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IUPUI Jaguars vs. Drake Bulldogs - 12/29/13

Drake Bulldogs (8-3) at IUPUI Jaguars (4-11)

College Basketball: Sunday, December 29, 2013 at 2:00 pm (IUPUI Gymnasium)

The Line: IUPUI Jaguars +4.5 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds

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The Drake Bulldogs and IUPUI Jaguars square off in a Sunday afternoon tilt at “The Jungle” (IUPUI Gymnasium) in Indianapolis.

The Bulldogs can flex their muscles with an 8-3 start to the campaign. They are particularly strong at home, but have been decent at 4-2 away from their gym. First year head coach Ray Giacoletti seems like a nice suit in Des Moines and has the guys playing well even with the loss of perhaps their most valuable player, Gary Ricks Jr. The slack has been taken up first and foremost by senior Ricard Carter (nearly 20 ppg), but there is plenty of scoring from the other 4 starters and the 5 off the bench who see 10+ minutes per game. The Bulldogs most recent test was in a dogfight with Western Michigan at home, but the Bulldogs prevailed with a 3-point victory, aided by solid free shooting down the stretch. The team has excelled at the line this season (75%).

IUPUI Jaguars vs. Drake Bulldogs - 12/29/13

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The IUPUI Jaguars have been down the past few seasons and their 4-11 start is not a sign that things are improving quickly. They do own a .500 record at home (3-3), and I think they can at least keep this one relatively close. Junior Ian Chiles leads the Jags with 17.9 points per game, while 5 other teammates average between 6 to 12 points. They also are a good free throw shooting team (74%), but have a -4.3 rebounding disadvantage vs. opponents – something that Drake may be able to take advantage of on Sunday. Among their close losses are: @ Evansville (by 6), @ Northwestern (by 2), @ SE Missouri St (by 4), and at home to Nicholls St (by 6).

Drake is a better defensive team, so they should be able to lock down on IUPUI’s top 3 scorers, which puts the pressure on the supporting cast. Meanwhile Drake has a nice balance of scoring, and I believe that is the big difference between these teams. While I believe IUPUI will be ready for this game, Drake is going in the right direction and the momentum will be hard to stop.

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Drake -4.5

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