Northern Iowa vs. Valparaiso - 1/15/20 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Northern Iowa vs. Valparaiso - 1/15/20 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction Photo by Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Valparaiso Crusaders (9-8) at Northern Iowa Panthers (14-2)

College Basketball: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 8:00 pm (McLeod Center)

The Line: Northern Iowa Panthers -11.5 -- Over/Under: 140

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The Valparaiso Crusaders and the Northern Iowa Panthers meet in MVC college basketball action from McLeod Center on Wednesday night.

The Valparaiso Crusaders will look to find some consistency after alternating wins and losses in each of their last 4 games following a 66-61 win over Drake last time out. Donovan Clay led the Crusaders with 18 points along with 3 threes and a team-high 7 rebounds while Javon Freeman-Liberty added 15 points with 5 rebounds and a team-high 5 assists as the only other double-digit scorer for Valpo in the winning effort. Mileek McMillan added 6 points with 3 steals as well in the victory. Freeman-Liberty leads Valparaiso in scoring and rebounding with an average of 20.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game while Daniel Sackey leads the Crusaders in assists with an average of 4.3 assists per game this season. As a team, Valparaiso is averaging 73.6 points per game on 43.6% shooting from the field, 34% from behind the 3-point line and 69.5% from the foul line this season.

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The Northern Iowa Panthers will look to extend their current three-game winning streak after an 80-57 win over Missouri State in their last outing. AJ Green led the Panthers with 28 points on 9 of 15 shooting with 6 threes while Isaiah Brown added 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting with 5 threes and 9 rebounds and Trae Berhow added 12 points to finish off the trio of double-digit scorers for UNI in the win. Austin Phyfe added 7 points with team-highs of 10 rebounds and 4 assists as well in the victory. Green leads Northern Iowa in scoring and assists with an average of 18.8 points and 3.1 assists per game while Phyfe leads the Panthers in rebounding with 7.4 rebounds per game this season. As a team, Northern Iowa is averaging 78.3 points per game on 47.9% shooting from the field, 37.9% from behind the arc and 75.8% from the foul line this season.

Valparaiso is 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall and 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record while the over is 9-3 in their last 12 road games. Northern Iowa is 11-4-1 ATS in their last 16 home games and 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games overall while the over is 5-1 in their last 6 games following a win.

I get Northern Iowa being favored because they’re the better team, and are unbeaten at home this season where the Panthers are outscoring teams by 15 points per game this season. However, the Panthers also didn’t really play much stiff competition at home, and we’ve  yet to see Northern Iowa really dominate anyone in conference at home this season as well. Valparaiso is only being outscored by 3.5 points per game on the road and that includes a pair of games against Cincinnati and Nevada as well as an outright win over Evansville in conference play this season. I just think the Crusaders are capable of keeping this one within single digits, so I’ll take a shot with Valparaiso and the points in this one.

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Chris’s Pick Valparaiso +11.5

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The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Pick Dawgz site consensus.