UIC Flames (20-15) at Northern Colorado Bears (25-12)
College Basketball: Friday, March 30, 2018 at 7:00 pm (Butler-Hancock Hall)
The Line: Northern Colorado Bears -9 -- Over/Under: Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
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The UIC Flames and Northern Colorado Bears will square off at Bank of Colorado Arena this Friday night in the Championship Game of the CIT Tournament.
The UIC Flames improved to 20-15 on the season and easily defeated the Liberty Flames by a 67-51 this past Wednesday night behind one of their best defensive performances of the season. UIC led by a 28-24 margin at halftime and pulled away in the 2nd half after an 11-0 run gave UIC a 56-37 lead with just 6:20 left in regulation. UIC shot 44.6% from the field while holding Liberty to just 33.3% shooting from the field and 25.0% (5-20) from beyond the arc in the win. Leading the way for the Flames was Tarkus Ferguson who had 16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. 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, 1.9 apg), Tarkus Ferguson (10.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.2 spg), and Tai Odiase (9.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.1 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 Northern Colorado Bears (25-12) continued their dominant play in the CIT Tournament and had little trouble advancing to the Championship Game after defeating the Sam Houston State Bearkats, 99-80, this past Wednesday night. Northern Colorado led by a 42-39 margin at halftime and had no trouble securing the victory after taking a 91-75 lead with 4:11 left in regulation. Northern Colorado shot 59.0% from the field and 56.7% (17-30) from beyond the arc in the win. Leading the way for the Bears was Andre Spight who had 40 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. On the season, Northern Colorado is averaging 80.8 ppg on 46.8% shooting from the field. The Bears are averaging 8.7 three-pointers per game on 35.8% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensviely, Northern Colorado has been led by Andre Spight (22.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.6 apg, 1.2 spg), Jordan Davis (16.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.2 apg), Jalen Sanders (9.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.4 bpg), and Jonah Radebaugh (8.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.0 spg). Defensively, Northern Colorado is allowing their opponents to average 72.8 ppg on 44.6% shooting from the field. The Bears have a rebound margin of 2.0 and a turnover margin of 0.9.
The Flames are 8-0 ATS in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games. The Bears are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 home games and 23-8-1 ATS in their last 32 games overall.
UIC’s head coach Steve McClain has done a great job turning around the UIC program this season and has the Flames poised to be a legitimate contender next season in the Horizon League. UIC has been solid on both sides of the ball this season as they come into this game ranked 121st in scoring offense, 22nd in defensive FG%, and 2nd in blocks per game. Northern Colorado, has also had an impressive turnaround and been led by their outstanding duo of Jordan Davis and Andre Spight this season. The Bears have been led by their offense that ranks 37th in scoring offense and 63rd in FG%. Northern Colorado has had an outstanding season, however, UIC has played outstanding as of late and as I think their starting five provides a bit more depth and that their size will at least slow down the Northern Colorado offense a bit, I’m taking UIC to cover with the points in this one.