Record: 25-4 (15-3 Missouri Valley)
Tournament opponent: Wichita State in play-in game
Line: Drake +2; O/U: 139
Coach: Darian DeVries (3rd season)
Player to know: Roman Penn
Though it lost to Loyola Chicago in the title game of the Missouri Valley tournament, Drake earned an at-large bid to this year’s NCAA tournament. It’s just the fifth NCAA tournament appearance in program history for the Bulldogs, the most recent coming in 2008.
The Bulldogs, in their third year with longtime Creighton assistant Darian DeVries running the show, opened the season with a remarkable 18-game winning streak. Drake eventually finished second in the MVC, and it was enough to be the rare mid-major program to earn an at-large invitation.
The Bulldogs are a deep team. Point guard Roman Penn was a first-team all-conference choice while graduate transfer ShanQuan Hemphill led the team in scoring at 14.1 per game. Joseph Yesufu, the second-leading scorer (12.1 ppg), was the Missouri Valley’s sixth man of the year. In all, Drake has five players who average double-figure scoring. That level of depth has helped the Bulldogs cover the spread at a ridiculous rate: 76.9%.
No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes
Record: 21-8 (14-6)
Tournament opponent: No. 15 Grand Canyon
Line: Iowa -14.5; O/U: 144
Coach: Fran McCaffery (11th season)
Player to know: Luka Garza
Luka Garza, the national player of the year frontrunner, returned to Iowa for his senior season with the goal of leading Iowa to a deep run in March Madness. To get the Hawkeyes to this point, Garza has certainly done his part. The 6-foot-11 center averages 23.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game while connecting on 40.7% of his 3-pointers.
Garza is complemented by a trio of sharp-shooting guards Joe Wieskamp, Jordan Bohannon and C.J. Fredrick. Wieskamp, a second-team all-Big Ten performer, averages 14.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while connecting on 47.3% from deep. Bohannon, the point guard, averages 10.9 points and 4.5 assists while Fredrick has connected on 49.3% of his 3-pointers.
Iowa certainly is a good offensive team, but has actually had more games go under the point total during conference play. The under is 13-7 during Iowa’s Big Ten regular-season contests. Will that carry over the tournament?
The state of Iowa is a BetMGM sports betting market.
More NCAA tournament on Yahoo Sports: