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Submitted by Wayne Root on Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at 5:00 PM

The Iowa Hawkeyes have been one of the biggest surprises in college basketball this season. There’s still a lot of games left to be played of course, with Thursday’s road trip to highly regarded Maryland front and center. But, the early returns are suggesting that this team that began the season unranked has a legitimate shot to win the Big 10 and earn a #1 seed in the Big Dance.

If that happens…it’s hard to call a #1 seed a Cinderella story. From where this season began? Very few people even had the Hawkeyes on the radar.

What I like best about what I’ve seen already is that the Hawkeyes are rising up to meet challenges. They beat me this past Sunday when I took Purdue as a revenge-minded underdog. They had every reason to play flat that game and didn’t. In fact, Iowa is still undefeated in Big 10 play despite having a very tough early schedule.

*Right now, the Big 10 has six good teams, and 8 mediocre or bad teams

*Iowa has already faced quality opponents Michigan State and Purdue TWICE apiece!

*Iowa has also played Michigan

Iowa’s 7-0 record in the Big 10 is 5-0 vs. very good teams (including TWO revenge-minded quality opponents) and only 2-0 vs. relative cupcakes. This isn’t a case of a pretender going 7-0 or 6-1 against the easiest part of their schedule. Iowa did THIS against a tough part of their schedule.

Iowa (-2.5) beat Michigan State 83-70

Iowa (+8.5) won at Purdue 70-63

Iowa (+9) beat Michigan State 76-59

Iowa (-7) beat Michigan 82-71

Iowa (-3) beat Purdue 83-71

That’s three double digit covers before the line adjusted…two big road wins outright at high prices…and no sign of a letdown in a year when so many college teams are having trouble getting things going. Frankly, it’s the most impressive stretch of the young season. Even if MSU and Purdue turn out to be overrated…Iowa still beat them in their gyms by 7 and 17 points!

We have such an interesting handicapping dynamic in place for this Maryland game Thursday. Maryland began the season as consensus best in the league. Now it’s obviously Iowa. Which team will come in with the “underdog mentality?” Iowa is still playing like they have something to prove…which is something THE KING OF UPSETS loves to see! But, Maryland now knows they have work to do if they want to win the conference. The Terps just lost a high profile TV game Saturday night at Michigan State. They want to make a statement too.

I obviously can’t tell you who I’m picking in this game. That’s not fair to my paying clients. And, by game day, it could turn out this game should be a pass anyway because there are better betting options on the board. I still wanted this game on your radar because it’s time for you to be thinking about potential Cinderella stories for the Dance.

*Iowa isn’t the only “surprise” team across the national landscape making a great run in the first half of conference play.

*There are a slew of teams who were supposed to be fantastic who have turned out not to be. This has opened the door for multiple Cinderella’s. It could turn out that the whole Sweet 16 this year is nothing but Cinderella’s! So many teams will have a “nobody believed in us” mindset this March.

*Make it your goal this week to get ahead of the curve in finding these surprise teams. Many are announcing themselves on recent scoreboards. I’m not going to give you any bigger hints than that!

I’m very excited about how these next few weeks are shaping up in basketball. You can purchase my daily BEST BETS every day right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about which of my services best suits your individual needs, please talk to one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155.

See you again this weekend to talk more basketball. It’s been awhile since I checked in on my old stomping grounds in the Big East. Favored Villanova was just upset this past Sunday. Look for some Big East notes the next time we’re together. I’ll talk about SHOCKER potential in the Super Bowl with underdog Denver facing favored Carolina a few days before the big game. I hope you’re making plans to spend Super Bowl Weekend out here in Las Vegas!

I’m the only man in the sports betting industry with a star on the Walk of Fame here in town. That tells you what you need to know when it comes to selecting a handicapper. Join me on THE ROAD TO RICHES! It’s time for you to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!

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