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Valparaiso Crusaders vs. Illinois-Chicago Flames Pick-Odds-Prediction - 1/2/14

Illinois-Chicago Flames (5-9) at Valparaiso Crusaders (8-7)

College Basketball: Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 8:05 pm (Athletics-Recreation Center)

The Line: Valparaiso Crusaders -12 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN3.com

The Valparaiso Crusaders host the Illinois-Chicago Flames in the Horizon League opener for both squads.

Illinois-Chicago was looking to build up some momentum heading in to conference play but it hasn't worked out that way with the team dropping three in a row and five of seven. Not enough scoring has hurt although a 74-60 defeat at Illinois was a matter of running in to a good team. The Flames actually led by ten at the break before a 16 point second half decided their fate with a 19-5 deficit at the line being decisive. Kelsey Barlow carried the scoring burden with 21 points, five pulls and six helpers with Marc Brown and Jordan Harks adding 12 and eight points with Harks snagging nine rebounds.

Valparaiso Crusaders vs. Illinois-Chicago Flames Pick-Odds-Prediction - 1/2/14

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Valparaiso was a force in the Horizon a season ago but they lost more then their fair share of production and it has shown up in their record. The scoring and defense has been a little up and down which I guess is inconsistency for lack of a better word. The Crusaders have dropped back to back contests following a 73-62 loss to East Tennessee State in which the Buccaneers jumped to a 21 point lead after 20 minutes. ETSU hit ten bombs and added seven more free throws to out distance Valpo who hit at 41% from the floor while giving the ball away 22 times. LaVonte Dority led a trio of DD scorers with 14 points while Alec Peters tossed in 13 points and snagged nine boards followed by a ten point, 14 rebound effort from Vashil Fernandez.

Valpo can really shoot and score so if they get a lead UIC could be run out of the gym. For now I'll take the points which seem to be about right...

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