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Valparaiso vs. Southern Illinois - 1/6/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Southern Illinois Salukis (10-6) at Valparaiso Crusaders (9-7)

College Basketball: Saturday, January 6, 2018 at 4:00 pm (Athletics-Recreation Center)

The Line: Valparaiso Crusaders -3.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: The Valley; Fox Sports-Midwest; NBC Sports-Chicago; ESPN College Extra

The Southern Illinois Salukis will travel to the Athletics-Recreation Center to take on the Valparaiso Crusaders this Saturday afternoon in College Basketball action.

The Southern Illinois Salukis improved to 10-6 (2-1 MVC) on the season after defeating the Evansville Purple Aces, 65-63, this past Wednesday. In a tight, back and forth game, Southern Illinois was able to hold off the Purple Aces after Armon Fletcher free-throw gave the Salukis the lead with just :25 seconds left in regulation. Southern Illinois shot 50.0% from the field and 47.1% (8-17) from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Salukis was Tyler Smithpeters who had 13 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals in 29 minutes from off the bench. On the season, Southern Illinois is averaging 70.8 ppg on 46.3% shooting from the field. The Salukis are averaging 6.6 three-pointers per game on 34.8% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Southern Illinois has been led by Armon Fletcher (12.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.7 apg), Sean Lloyd Jr. (12.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.3 spg), Kavion Pippen (11.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.8 bpg), and Aaron Cook (10.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.1 apg, 1.1 spg). Defensively, Southern Illinois is holding their opponents to an average of 67.1 ppg on 41.6% shooting from the field. The Salukis have a rebound margin of -0.8 and average 4.1 blocks per game.

Valparaiso vs. Southern Illinois - 1/6/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Valparaiso Crusaders lost their 4th straight game and dropped to 9-7 (0-3 MVC) on the season after being defeated by the Bradley Braves, 80-71, this past Wednesday. Valparaiso struggled on the defensive end against the Braves and couldn’t fight back after Bradley took a 70-62 lead with 3:22 left in regulation. Valparaiso allowed Bradley to shoot 51.0% from the field and was outrebounded by the Braves by a 45-30 margin in the loss. Leading the way for the Crusaders was Tevonn Walker who had 25 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. On the season, Valparaiso is averaging 72.2 ppg on 44.5% shooting from the field. The Crusaders are averaging 6.4 three-pointers per game on 32.2% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Valparaiso has been led by Tevonn Walker (16.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.4 apg, 2.1 spg), Joe Burton (11.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg), Bakari Evelyn (10.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.1 spg), and Markus Golder (8.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.2 apg). Defensively, Valparaiso is holding their opponents to an average of 67.3 ppg on 39.6% shooting from the field. The Crusaders have a rebound margin of 4.6 and a turnover margin of -0.3. Valparaiso will be without Joe Burton who is out indefinitely due to a suspension.

The Salukis are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games and 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record. The Crusaders are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS loss and just 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games.

Southern Illinois has won 3 of their last 4 games and has been outstanding defensively during that stretch as the Salukis have held their opponents to an average of just 62.5 ppg. Valparaiso has a great player in Tevonn Walker, however, the Crusaders don’t have much offensive firepower outside of Walker and rank just 236th in scoring offense and 200th in FG%. Valparaiso has a decent defense, however, it has struggled since the beginning of conference play, allowing their opponents to average 73.3 ppg, and as I think the Salukis defense will give the Crusaders a bunch of problems on the offensive end, I’m taking Southern Illinois to cover with the points.  

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