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Northern Iowa at Bradley
When and where: Jan. 18, 2020. Carver Center, Peoria, IL, 6 p.m.
Two of the top teams in the Missouri Valley Conference will face off on Saturday when Northern Iowa (15-2, 4-1) takes on Bradley (13-5, 4-1). This is the second match-up between the two teams as Panthers won the first game at home, 69-64, at home.
Panthers have won four straight
Northern Iowa lost their MVC opener against Illinois State on Dec. 30, but haven’t lost since. The Panthers have rattled off four straight wins, including a 69-64 win over Bradley at home on Jan. 4.
In their most recent game, the Panthers beat Valparaiso, 88-78, at home. Northern Iowa trailed by six at the intermission and then outscored Valpo by 16 more in the second half.
Green is the top scorer for the Panthers, averaging 19.4 points per game, and also the top assist man at 3.1 per game. Phyfe pulls down 7.5 rebounds.
Northern Iowa scores 76.9 points per game, ranking 59th nationally. They shoot 48.4 percent from the field (15th) and 38.8 percent from three-point range (13th). The Panthers are also a good defensive team, allowing only 64.6 points per game (76th).
Brave have won three straight
Bradley has won three straight games following its only MVC loss to Northern Iowa on Jan. 4. In that game, Bradley pulled to within one with 23 seconds left in the game, but the Panthers hit free throws for a 69-65 win.
In their most recent game, Bradley knocked off Missouri State, 91-78, on Wednesday. The Braves led by 10 on the road at the intermission and then outscored Missouri State by three in the second half.
Injured starter Elijah Childs, who has a hand injury and is out indefinitely, leads the team in both scoring (14.2 points per game) and rebounding (9.1 per game). Brown leads the team in assists with 4.9 per game.
KABOOM! pic.twitter.com/CE7oBl8jmk— Bradley Basketball (@bradleyumbb) January 16, 2020
The Braves average 73.2 points per game (134th), but are excellent three-point shooters (37.6 percent, 29th). Bradley is also a good defensive team that gives up only 63.4 points per game (62nd).
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Both team are 4-1 in MVC play, with excellent offenses and defenses. They have also played each other once already, with the Panthers winning by four at home. Now, the two teams match up again, this time in Peoria, Illinois. The Braves are undefeated at home this season through 10 games, while the Panthers have lost only once on the road in five games. The biggest difference is that the Braves will be without do-everything junior Childs. The last time out, Childs had 11 points, but injured his hand in the game.
Take Northern Iowa
Prediction: Northern Iowa
Full-Game Total Pick
Both teams are excellent defensively, with the Panthers ranking 76 at 64.6 points per game and the Braves ranking 62nd at 63.4 points per game. This is the second game between the two teams, with the over coming with the teams combining for 133 points. The total of that game was 132.5. This time, however, the Braves will be missing leading scorer and rebounder Childs, who scored 11 points before he was injured in the game the last time the two teams met. The Braves have only an average offense even with Childs, so they will have a tough time scoring against a rugged Panther defense.