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Southern Illinois Salukis vs. Northern Iowa Panthers - 1/14/14

Northern Iowa Panthers (9-7) at Southern Illinois Salukis (5-12)

College Basketball: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8:05 pm (SIU Arena)

The Line: Southern Illinois Salukis +5.5 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds

TV: None

The Southern Illinois Salukis host the Northern Iowa Panthers in an MVC battle on Tuesday night at SIU Arena in Carbondale, Illinois.

The Salukis were taken down at home against a struggling Evansville team on Saturday night. They led by 6 at the break, but hit a lull on the offensive end while allowing the Aces to hit their stride and connect in the 2nd half. It was not leading scorer and best all-around player Desmar Jackson’s best night, as he struggled with just 13 points on 19 shot attempts. Some other Salukis did step up that had been silent such as Mike Balogun with 15 points. With such an inexperienced team and inconsistent from game to game, finishing out of the cellar in the conference would be somewhat of an accomplishment. Not everything should be frowned upon this season, as they are shooting 46% from the floor. Carrying a 3-4 home record into this contest, they have some incentive to get to .500 at home and look to focus on their nice play in the first half of the last game. Coach Barry Hinson has lacked patience in his youngsters, who usually respond after a poor game.

Southern Illinois Salukis vs. Northern Iowa Panthers - 1/14/14

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Northern Iowa has seemed to found its mojo of late and pulled away in their last home game against a solid Drake team. They connected on 50% of their field goals and hit 9 three pointers to continue their solid 3-point shooting of late. Five Panthers tallied double digits in scoring – Deon Mitchell led the charge with 17 points  and 5 assists. The Panthers are led by the trio of juniors, Deon Mitchell (13 ppg), Seth Tuttle (13 ppg), and Nate Buss (10 ppg). The rebounding has improved lately as well to complement their normally reliable defense. Ben Jacobsen has his Panther teams playing well at this time of the year and they will be a threat to finish in the top 3 teams in the Valley. They are playing their best hoops of the year right now, and these are the types of games that they have won to allow themselves a chance at the conference title.

This one is tough to call as Southern Illinois is another tough team to predict from this conference, along with Bradley and Loyola. If I had to choose one side in this, I’d go with SIU to cover, but the Panthers should win and I don’t see it coming down to the last shot.

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