UIC Flames (19-15) at Liberty Flames (22-14)
College Basketball: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 7:00 pm (Vines Center)
The Line: Liberty Flames -6 -- Over/Under: 142.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
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The UIC Flames and Liberty Flames will square off at the Vines Center this Wednesday night in Semifinal action of the CIT Tournament.
The UIC Flames improved to 19-15 on the season and keep their postseason alive after defeating the Austin Peay Governors, 83-81, this past Wednesday. UIC trailed by a 14-point margin early in the 2nd half however, was able to fight back into the game with an 11-0 run and held on late after a Tai Odiase dunk gave the Flames an 80-76 lead with 1:11 left in regulation. UIC shot 45.0% from the field and 43.5% (10-23) from beyond the arc while holding Austin Peay to just 12.5% (2-16) from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Flames was Tarkus Ferguson who had 21 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal. On the season, UIC is averaging 75.6 ppg on 45.3% shooting from the field. The Flames are averaging 6.8 three-pointers per game on 35.0% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, UIC has been led by Dikembe Dixson (14.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.3 spg), Marcus Ottey (13.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.8 apg), Tarkus Ferguson (10.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 5.2 apg, 1.1 spg), and Tai Odiase (9.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.2 bpg). Defensively, UIC is allowing their opponents to average 72.6 ppg on 40.7% shooting from the field. The Flames have a rebound margin of 1.4 and a turnover margin of -2.3.
The Liberty Flames improved to 22-14 on the season and advanced to the semifinals by using a big 2nd half to defeat the Central Michigan Chippewas, 84-74, this past Saturday. Liberty closed the 1st half on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 39-all at halftime and pulled away from Central Michigan midway through the 2nd half after an 11-0 Flames run gave Liberty a 64-53 lead with 9:18 left in regulation. Liberty shot 56.1% from the field and 44.0% (12-25) from beyond the arc in the victory. Leading the way for the Flames was Scottie James who had 20 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, and an assist. On the season, Liberty is averaging 71.0 ppg on 46.3% shooting from the field. The Flames are averaging 8.1 three-pointers per game on 37.4% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Liberty has been led by Scottie James (13.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.1 apg), Lovell Cabbil (11.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.3 spg), Ryan Kemrite (10.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg), and Georgie Pacheco-Ortiz (10.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.6 apg). Defensively, Liberty is holding their opponents to an average of 63.3 ppg on 41.4% shooting from the field. The Flames have a rebound margin of 4.1 and a turnover margin of 0.3.
UIC 8-0 ATS in their last 8 road games and 4-1 ATS in thier last 5 non-conference games. Liberty is 4-0 ATS in thier last 4 home games and 9-4 ATS in thier last 13 non-conference games.
UIC has had a nice season as the Flames will finished this season with their first winning record since the 2012-13 season and looks poised to be one of the better contenders in the Horizon League next year. UIC has been solid on both ends of the court as the Flames currently rank 121st in scoring offense, 22nd in defensive FG%, and 2nd in blocks per game. Liberty has won 5 of their last 6 games and has been led by their defense this season which currently ranks 9th in scoring defense, 45th in defensive FG%, and 52nd in rebound margin. Liberty will try to slow down the pace of this game, however, UIC has done a good job of putting points up on the board this season and as I think tat Dikembe Dixson and Tarkus Ferguson will give the Flames some trouble, I’m taking UIC and the points in this one.