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BELMONT BRUINS (1-2) vs #4 IOWA HAWKEYES (3-1)

TIME: 14:00 clock

TV: BTN+ – John Evans and Michael Merrick

SERIES: First meeting ever

THE PAYMENT

INJURY: IOWA: 94.3 PPG, 51.4% FG, 34.3% 3PT, 14.8 TO BELMONT: 62.7 PPG, 39.7% FG, 37.5% 3PT, 16.3 TO

DEFENSE: IOWA: 66.5 PPG, 36.5% FG, 28.3% 3PT, 17.8 TO, +13.5 REB MARGIN BELMONT: 69.7 PPG, 42.9% FG, 33.3% 3PT, 15.0 TO, -8.0 REB MARGIN

PROJECTS LINEUPS

BELMONT BRUINS

5’6 PG Destinee Wells – 15.0 PPG, 4.0 REB, 3.6 AST, 48.4% FG

5’7G Tuti Jones – 13.0 PPG, 50.0% 3PT

5’10G Sydni Harvey – 7.7 PPG, 41.2% FG

6’0G Nikki Baird – 1.3 PPG, 5.0 REB

6’3 W Madison Bartley – 8.7 PPG, 4.3 REB, 29.6% FG

IOWA HAWKEYES

6’0 PG Caitlin Clark – 25.3 PPG, 7.3 REB, 7.3 AST, 34.4% FG

6’0G Kate Martin – 3.8 PPG, 4.0 REB, 3.0 AST, 37.5% FG

5’9G Gabbie Marshall – 4.5 PPG, 18.8% 3PT

6’1 F McKenna Warnock – 10.8 PPG, 6.8 REB, 61.5% FG, 47.1% 3PT

6’3 C Monika Czinano – 21.8 PPG, 6.3 REB, 70.0% FG

WATCH IOWA PLAYERS: G Caitlin Clark

Caitlin Clark pinched her ankle in the season opener against Southern and she made it worse by going down on the last ball possession at KSU. Although she is expected to play, will she be able to handle her normal 32-35 minutes on the floor and how effective will she be? The Hawkeyes have scored +19 points when Clark was on the ground and -14 when she was off the ground over the past two games.

WATCH BELMONT PLAYERS: G Tuti Jones

There are a few reasons to keep an eye on Tuti Jones this afternoon. Last season, 54.1% of her shots came from behind the arc and she made 40.8% of her 157 3-point attempts. In three games this year, Jones is 8/16 from 3-point range, including three marks in each of the last two games. After allowing Kansas State’s Sarah Shematsi Thursday to throw six career 3-pointers, Iowa will have to limit Tuti Jones’ chances. In addition to her three-point shooting, Jones was named Ohio Valley Defensive Player of the Year last season.

KEY COMPARISON: Iowa Rebounding vs. Belmont Rebounding

The Hawkeyes have struggled in the rebound department on both offense and defense for the past few seasons. Last time out against Kansas State, Iowa grabbed just four offensive rebounds and had zero second chance points.

However, the Bruins haven’t been a good rebounding team in three games. They’ve been passed 112-88 so far this season, which ranks 300th in the country with a -8.0 rebound margin. They’ve also allowed their opponents to snatch 42 offensive rebounds and convert them to 42 second-chance points (14.0 per game).

The Hawkeyes need to get a Drake game on the boards because the Bruins are prone to conceding second chances.

THE SELECTION

The Belmont Bruins have had a stellar start to the season but have shown they are capable of taking ranked teams to the finish. In recent seasons, the NCAA tournament, the Bruins defeated 5-seeded Oregon and nearly defeated 4-seeded Tennessee to reach the Sweet 16. This year, Belmont Louisville, at No. 5, have already given it all they could take before falling 75-70. However, the Bruins needed a second-half comeback to defeat Chattanooga 56-54 in the opener and were recently beaten 80-62 by Middle Tennessee State. Strange.

One of the best point guards you haven’t heard of in women’s basketball, Destinee Wells made the preseason Nancy Lieberman PG of the Year Watch List. She has 15+ points in 23 of their last 34 games and will be the Bruins’ biggest offensive threat.

They have a trio of 3-point shooters led by the aforementioned Tuti Jones. South Florida transfer Sydni Harvey amassed 175 3pt marks for the Bulls and was 3/4 near Louisville this year. Vanderbilt transfer Kendal Cheesman is also 5/10 behind the arc.

Madison Bartley (4.3 rpg) and Nikki Baird (5.0 rpg) are the top rebounders for the Bruins. Baird is a threat to offensive boards at seven a year. Overall, Belmont has only three players with more than 10 rebounds in three games. For comparison, Iowa has seven players with 10+ rebounds in four games.

Statistically, it looks like a game Iowa could win at home. Belmont is 290th in defensive rebounding and 279th in offensive rebounding. They have 35 assists with 49 turnovers. You only have 36 bank points in three games. They rank 197th in field goal percentage.

Everything on paper suggests the Hawkeyes are recovering from their loss to Kansas State and winning comfortably. However, this game exudes IUPUI vibes from a year ago. A good mid-major program that can sneak up on you when you’re not expecting it, except that Belmont has a track record of narrowly playing ranked teams. Warren Nolan RPI won Iowa 83-68 but it seems this game will be closer than the matchup looks on paper.

I’ll take the Hawkeyes to take the win back, but they’ll need to perform more fully than they have in recent games, which means they’ll get input from everyone on the starting lineup. IOWA 79 BELMONT 72

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