Northern Iowa at Illinois State: 2/26/21 College Basketball Picks and Prediction

Northern Iowa at Illinois State: 2/26/21 College Basketball Picks and Prediction Photo by Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois State Redbirds (7-15) vs Northern Iowa Panthers (7-15)

Game Info: Friday, February 26, 2021 at 9:00 pm (Redbird Arena)

Betting Odds: Illinois State Redbirds +2 -- Over/Under: 143 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Northern Iowa Panthers will travel to Redbird Arena to take on the Illinois State Redbirds this Friday night in College Basketball action.

The Northern Iowa Panthers dropped to 7-15 on the season after being defeated by the Drake Bulldogs, 77-69, on February 17th. Northern Iowa struggled defensively against Drake offensive attack and could not fight back after the Bulldogs took a 66-55 lead with 5:08 left in regulation. Northern Iowa shot 43.9% from the field and 24.1% from beyond the arc while Drake shot 50.0% from the field and 36.0% from beyond the arc. Northern Iowa outrebounded Drake by a 38-34 margin, however, forced just 5 turnovers in the loss. Leading the way for the Panthers was Austin Phyfe who had 19 points, 4 rebounds, & 3 assists.

On the season, Northern Iowa is averaging 68.6 ppg on 44.1% shooting from the field. The Panthers are averaging 7.5 three-pointers per game on 33.3% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Northern Iowa has been led by Trae Berhow (13.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 3.2 apg), Austin Phyfe (11.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.5 apg), Bowen Born (11.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.0 apg), & Noah Carter (10.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.0 apg).

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Defensively, Northern Iowa is allowing their opponents to average 71.6 ppg on 45.5% shooting from the field. The Panthers have a rebound margin of 2.5 and a turnover margin of -1.7.

The Illinois State Redbirds improved to 7-15 on the season after defeating the Bradley Braves, 88-71, on February 18th. Illinois State had no trouble generating offense against the short-handed Braves and pulled away in the 2nd half after taking a 70-56 lead with 7:49 left in regulation. Illinois State shot 57.4% from the field and 40.0% from beyond the arc while Bradley shot 43.1% from the field and 30.8% from beyond the arc. Illinois State outrebounded Bradley by a 31-28 margin and committed just 7 turnovers in the victory. Leading the way for the Redbirds was Emon Washington who had 20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, & 2 steals.  

On the season, Illinois State is averaging 72.5 ppg on 46.2% shooting from the field. The Redbirds are averaging 8.1 three-pointers per game on 36.4% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Illinois State has been led by DJ Home (14.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.4 spg), Antonio Reeves (12.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.3 apg), Josiah Strong (11.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.8 apg), & Dusan Mahorcic (8.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.2 apg).

Defensively, Illinois State is allowing their opponents to average 74.6 ppg on 44.6% shooting from the field. The Redbirds have a rebound margin of -0.7 and a turnover margin of -1.4.

The Panthers are 21-43-3 ATS in their last 67 games following a ATS loss and just 7-19-1 ATS in their last 27 games overall. The Redbirds are 16-33-2 ATS in their last 51 games overall and 3-9 ATS in their last 12 Friday games.

Northern Iowa came into this season with expectations to compete for the MVC Championship, however, the Panthers loss their best player in A.J. Green early in the season and it has been a struggle for the Panthers on both sides of the ball this season as they currently rank just 246th in scoring offense & 212th in scoring defense. Illinois State is coming off a solid win at Bradley, however, Bradley was missing a few key players, and this really is not that great of a team as the Redbirds come into this game ranked just 144th in scoring offense & 270th in scoring defense. Northern Iowa is just 1-6 on the road this season, however, I still think they are the more talented team with Trae Berhow & Austin Phyfe, and I think the play here is to take Northern Iowa to cover this small road spread. Good Luck!

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Brett’s Pick Northern Iowa Panthers -2

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

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