Wichita State vs. Northern Iowa - 3/5/16 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Northern Iowa Panthers (20-12) at Wichita State Shockers
College Basketball: Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 3:30 pm (Scottrade Center)
The Line: Wichita State Shockers -9.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
TV: CBS Sports Network
The Northern Iowa Panthers and Wichita State Shockers will face off in the semifinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament at the Scottrade Center this Saturday afternoon.
The 4-seed Northern Iowa Panthers had to hang on late after blowing a 12-point 2nd half lead to defeat the 5-seed Southern Illinois Salukis, 66-60, on Friday night. Southern Illinois got a lay-up by Anthony Beane with 0:21 seconds left in the game to pull within two points, however, the Panthers made their final four FT’s to be able to secure the win. Northern Iowa shot 47.7% from the field and won the turnover battle by an 18-11 margin in the victory. The Panthers held the Salukis to 42.6% shooting from the field and 16.7% (3-18) from three-point range. Leading the way for Northern Iowa was Jeremy Morgan who had 18 points, 4 rebounds, 5 steals, 1 assist, and a block. On the season, the Panthers have been led by Wes Washpun (14.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 5.4 apg, 1.2 spg), Matt Bohannon (12.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.1 apg), and Paul Jesperson (11.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.0 apg). Offensively, Northern Iowa is averaging 68.8 ppg on 46.0% shooting from the field and 38.1% shooting from beyond the arc. The Panthers average 8.4 three-pointers per game and have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.25. Defensively, Northern Iowa is holding their opponents to an average of 63.6 ppg on 42.7% shooting. The Panthers have a rebound margin of -3.3 and a turnover margin of 1.9.
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The 1-seed Wichita St. Shockers got all they could handle from the Loyola (CHI) Ramblers but was able to advance after using a late run to get a 66-58 victory. Wichita St. had a 30-21 halftime lead but allowed Loyola (CHI) to go on a 27-11 run to start the 2nd half to take a 48-41 lead, but was able to answer with a late 11-0 run to retake the lead and secure the win. Wichita St. shot 44.4% from the field and 44.4% (8-18) from beyond the arc. The Shockers held the Ramblers to 39.3% from the field and outrebounded Loyola (CHI) by a 37-32 margin. Leading the way for Wichita St. was Ron Baker who had 25 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. On the season, the Shockers have been led by Ron Baker (13.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.6 spg), Fred VanVleet (12.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 5.8 apg, 1.7 spg), and Anton Grady (7.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg). Offensively, Wichita St. is averaging 74.2 ppg on 43.8% shooting from the field and 33.5% shooting from beyond the arc. The Shockers average 7.5 three-pointers per game and have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.48. Defensively, Wichita St. is holding their opponents to an average of 59.4 ppg on 38.5% shooting. The Shockers have a rebound margin of 4.4 and have a turnover margin of 6.0.
The Panthers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Saturday games and 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall. The Shockers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS loss and 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games overall.
Both Northern Iowa and Wichita St. had tough opening matchups in the MVC tournament however, used their experience down the stretch to get victories and advance. During the regular season the Shockers and Panthers split their regular season as Wichita St. blew out Northern Iowa on the road by a 74-55 margin and the Panthers snapped the Shockers 43-game home winning streak with a 53-50 victory. Northern Iowa has a great defense that ranks 20th in the country in scoring defense however, at times have struggled offensively. Wichita St. is the top team in the country in scoring defense and turnover margin. Wichita St. is not guaranteed an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament and after the scare they received against Loyola (CHI), I think they bring their best game in this one and get the victory. The line has yet to be realized but as long as it’s around 5-7 points, I’m going take the Shockers.
Update (1:43 EST) - The line was a bit higher than I expected and as it's almost at double-digits....I think I'm going to go with Northern Iowa as they are almost getting double-digit points.