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Valparaiso vs. Illinois-Chicago - 1/2/16 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Illinois-Chicago Flames (2-9) at Valparaiso Crusaders (10-3)

College Basketball: Saturday, January 2, 2016 at 2:00 pm (Athletics-Recreation Center)

The Line: Valparaiso Crusaders -26.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: American Sports Network, ESPN 3

The UIC Flames will travel to the Athletics-Recreation Center to take on the Valparaiso Crusaders this Saturday afternoon in College Basketball action.

The UIC Flames dropped to 2-9 (0-0 Horizon) on the season after being defeated by the Northern Illinois Huskies, 70-65, this past Tuesday. UIC struggled offensively in the first half and although they made a strong run in the 2nd half, the Flames couldn’t overcome their 33-23 halftime deficit. UIC shot 37.7% from the field and committed 17 turnovers in the loss. The Flames allowed the Huskies to shoot 40.0% from the field and 44.4% (8-18) from beyond the arc. Leading the way for UIC was Dikembe Dixson who had 28 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. On the season, UIC has been led by Dikembe Dixson (14.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.7 apg), Dominique Matthews (9.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.1 apg), and Tai Odiase (9.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.2 bpg). Offensively, UIC is averaging 76.4 ppg on 46.7% shooting from the field and 39.1% shooting form three-point range. The Flames average 9.6 three-pointers per game and have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.01. Defensively, UIC is holding their opponents to an average of 68.4 ppg on 41.4% shooting from the field. The Flames have a rebound margin of 5.1 and a turnover margin of -1.6.

Valparaiso vs. Illinois-Chicago - 1/2/16 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Valparaiso Crusaders had their four game winning streak snapped and dropped to 10-3 (0-0 Horizon) on the season after being defeated by the Belmont Bruins, 85-81, this past Monday. Valparaiso struggled defensively in the contest and although they cut the Belmont lead to just a point with 19 seconds left, couldn’t get any closer as the Bruins were able to hit their FT’s down the stretch. Valparaiso shot 45.0% from the field and 40.9% (9-22) from beyond the arc in the loss. The Crusaders allowed the Bruins to shoot 50.0% from the field and 33.3% (8-24) from beyond the arc. Leading the way for Valparaiso was Keith Carter who had 16 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. On the season, Valparaiso has been led by Alec Peters (16.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg), Tevonn Walker (12.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.4 apg), and Keith Carter (9.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.8 spg). Offensively, Valparaiso is averaging 72.2 ppg on 43.2% shooting from the field and 34.6% shooting from three-point range. The Crusaders average 7.5 three-pointers per game and has an assist/turnover ratio of 1.04. Defensively, Valparaiso is holding their opponents to an average of 58.5 ppg on 37.6% shooting from the field. The Crusaders have a rebound margin of 5.5 and a turnover margin of 2.8.

The Flames are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. Horizon League opponents however, just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games overall. The Crusaders are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 vs. Horizon League opponents.

UIC has struggled a bit under new head coach Steve McClain but looked decent in their recent game against Northern Illinois. Valparaiso struggled defensively against Belmont but still is one of the best defensive teams in the country as they rank 5th in the country in scoring defense. UIC can struggle on the offensive end however, if they can limit their turnovers I think they can cover against Valparaiso with this many points. Take UIC and the points. 

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UIC Flames +26.5

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