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Illinois State vs. Wisc-Green Bay - NIT Tournament - 3/18/15 Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Wisc-Green Bay Phoenix (24-8) at Illinois State Redbirds (21-12)

College Basketball: Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 8:00 pm (Redbird Arena)

The Line: Illinois State Redbirds -3 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN U

The Green Bay Phoenix and Illinois State Redbirds will face off at Redbird Arena this Wednesday night in the 1st round of the NIT.

The Green Bay Phoenix finished the season with a 24-8 (12-4 Horizon) record after falling to the Valparaiso Crusaders 54-44, in the finals of the Horizon League Championship. The Phoenix really struggled form the floor in the loss as they shot just 30.2% from the field and 13.3% from beyond the arc while being outscored by the Crusaders by a 35-19 margin in the second half. Green Bay is ranked 56th in the RPI Standings and 70th in the BPI Standings. On the season, the Phoenix have been led by Keifer Sykes (18.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.7 spg) and Greg Mays (12.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg). Green Bay is averaging 68.6 ppg (ranked 140th) on 46.1% shooting (ranked 61st). The Phoenix average 14.1 apg (ranked 70th) and commit 11.8 turnovers per game (ranked 96th). Defensively, Green Bay is holding their opponents to an average of 60.5 ppg (ranked 41st) on 40.7% shooting (ranked 77th). The Phoenix average 7.4 spg (ranked 54th) and 5.0 bpg (ranked 30th).

Illinois State vs. Wisc-Green Bay - NIT Tournament - 3/18/15 Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Illinois State Redbirds finished the season with a 21-12 (11-7 MVC) after losing the 11th-ranked Northern Iowa Panther 69-60 in the finals of the MVC Tournament. The Red Birds led at halftime by 14 points however, allowed the Panthers to score 47 points in the second half and couldn’t hang on to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament. Illinois State is ranked 66th in the RPI Standings and 65th in the BPI Standings. On the season, the Redbirds have been led by Daishon Knight (14.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.5 apg) and DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell (12.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.0 spg). Illinois State is averaging 68.6 ppg (ranked 140th) on 46.1% shooting (ranked 61st). The Redbirds average 14.1 apg (ranked 70th) and commit 11.8 turnovers per game (ranked 96th). Defensively, Illinois State is holding their opponents to an average of 60.5 ppg (ranked 41st) on 40.7% shooting (ranked 77th). The Redbirds pull down 35.59 total rpg (ranked 105th) and have a turnover margin of 1.8 (ranked 55th).

The Phoenix are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games however, are 0-4 in their last 4 road games. The Redbirds are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games and 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games vs. the Horizon League.

Both Green Bay and Illinois State blew big leads in the 2nd half of their conference tournaments and will now have to set their eyes on the NIT Championship. Green Bay has the Horizon League player of the year in Keifer Sykes and very tough defensive to score on. Illinois State also is very good defensively and has played really well as of late winning 6 of their last 7 games. Although I like this Green Bay team, I think Valparaiso provided to blue-print on how to defeat Green-Bay in which they packed in their defensive and forced Keifer Sykes and Green Bay to beat them from outside. I think Illinois State will be able to score enough against the tough Phoenix defense and that they cover the spread in this one. Take Illinois State to cover.  

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Illinois State Redbirds -3.0

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