NCAA March Madness: Iowa vs. Auburn betting preview, odds and predictions

By VSiN Staff  ( 

March 12, 2023 01:06 PM

NCAA March Madness: Iowa vs. Auburn betting preview, odds and predictions

In the 8 vs. 9 matchup in the Midwest region of the 2023 NCAA tournament, the Iowa takes on Auburn with a spot in the Round of 32 on the line. All tournament long, VSiN will be providing you with March Madness betting oddsin-depth team analysis and expert college basketball picks. Make us your one-stop shop for all of your betting needs. 

MORE: Check out the public betting splits for every college basketball game on the VSiN betting splits page

How to watch Iowa vs. Auburn

When: Thursday, 6:50 p.m. ET

Where: Birmingham, Alabama

Watch: TNT

Odds for Iowa vs. Auburn

Spread: Auburn -1

Total: 153 

(Odds accurate as of Sunday, March 12th at 11:00 p.m. ET)

Real-time betting splits at DraftKings Sportsbook

Midwest Region No. 8 Seed Iowa

The Cyclones have flown under the radar a bit this season, as they had to play in the grueling Big 12. It’s hard to have a good record when you’re playing excellent teams regularly, but Iowa State is a group that can do some damage in March. The Cyclones showed the world how good they are by earning two wins in a row over the Baylor Bears in March. This is an elite team on the defensive end of the floor, and guards Jaren Holmes and Gabe Kalscheur can do a little damage on offense. If either of them gets hot in a game, the Cyclones will be tough to eliminate from this tournament.

Midwest Region No. 9 Seed Auburn

Auburn has been very good on the defensive end this season, and that makes the Tigers a team that can be tough to eliminate. Bruce Pearl’s squad has quite a few players that can do damage on offense, as Johni Broome, Wendell Green Jr., Jaylin Williams, K.D. Johnson and Allen Flanigan can all get theirs. They haven’t all clicked all at once this year, with the offensive efficiency not being there just yet. But it wouldn’t be too shocking if the group did get hot and make a run. Pearl is as good of a coach as there is in the country, and talent isn’t an issue here. With that said, be careful betting against the Tigers.

Iowa vs. Auburn matchup analysis

It is hard to look at an NCAA Tournament team that has gone 7-6 in its last 13 games and get excited about it. That’s what the Iowa Hawkeyes have done, including a loss to Ohio State in a one-and-done Big Ten Tournament appearance. Auburn, on the other hand, has four wins since Jan. 21, having only beaten Georgia, Missouri, Ole Miss and Tennessee in that span.

They also lost a 46-43 game to the Vols on Feb 4. They were smacked around by Texas A&M at home and Kentucky on the road. They lost a couple of close games to rival Alabama, including an overtime tilt in Tuscaloosa. Going from 16-3 to 20-12 isn’t going to inspire a whole lot of confidence in the Tigers, but the perception is rather low of the Big Ten and Iowa is genuinely terrible on defense.

The Hawkeyes get a boost in the adjusted metrics because of their strength of schedule, but they are 308th in eFG% defense, 317th in 3P% defense and 295th in 2P% defense. For an Auburn team that has struggled to score at times, due in large part to a 31.4% success rate from 3 (312th), this is about as good of an 8/9 opponent you can get.

Sure, Iowa can score, but they were barely above the national average from 3 and were only sixth in 2P% in conference play. They shot 54.4% on 2s in 14 nonconference games, but only 50.6% against Big Ten foes. Furthermore, as much as we talk about guys like Rick Barnes and Matt Painter in the NCAA Tournament, we don’t talk enough about Fran McCaffery. This will be the seventh NCAA Tournament appearance for the Hawkeyes under McCaffery and they’ve never made it past the first weekend.

Iowa has won three times in the 7/10 game (twice as the No. 7) and lost last year in the 5/12 game. Most notably, Iowa lost in the second round as a No. 2 seed back in 2021. Bruce Pearl’s team did the same thing last season, but at least he worked a Final Four run into the mix back in 2019. Of course, the Tigers also almost lost to New Mexico State in the 5/12 game to open the tournament that year.

MORE: College basketball best bets from VSiN hosts and analysts

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