, and Florida State will do that for a team.

Then, the Hawkeyes collapsed. They lost a ton of close games to both good and bad Big 10 teams, finishing the season on a 2-6 skid after an ugly loss to an Illinois team that isn’t very good. Here’s what they’re saying:

''Toward the end, I think the Big Ten season really started to wear on us,'' Hawkeyes leading scorer Jarrod Uthoff said. ''Day in and day out, you're playing great teams. It's not like you're playing poor competition. Losing to those good teams, I think it's a good experience for us, and I think we'll bounce back in this tournament.''

Philadelphia’s Fran McCaffery, who played at La Salle High School and UPenn, is the coach of the Hawkeyes. Even though we’re a Philly site, it seems like this game will come down to which Iowa team shows up. I feel pretty confident in what we’ll see from Fran Dunphy’s team.

If Good Iowa makes an appearance, the Hawkeyes will advance. If the team that ended the season shows up in Brooklyn, we are getting that Big 5 matchup on Sunday.

Game, announcers, etc.

No. 7 Iowa vs. No. 15 UNC Temple, 3:10 p.m. (approximately): truTV, Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel and Allie LaForce

What the numbers say

All stats are from The numbers in parentheses are national ranks among 351 schools:

104.9 (152)
114.6 (24)
Defense97.7 (51)
95.9 (31)
66.9 (275)
69.9 (116)

The Hawkeyes have a couple of stars in Jared Uthoff and Peter Jok. Temple is very good at running teams off the three-point line, and both of Iowa’s stars are 6’6”+ players that shoot above 39 percent from deep. Will McCaffery’s offense be able to spring them free for open looks against Dunphy’s defense?

Expert picks (or famous people)

President Obama: Iowa
Myron Medcalf, ESPN: Temple
Stewart Mandel, FOX Sports: Temple
Chris Dobbertean, SB Nation: Temple
Sports Illustrated: 5 of 10 analysts pick Temple
Dan Steinberg, Washington Post: Temple
CBS Sports: 7 of 12 analysts picked Iowa
KenPom: Iowa wins 77 percent of the tine

It seems like a decent amount of people are willing to pick against Iowa, but Pomeroy’s numbers see the Hawkeyes as clear favorites.

Who wins?

A lot of really smart people are on Temple today. I’m not one of them, and I think Iowa bounces back from a poor showing in the Big 10 Tournament: Iowa 75, Temple 70

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann