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No. 2 Iowa vs. No. 15 Grand Canyon preview for NCAA Tournament first-round matchup

The No. 2 Iowa and No. 15 Grand Canyon face off in the first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of what and how to watch following Selection Sunday.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 13 Big Ten Tournament - Illinois v Iowa Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, March 18th with the First Four, and then moves on to the first round on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16. No. 2 seed Iowa will face No. 15 seed Grand Canyon in the first round. Game time has yet to be announced but we will update this article with that and game odds as soon as it comes available. For now, we’ve got a preliminary preview of the two teams to get you ready for March Madness!

Once the odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Saturday, March 20
Game time: 6:25 p.m.
TV channel: TBS
Location: Farmers Coliseum

Odds: Iowa -16
Over/Under: 144.5

No. 2 Iowa

If you love the all-offense, no-defense style of play, the Iowa Hawkeyes are your team during the NCAA Tournament. Iowa ranks No. 1 in college basketball in adjusted offensive efficiency, but the Hawkeyes check in at No. 74 in defensive efficiency. Luka Garza came into this season regarded as the best player in college basketball, and he’s done nothing to change that theory. He is leading the country in scoring with 24.7 points per game and averages 8.5 rebounds per contest, fourth in the Big Ten.

Iowa’s fast-paced brand of basketball is fun to watch, but the team’s deficiencies on the defensive end could make the Hawkeyes difficult to predict to make a big run in the NCAA Tournament. Iowa has certainly improved in that area from the start of the season, but it’s still not a strength by any means.

Record: 21-8, 14-6 Big Ten
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 2
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 50
ATS: 15-13-1
Over Total: 14-15
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +1500

No. 15 Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon Antelopes defeated the New Mexico State Aggies 76-54 in the WAC Tournament to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. The Antelopes will be making their first-ever appearance in the tournament after just joining Division 1 in 2013. They finished the regular season with a record 17-6 and first in the WAC. Under the direction of first-year head coach Bryce Drew, Grand Canyon is one of the best teams in field goal percentage defense at 37.7 percent. They are also good on the offensive side, averaging 75.6 points per game and 16.1 assists per game (30th in the country).

Two players to keep an eye out for on the Antelopes are senior center Asbjorn Midtgaard and sophomore guard Jovan Blackshear Jr. Midtgaard leads the team in scoring with 14.0 points and rebounding with 9.9 per game. He’s also one of the best in the NCAAs, when it comes to field goal percentage at 70.6. Midtgaard is not a bad free-throw shooter either at 72 percent from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, Blackshear Jr. is averaging 11.9 points, 5.3 assists (team-high), and 3.7 rebounds per game.

Record: 17-6, 9-3 WAC
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 142
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency:74
ATS: 14-5
Over Total: 5-14
Odds to win NCAA Championship: N/A