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Milwaukee vs. Northern Kentucky - 3/5/16 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Northern Kentucky Norse (9-20) at Wisc-Milwaukee Panthers (19-12)

College Basketball: Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 2:30 pm (Joe Louis Arena)

The Line: Wisc-Milwaukee Panthers -7.5 -- Over/Under: 145.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN 3

The Northern Kentucky Norse and Milwaukee Panthers will square off in the 1st round of the Horizon League Men’s Champions at Joe Louis Arena this Saturday afternoon.

The Northern Kentucky lost 8 of their last 9 games of the season to finished the regular season with a 9-20 record and 5-13 conference record, earning the Norse the 8-seed in their first Horizon League Tournament. The Norse weren’t expected to do much in their first season in the Horizon and although they only won five conference games, they did upset the 2-seed Oakland Golden Grizzlies on the road, 90-73, in mid-January. On the season, Northern Kentucky was led by Jalen Billups (12.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.3 bpg), Tyler White (11.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.5 apg), and Lavone Holland II (10.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.1 apg). Offensively, Northern Kentucky is averaging 70.6 ppg on the season however, during their current six game losing streak, the Norse are only averaging 65.7 ppg. The Norse are shooting 43.9% from the field and 35.3% from beyond the arc on the year. Defensively, Northern Kentucky is allowing their opponents to average 74.0 ppg on 43.5% shooting from the field and 35.6% shooting from beyond the arc.

Milwaukee vs. Northern Kentucky - 3/5/16 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Panthers finished the season with a 19-12 record and come into the conference tournament as the 5-seed after finishing conference play with a 10-8 record. Milwaukee, who was banned form post-season play last year, finished the year strong winning 3 of their last 4 games and had an outstanding victory at Wisconsin early in the season. On the season, Milwaukee was led by Matt Tiby who average 15.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg, and 2.0 apg. Also contributing for the Panthers was Akeem Springs (13.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.7 apg), Jordan Johnson (12.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 8.2 apg), and Austin Arians (11.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.3 apg). Offensively, Milwaukee is averaging 79.7 ppg on 45.8% shooting from the field and 36.5% from beyond the arc. The Panthers average 9.3 three-pointers per game and have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.58. Defensively, Milwaukee is allowing their opponents to average 72.6 ppg on 45.0% shooting. The Panthers have a rebound margin of 2.4 and a turnover margin of 0.1.

The Norse are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games. The Panthers are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall and 9-4-2 ATS in their last 15 games following a ATS loss.

Northern Kentucky and Milwaukee split their regular season series as Northern Kentucky won a close, 75-71, battle in early February while Milwaukee won a 76-67 contest in early January. Northern Kentucky struggled away from home this season as they posted a 2-13 record and allowed their opponents to average almost 80 ppg. Milwaukee has been decent on the road this season posting a 7-7 record with wins against Wisconsin, Oakland, and Minnesota. Northern Kentucky showed they can be competitive in the Horizon during their 1st season however, Milwaukee should have plenty of motivation to play well in the conference tournament after being ineligible for it last year, and I think the Panthers continue their recent solid play and cover this large spread. Take Milwaukee to cover. 

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Milwaukee Panthers -7.5

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