Northern Iowa Panthers (13-14) at Illinois State Redbirds (14-13)
|Date & Time||Saturday February 17, 2018, 6:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Illinois State Redbirds -1 -- Over/Under:
The Northern Iowa Panthers will travel to Redbird Arena to take on the Illinois State Redbirds this Saturday night in College Basketball action.
The Northern Iowa Panthers improved to 13-14 (5-10 MVC) on the season after defeating the Evansville Purple Aces, 47-41, this past Tuesday. Northern Iowa struggled on the offensive end however, was outstanding defensively and held off a late Purple Aces charge after the Panthers took a 42-27 lead midway through the 2nd half. Northern Iowa held Evansville to just 36.7% shooting from the field, 29.4% (5-17) from beyond the arc and prevented Evansville from getting to the FT-line throughout the entire game. Leading the way for the Panthers was Bennett Koch who had 10 points, 9 rebounds, and a steal. On the season, Northern Iowa is averaging 64.1 ppg on 41.3% shooting from the field. The Panthers are averaging 7.4 three-pointers per game on 33.6% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Northern Iowa has been led by Bennett Koch (12.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg), Tywhon Pickford (9.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.4 apg), Klint Carlson (9.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.6 apg), and Wyatt Lohaus (9.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 1.4 apg). Defensively, Northern Iowa is holding their opponents to an average of 62.5 ppg on 41.3% shooting from the field. The Panthers have a rebound margin of 1.3 and a turnover margin of -0.3.
The Illinois State Redbirds lost their 2nd straight game and dropped to 14-13 (8-7 MVC) on the season after being defeated by the Bradley Braves, 70-58, this past Wednesday. Illinois State struggled on the offensive end for the 2nd consecutive game and couldn’t fight back after Bradley took a 49-32 lead with 12:28 left in regulation. Illinois State shot just 32.1% from the field and 19.4% (6-31) from beyond the arc in the loss. Leading the way for the Redbirds was Milik Yarbrough who had 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. On the season, Illinois State is averaging 71.6 ppg on 42.5% shooting from the field. The Redbirds are averaging 8.9 three-pointers per game on 33.5% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Illinois State has been led by Milik Yarbrough (16.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 4.6 apg), Phil Fayne (15.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.1 spg), Keyshawn Evans (15.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.3 apg), and Madison Williams (6.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.2 spg). Defensively, Illinois State is allowing their opponents to average 73.7 ppg on 43.2% shooting from the field. The Redbirds have a rebound margin of -4.0 and a turnover margin of -0.1. The Redbirds will be most likely be without Phil Fayne who is currently listed as “out indefinitely” due to an ankle injury.
The Panthers are 16-33-2 ATS in their last 51 games overall and 1-6 ATS in their last 7 Saturday games. The Redbirds are 12-4-1 ATS in their last 17 games following a straight up loss however, are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
Northern Iowa has lost 4 of their last 6 games and although the Panthers have one of the tougher defenses in the country as the Panthers rank 4th in scoring defense and 48th in defensive FG%. Illinois State has won 4 of their last 6 games and haven’t been overly impressive on either end of the court this season as the Redbirds come into this matchup ranked just 242nd in scoring offense and 222nd in scoring defense. Illinois State struggled on defensive end at Northern Iowa in a double-digit loss earlier this season, however, the Redbirds are 7-1 in conference play at home this season and as I think they’ll rebound here after a tough road trip to Valparaiso and Bradley, I’m taking Illinois State to cover this small spread.