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Northern Illinois vs. Green Bay - 11/14/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Wisconsin-Green Bay Phoenix (0-0) at Northern Illinois Huskies (0-0)

College Basketball: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm (NIU Convocation Center)

The Line: Northern Illinois Huskies -5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN3

We have some non-conference action on the hardwood between the Horizon League and the MAC as the Green Bay Phoenix square off against the Northern Illinois Huskies on Tuesday night.

The Green Bay Phoenix come into this season looking to turn things around after finishing the year 18-14 with a 12-6 conference record, falling to Illinois-Chicago in the quarterfinals or the Horizon league tournament. The challenge for head coach Linc Darner in his 3rd season at the helm of the Phoenix, will be replacing 6 of his top 7 scorers, including leading scorer Charles Cooper (13.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg) who graduated, and 2nd leading scorer and top rebounder Kerem Kanter (11.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg) who transferred to Xavier. Luckily for Darner, he retains the services of Khalil Small, who averaged 10.1 points per game and 5.1 rebounds last season for Green Bay, while also bringing in a pair of JuCo transfers in Sukhjot Bains and TJ Parham. Parham averaged 15.4 ppg for Wabash Valley College in Illinois, while Bains averaged 13.4 points and 8 boards per game at Northwest College in Wyoming. Green Bay will be hoping that some of those pieces can help improve an offense that finished near the bottom of D-I in terms of scoring with 66.8 points per game (309th) on 40.4% shooting from the field (329th), 33% from behind the arc and 67.5% from the foul line. Defensively, Green Bay gave up 71.8 points per game on 44.9% shooting from the field and 35.3% from behind the 3-point line.

Northern Illinois vs. Green Bay - 11/14/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Northern Illinois Huskies will also be looking for a turnaround season after finishing 2016-17 with a 15-17 record, including 7-11 in MAC play finishing as the #9 seed in the conference tournament, falling in the first round to Eastern Michigan in the process. The downside to this season will be that the Huskies lost leading scorer and rebounder Marin Maric (14.4 ppg, 8.4 rpg) as a grad transfer to DePaul, Aaric Armstead who was 4th in scoring and 2nd in rebounds and Dontel Highsmith who averaged almost 7 points per game and was 2nd in assists. The Huskies also lost leading assist man Laytwan Porter after averaging 2.2 dimes per game last season. The plus is that they still have pieces like Levi Bradley, Eugene German and Jaylen Key to lead the charge after combining for 25.8 points, 9.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game last season. Also joining the fray will be Owen Hamilton, a 7-foot freshman who averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds per game in his senior year in high school. As a team, the Huskies scored 72.2 points per game on 43.8% shooting from the field, 31.2% from behind the 3-point line and 67.7% from the foul line last year. Defensively, the Huskies allowed 70.7 points per game on 43.5% shooting from the field and 34.7% from behind the arc.

We will update with trends when/if they become available.

I think what this boils down to in both team’s season openers is who lost more and who has more talent coming back. It’s safe to say that Green Bay lost more coming into this season, and while the Phoenix have a couple of solid JuCo transfers coming in, I’m excited with what I’ve seen from the Huskies lineup, so I’ll lay the points with Northern Illinois.

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