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Northern Iowa vs. Southern Illinois - 12/28/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Southern Illinois Salukis (8-5) at Northern Iowa Panthers (8-4)

College Basketball: Thursday, December 28, 2017 at 8:00 pm (McLeod Center)

The Line: Northern Iowa Panthers -9.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN3

We have some Missouri Valley conference action on the hardwood, as the Southern Illinois Salukis face off against the Northern Iowa Panthers in a college basketball matchup on Thursday night.

The Southern Illinois Salukis will look to keep some momentum going after posting wins in 4 of their last 5 games, including a 74-64 triumph over Duquesne last time out. Sean Lloyd Jr. led the team with 19 points on 5 of 8 shooting with a team-high 7 rebounds and a pair of steals, while Aaron Cook and Armon Fletcher tied for 2nd with 12 points apiece. Cook added a team-high 6 assists while Fletcher shot 3 of 10 from the field. Kavion Pippen added 10 points and 4 blocks to round out the scoring in double figures for the Salukis in the win. Flether leads the team in scoring with 13.1 points per game while Pippen leads the team in rebounding with 5.3 boards per game and Cook is the team’s leading assist man, dishing out 3 assists per game this season. As a team, Southern Illinois is scoring 72.7 points per game on 46.9% shooting from the field, 34.3% from behind the arc and 74.7% from the foul line this season. 

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Northern Iowa vs. Southern Illinois - 12/28/17 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Northern Iowa Panthers will look to rebound from back-to-back losses, including a 77-67 setback to Xavier in their last outing. Bennett Koch was the lone Panther to finish in double figures scoring with 26 points on 8 of 12 shooting with a 10 of 12 mark from the foul line. Tywhon Pickford led the team with 5 rebounds and Wyatt Lohaus dished out 5 assists while scoring 9 points as well. Juwan McCloud also contributed a pair of steals in the losing effort for UNI. Koch leads the team in scoring with an average of 15.1 points per game this season, while McCloud leads the team in assists with 2.3 per game and Pickford leads the team in rebounding with 9.2 boards per game this season. As a team, Northern Iowa is scoring 68.5 points per game on 43% shooting from the field, 36.1% from behind the arc and 72.3% from the foul line this season.

Southern Illinois is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 conference matchups and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games while the under is 4-1 in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record. Northern Iowa is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 conference matchups and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall while the under is 4-0 in their last 4 games against a team with a winning record. Southern Illinois is 0-3-1 ATS in the last 4 meetings between these two teams.

Southern Illinois has the deeper of the two teams here in my opinion, but the Panthers play some solid defense, including sitting in the top-10 in fewest points per game allowed this season with just under 61 per game. The Salukis also haven’t covered a spread on the road so far this season, and considering that the home team has had the bulk of the success ATS in this matchup and that Southern Illinois hasn’t had any success to speak of over the last couple of years against the Panthers, I’ll back Northern Iowa to win and cover here.

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