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Valparaiso Crusaders vs. Wisc-Milwaukee Panthers - 1/18/14

Wisc-Milwaukee Panthers (13-6) at Valparaiso Crusaders (10-9)

College Basketball: Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm (Athletics-Recreation Center)

The Line: Valparaiso Crusaders -6.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds


In an interesting Horizon League matchup, the 13-6 Wisc-Milwaukee Panthers will square off against the 10-9 Valparaiso Crusaders. Valparaiso has won the last three meetings straight up and also covered the spread in those meetings.

This season, the Crusaders may be even better than those past teams. They’re averaging 78 points per game thanks to shooting 39 percent from three and 48.2 percent from the field. Senior guard LaVonte Dority does most of the heavy scoring, as he’s averaging 15.4 points per game and has scored 20 points in two of his last three games. Before picking a side, it’s important that you check the health of Jordan Coleman. The third-leading scorer for the Crusaders missed the last game with a concussion.

Valparaiso Crusaders vs. Wisc-Milwaukee Panthers - 1/18/14

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

And while Valparaiso’s record isn’t spectacular, some of those losses came from Illinois, St. Louis and UCF.

Wisc-Milwaukee does a good job of playing team basketball, averaging 14 assists per game and shooting 45 percent from the field. It also shoots 74.4 percent from the charity stripe. It’s a team that asks a lot of its starters, especially sophomore forward Matt Tiby, who leads the team in points (14.2) and rebounds (6.6). He’s a consistent player who uses his 6’8” frame nicely and knows how to get to the free throw line.

Overall, this is a game that is tough to cap considering both teams are playing extremely well. However, Wisc-Milwaukee is 8-3 against the spread on the road and does a great job of defending the three ball. Teams are only shooting 29.3 percent from downtown against the Panthers. Meanwhile, Valparaiso is allowing teams to jack it up 37.5 percent of the time.

I think this game comes down to the final minutes, which forces me to side with the underdog and the points. 

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