UIC Flames (8-11; 6-9 ATS; 6-9 O/U) vs. Youngstown State Penguins (5-14; 8-8 ATS; 9-7 O/U)
Line: UIC -3
The Youngstown State Penguins will host the UIC Flames in a Horizon League clash Thursday evening from Youngstown, OH. The Flames lost 78-68 to Oakland in their latest contest, and the Penguins were toppled 77-67 by Wright State on Monday night. UIC defeated Youngstown State in both meetings last season.
Flames’ Winning Streak Snapped in Loss to Oakland
The UIC Flames did not defend well in their 78-68 home loss to Oakland on Monday to even their conference record at 3-3. The Flames only shot 42% on the night, while Oakland was able to sink 49% of their field goal attempts, including 11 three-pointers. Flames’ top scorer Dikembe Dixson wasn’t sharp in the loss, converting on 4 of 15 shot attempts for a total of 13 points. The sophomore forward is playing well as of late, scoring at least 19 points in three of his last four games, and is now averaging 14.6 points per game. Marcus Ottey contributed with 12 points and five assists in the Flames loss to Oakland. The sophomore guard is having a solid season, sporting a 52% field goal efficiency, and is now averaging 13.4 points per game.
The Flames played strong defense in their recent three-game winning streak that was snapped in Monday’s loss. They rebound well, however, scoring points has been their weakness. UIC is ranked at 231st overall in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball rankings. They are only averaging 70.5 points per game, placing them 276th overall. The Flames are holding opponents to an average of 70.5 points, positioning them 139th overall.
Penguins Stymied by Wright State
The Youngstown State Penguins dropped to 3-3 in Horizon League play with their 77-67 road loss to Wright State on Monday night. The Penguins posted a 41% clip from the field, while holding Wright State to a 43% shooting effort. Penguins’ leading scorer Braun Hartfield was a bright spot in the defeat, sinking 26 points on 8 for 15 shooting. The sophomore guard has scored at least 20 points in three of his last six games and is scoring an average of 14.8 points per game. Cameron Morse had a rough night in Monday’s loss, going 1 for 12 from the field for only two points. The senior guard has been very productive in conference play with the exception of his latest game and is now posting 14.5 points on 36% shooting.
The Penguins started Horizon League play with three straight wins, however, they have since lost three straight. They are very weak defensively and are placed down at 315th overall in Ken Pomeroy’s college basketball rankings. Youngstown State has won both of their conference home games, and are currently averaging 76.3 points per game, ranking them 133rd overall. They are allowing an average of 82.9 points, positioning them down at 339th in the country.
The UIC Flames are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games at Youngstown State.
- 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games against a team with a winning percentage below .400.
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games against a team with a losing record.
The Youngstown State Penguins are:
- 7-18 ATS in their last 25 Thursday games.
- 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games against a team with a losing road record.
I am taking UIC in this matchup. UIC is a strong defensive team, and they are holding opponents to 40.9% shooting, so they should have no problem defending a subpar shooting Youngstown State club. Furthermore, Youngstown State is one of the worst defensive teams in the country as they are allowing an average of just under 83 points, and the opposition is averaging a 51.3% field goal efficiency against them. UIC is averaging 80 points in their last three games, and they should have a very productive night against the Penguins weak defense.