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Auburn vs. Iowa picks, predictions: Who wins NCAA Tournament first-round game?

By Jeremy Cluff, Arizona Republic,


No. 9 seed Auburn and No. 8 seed Iowa face off on Thursday in an NCAA Tournament first-round game .

The game is scheduled for 3:50 p.m. MST and can be seen on TNT.

Who will win the game?

Check out these picks and predictions for the contest.

Auburn is a 1.5-point favorite in the game, according to Tipico Sportsbook .

Sports Chat Place : Take Iowa with the points vs. Auburn

Chris Ruffolo writes: "I’m backing Iowa here. I just trust the Hawkeyes and their ability to simply outscore any opponent they step into the ring with. Auburn’s not a terrible team by any stretch, but they’ve been inconsistent at times offensively and I just think that Iowa takes advantage and in a pick ‘em, I have to roll with Iowa here."

Sporting News : Iowa 80, Auburn 77

Jovan Alford writes: "We don't envision a blowout on either side, as Thursday's game will come down to the final five minutes in the second half. Auburn knows how to play in close games, but it hasn't been able to capture the win. Meanwhile, Iowa is a good regular-season team but can't get its act together in the NCAA tournament. However, we like the Hawkeyes to come away with a win, as they are more balanced offensively and have a dynamic scorer in Murray."

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FanDuel : Iowa 80, Auburn 77

Larry Rupp writes: "Iowa does enter this game with a clear edge at the free throw line, though. The Hawkeyes average 20.4 free throw attempts per game (No. 67 in NCAA) as they constantly draw contact. Auburn has been undisciplined on defense, giving up 22.1 opponent free throws per contest (No. 338 in NCAA). Give me the Hawkeyes in a game that is likely decided in the final few minutes on Thursday night."

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Fansided : Go with Auburn to beat Iowa

Josh Yourish writes: "Now, pick apart this Iowa defense. Oh wait, I don’t have to because every team in the Big 10 already did. They’re 302nd in points allowed per game, 74.5, 252nd in defensive efficiency, 349th in opponent field goal percentage, and the cherry on top, 325th in opponent 3-point shooting. This team is a disaster on that end, but it could shoot the lights out and win this one 88-86. Well, actually Auburn is sixth in opponent 3-point percentage, 28.8, so enjoy the trip back to Iowa City, Fran. This my best bet, lock, or whatever you want to call it for the first round. I love the Tigers."

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Sportsbook Wire : Auburn 74, Iowa 73

It writes: "Auburn has compiled a 15-16-1 record against the spread this season. Iowa has won 17 games against the spread this season, while failing to cover or pushing 15 times."

Reach Jeremy Cluff at . Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Auburn vs. Iowa picks, predictions: Who wins NCAA Tournament first-round game?

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