Richmond Spiders vs. Iowa Hawkeyes Picks, Predictions, Odds

Big Ten Tournament Champion Iowa will open the NCAA Tournament Thursday afternoon facing Atlantic 10 Tournament champion Richmond. This game is at the KeyBank Center Buffalo, New York, scheduled for 3:10 PM ET, though that time will be adjusted according to the preceding game in Buffalo between South Dakota State and Providence. 

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Score Prediction

Iowa 81, Richmond 74

Best Bet

Richmond +10.5 (-110)

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Iowa has seen its stock rise considerably in recent weeks, going from 4-6 in Big Ten play at the end of January to winning eight of the final 10 to reach 12-8 and then winning four games in four days to take the Big Ten Tournament title. Iowa moved up to a #5 seed in the bracket and has seen its efficiency ranking climb into the national top 15. Iowa was a #2 seed in last season’s tournament but was blown out by Oregon in the Round of 32, which is the furthest Iowa has advanced in the NCAA Tournament under Fran McCaffery, who has led the Hawkeyes to now six NCAA Tournaments since taking over the program in 2010-11. 

Richmond undoubtedly stole an at-large bid from A-10 rival Dayton, landing this #12 position Sunday afternoon by also winning four games in four days in tournament action, impressively defeating VCU, Dayton, and Davidson in succession after needing a significant comeback to beat Rhode Island in the A-10 tournament opener. The Spiders are led by long-time head coach Chris Mooney who has been with the program since 2005-06, notably making a Sweet 16 run in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. This is the first NCAA Tournament appearance for Richmond since that runthough the Spiders likely would have been in the 2020 tournament had it occurred. 

Richmond has not faced a team rated as high as Iowa this season but did play a Big Ten team with an 86-80 loss to Maryland in the Bahamas. Also in the Bahamas, Richmond lost in overtime to Mississippi State and in December beat NC State in Charlotte for competitive results in three games vs. major conference teams this season. With Providence considered the weakest #4 seed in the field by many, the winner of this game could have a favorable draw to reach the Sweet 16, with Providence barely favored in its opening round game vs. South Dakota State that tips off before this game. Kansas is the #1 seed in the Midwest Region as the likely Sweet 16 opponent for whichever team emerges from this pod in Buffalo.


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  • Date: Thursday, March 17, 2022
  • Matchup: No. 12 vs. No. 5
  • Region: Midwest
  • Venue: KeyBank Center
  • Location: Buffalo, New York
  • TV-Time: truTV - 3:10 p.m. ET


Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 23-12
  • ATS: 20-12-1
  • O/U: 15-20

Even while covering in the final three games of the A-10 Tournament, Richmond wound up as a losing team against the spread this season. The Spiders were 5-5 ATS as an underdog this season and this line will be by far the largest underdog spread Richmond has faced this season with the previous high +5 in the regular season finale at St. Bonaventure. Richmond was 6-12 ATS this season vs. winning teams but the bulk of those losses came at home, going 2-8 ATS vs. often small favorite prices in Richmond. 

Richmond takes great care of the ball with a top 10 rate nationally of avoiding turnovers on offense. The Spiders are an average shooting team overall with better numbers inside the 3-point arc. 3-point defense has been a problem spot for Richmond, allowing nearly 36 percent in A-10 play. One thing of note is that Richmond allowed 76 percent on free throws this season in A-10 play, the worst in the conference and simply a measure of bad luck that likely contributed to four A-10 losses that came by three or fewer points. Only three times this season did Richmond lose by more than seven points, and one of those results was a misleading overtime game as this has been a team accustomed to playing in close games. 

Four of five starters for Richmond were starters on the team last season and the Spiders have excellent size outside of guard Jacob Gilyard, with Tyler Burton and Nathan Cayo at 6’7” flanking center Grant Golden at 6’10” as Iowa will not have the size advantage one might expect. Richmond wound up with only the ninth best defensive rating in the A-10 however as containing Keegan Murray and Iowa’s excellent group of outside shooters will be a challenge for the Spiders, but Richmond also drew a top five schedule in the conference while playing a top 100 non-conference path.


Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 26-9
  • ATS: 22-13
  • O/U: 22-12-1

Iowa has wound up as one of the best against the spread teams in the nation this season, particularly among major conference teams, going 22-13 ATS, including a 10-3 ATS run since February 10. The Hawkeyes have produced several blowouts going 6-2 ATS when favored by 10 or more points but a lot of the ATS success for Iowa has come as an underdog with almost exclusively close losses this season. Iowa was 11-7 ATS while going 15-3 S/U in Iowa City this season as a team that used its home court advantage successfully. This setting in Buffalo is not likely to provide a great advantage on either side of this pairing. Iowa did play one of the weakest non-conference schedules in the nation as seven non-conference wins came outside the nation’s top 200 to pad the figures. 

It is easy to look at Iowa as a similar group to last season’s team with a great offense and a marginal defense, but Iowa has improved in a few key areas this season. While maintaining one of the nation’s top offensive efficiency ratings this season, Iowa improved its 3-point defense from a below average rate that was 12th in the Big Ten last season to a middle-of-the-conference level this season. The biggest surprise however has been Iowa going from being dead last in creating turnovers on defense in the 2020-21 Big Ten season to being #1 in the conference this season for a staggering turnaround that has propelled Iowa to looking like a more dangerous team in this year’s bracket. 

Keegan Murray is one of the top players in the nation and projects as an NBA lottery pick this summer as a versatile two-way player at 6’8” that still shoots above 40 percent from 3-point range, hoping to finally take Iowa to a Sweet 16 for McCaffery. The head coach has two sons on the team that contribute significantly while in his sixth season Jordan Bohannon remains a top 3-point threat on the perimeter as this looks like a more complete team than last year’s group that leaned on Luka Garza. There is valid concern for both teams with fatigue from the four-day run to take tournament titles while both teams have seen a rise in valuation in recent weeks. Richmond grades at roughly the same level as Northwestern from the Big Ten and Iowa was -10.5 at home in a late February meeting as the high-profile run from the Hawkeyes could leave them facing slightly elevated numbers moving forward.

Richmond has allowed 77 points or less in 10 straight games. (AP)


  • Record: 23-12
  • PS/G: 71.7 (158th)
  • PA/G: 68.3 (155th)


  • Record: 26-9
  • PS/G: 83.8 (4th)
  • PA/G: 71.3 (243rd)


  • RICH: Tyler Burton - F (16.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg)
  • RICH: Grant Golden - F (14.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg)
  • IOWA: Keegan Murray - F (23.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg)
  • IOWA: Jordan Bohannon - G (11.1 ppg)


Turnovers are an area Iowa has been consistently producing an advantage in this great late season run and that is unlikely to occur in this pairing. This is a veteran Spiders lineup that led the A-10 in turnover rate and had low turnover count in all four A-10 tournament wins, finishing +18 in turnovers over four games combined. These squads have similar 3-point defenses and similar rates of taking 3-point shots as while Iowa should produce a slight edge beyond the arc, it doesn’t look likely to be a staggering advantage. Richmond’s interior scoring rate is quite good and that is where Iowa’s defense can be attacked as there should be a path for Richmond to stay in this game. 

Iowa has been an exciting team to watch in recent weeks, but the pricing valuation may be climbing too high after the recent run in the spotlight. Richmond simply didn’t get blown out this season except for a late December game with St. Joseph’s, a game that followed a long holiday layoff as the underdog points have a great deal of appeal in this matchup. Mooney is a well-regarded coach that made the most of his last NCAA Tournament opportunity and the Spiders seem likely to give Iowa a closer than expected test Thursday afternoon. 



  • Richmond has won four of its last six NCAA Tournament games when playing as the No. 12 seed.
  • Richmond has covered the spread in three straight games.
  • Iowa has gone into overtime in three of its last nine NCAA Tournament games.
  • Iowa has won four of its last six NCAA Tournament games when playing as the No. 5 seed.
  • Iowa has covered the spread in four of its last five games when playing on a neutral court.