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IUPUI Jaguars vs. Northern Kentucky Norse
Where and when: BB&T Arena, Highland Heights, Kentucky, Friday, 7 pm EST
The Indiana-Purdue Jaguars travel to BB&T Arena in Highland Heights, Kentucky, to face the Northern Kentucky Norse on Friday night in Horizon League basketball action at 7 pm EST. The Jaguars and the Norse are currently residing on opposite ends of the spectrum as the latter is competing for the top spot within the conference while the former resides in the cellar of the division as they enter this contest losers of 4-straight games. Northern Kentucky, on the other hand, has won 4-straight games and is coming off a 19-point home drubbing of the Detroit-Mercy Titans in their last time out.
In head-to-head action, the Norse have won 4 of the last 5 meetings versus the Jaguars, including 2-straight at home. Also, Northern Kentucky has won against the number in 4 of those contests while going undefeated at home against the spread during this time (2-0).
Jaguars continue inconsistency on both ends of the floorAt only 2-11 in the Horizon League, the Jaguars of Indiana Purdue have nothing to play for at this point in the season, other than pride. Their defense has really stunk it up as of late in giving up an average of 81 points during their current 4-game losing streak. For the season, the Jaguars are ranked in the 300's in the country in points per game (79 ppg) along with 3-point % allowed to opponents (36%). Also, Indiana Purdue is giving up an average of 36 rebounds per game, good for 331st in the nation.
With the Norse collecting 34 boards per game and ranking 106th in the country in this area, it may indeed be another rough outing on the defensive end for a team in the Jaguars that have dropped 3 of their last 4 road games, overall, while coming out on the losing end in 10 of their 13 conference games this season.
Offensively, the team is shooting only 41% on the season while posting 70 points per game (33% 3FG). Leading scorer Marcus Burk (20 ppg) is indeed the best shooter of the bunch from beyond the arc entering the contest shooting just under 39% on the year while junior guard Jaylen Minnett (17 ppg, 3 ass) follows close behind at 36%; However, both were a combined 9-29 from long-range while racking up 7 total turnovers in the Jaguars’ home overtime defeat to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Panthers in their last time out. There are indeed consistency issues related to both as well with Burk shooting barely 43% from the floor along with Minnett connecting on just 36% of his shots on the year.
Important to note that the Jaguars possess a double-double machine in Elyjah Goss as the junior forward is averaging 9 points per while grabbing 12 boards per contest in addition to recording 4 double doubles in his last 7 starts, overall. Goss, however, went 0-5 with 3 points in the Jaguars loss to the Norse last month while Minnett finished with 7 points on 1-7 FG (1-5 3FG) shooting. Burk led the team on this night with 25 points on 9-16 shooting, yet went just 2-8 from long-range in the 25-point defeat. Northern Kentucky's defense is ranked 12th in the nation in 3-point % allowed at just under 29% per game while ranking 65th in the country in points allowed per game with 65 per.
Norse back on track after conference defeatSince allowing a whopping 95 points in the 32 point loss to the top-seeded team in the conference in the Wright State Raiders, the Norse have allowed 70 or more points only once during their 4-game win streak. For the year, the team is allowing under 41% shooting and illustrated a stellar defensive effort in their 1st matchup versus the Jaguars in giving up just 71 points on 38% shooting in addition to surrendering just 4 3-pointers on 21 attempts. Again, despite keeping 2 of Indiana Purdue's top guns in check, the Norse also recorded 10 turnovers in the blowout victory as well.
They seek to keep the heat on the Raiders for the conference crown with their 5th-straight victory as they prepare to face Wright State yet again in their last conference matchup of the season in only a couple weeks. As stated, they not only possess a strong defense, but their offense, despite shooting poor from long-range at 32% on the season, is putting up 74 points per game on 44% shooting and are led by 4 double-digit performers on the season in senior forward Dantez Walton (17 ppg, 7 rebs), junior guard Tyler Sharpe (16 ppg), sophomore guard Trevon Faulkner (13 ppg, 4 rebs), and senior guard Jalen Tate (11 ppg, 5 rebs, 4 ass). Walton is not only shooting an outstanding 49% from the floor, but has shown that he has an ability to stretch defenses in the half-court offensive attack in shooting just under 39% from long-range.
Walton, however, has scored in single digits in 2 of his last 3 starts while finishing with 6 points on a 2-5 shooting night (1-3 3FG) versus the Titans. Sharpe has remained consistent during their winning stretch as he was the team's 2nd leading scorer versus Detroit with 17 points and 4 steals while Tate is coming off a monster night with 24 points, 6 boards, along with 6 assists to lead the team in the 19-point win. Finally, Faulkner followed up a 21 point performance at home versus the Oakland Golden Grizzlies with 16 points on just 6-15 shooting (1-5 3FG) while committing 5 turnovers.
Important to note that Walton did not suit up for the Norse’s matchup versus the Jaguars in January due to a chest injury while Sharpe posted 33 points while going 12-21 from the floor (4-12 from long-range).
- Norse are 4-1 ATS in last 5 meetings versus Jaguars
- Norse are 8-2 ATS in last 10 games
- Jaguars are 3-7 ATS in last 10 games
- Jaguars are 1-3 ATS in last 4 road games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I strongly back the Norse in this contest as they are not only the much better team at this point in the season, but have been on fire at BB&T Arena as of late in picking up wins in 4-straight contests, all by 15 points or more. Again, the Norse are riding the heels of Wright State and are seeking to capture the top seed in the conference, so winning is very much imperative at this point. Also, with the Jaguars dropping 3 of their last 4 road games by double-digit margins, expect the Norse to reign supreme versus a 2-11 Jaguars squad.
Prediction: Northern Kentucky Norse -17
Full-Game Total Pick
I see the over as being the play versus these teams as this has been the case in the last 3 meetings. Northern Kentucky is a very dangerous team offensively, and with the Jaguars consistently giving up far too may quality looks at the basket for their opponents, expect the Norse to build from their stellar offensive showing in their most recent outing versus the Titans of Detroit Mercy. Important to note that the over has been the result in 3 of the last 4 home games for the Norse while also being the play in 3 of the last 5 road games for the Jaguars.
Prediction: Over 147.5