#753 University of Northern Iowa Panthersvs.#754 Bradley University Braves
Written by Chuck D
Northern Iowa Panthers 5-10 (3-11 ATS) at Bradley Braves 7-10 (7-8 ATS)
When and Where: Wednesday, Jan. 11, Carver Arena, Peoria, Ill. 9:00pm EST (ESPN3)
Spread: Northern Iowa -1; Total: 125
Still looking for their first win in Missouri Valley Conference Play, and losers of six straight, Northern Iowa heads to Peoria to take on the Bradley Braves. Bradley, while coming into the contest with a losing record, is batting .500 in the conference with a 2-2 mark. The Panthers swept the season series last year and in doing so, took a 29-28 lead in the all-time series. UNI has now won 10 of their last 11 games vs. the Braves.
Northern Iowa jumped out to a 3-0 start including a 22-point win over Arizona State and a six-point victory Oklahoma. The momentum came to a sudden halt as they lost their next four contest. The team took a short break from losing by beating two mediocre opponents but they have since lost six straight, including all four conference games.
Jeremy Morgan is listed as questionable for the game against the Braves. Morgan was the preseason MVC player of the year and would certainly bolster his squads chances on Wednesday night if he is able to go. The six-game skid is the most since the 2000-01 season when the team dropped 10 in a row.
After going 5-27 a year ago, Bradley has already won two more games than all of last season. The Braves also only won three conference games a year ago and through a mere four MVC games this season, stand just one victory away of matching that. The team has alternated wins and losses in the league since opening conference play with a nine-point win over Southern Illinois. They followed that up with a 34-point loss at Wichita State but then an 11 point win at Evansville. In the most recent outing, they dropped a home contest to Loyola-Chicago by 16.
Bradley is a young squad with the team’s four freshmen averaging 35.5 points, which accounts for 54.2 percent of their total points. Freshman Darrell Brown leads the team with 14 points per game in conference play. Nate Kennell, another freshman has increased his season average from 4.3 to 11.5 points per contest in league play. He reached double figures just once before MVC play but has hit the mark in three of the last four league games.
Northern Iowa is:
The Panthers may have dominated the series of late, but this is not the same UNI squad as in year’s past. Throw in the fact that Bradley is at home and you come to the conclusion that Northern Iowa being favored in this contest is a bit of head-scratcher. The home team is 7-2-1 against the spread in the last 10 meetings between these two squads.
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Chuck Dowling is a 30-something University of Florida J-School alum that lives in his mother’s basement. Just kidding... there are no basements in Florida (the ground is too moist). He has been in the “biz” for his entire adult life and specializes in NCAA football and basketball, as well as soccer, boxing, and MMA. When not writing, Chuck moonlights as a high school athletics radio and internet-television broadcaster.