Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#785 Northern Illinois vs.
#786 Iowa State
Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 8:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#785 Northern Illinois University
#786 Iowa State
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The Northern Illinois Huskies will head on the road to the James H. Hilton Center in Ames, Iowa on Tuesday evening for a non-conference showdown against the Iowa State Cyclones.

Both teams come into this game hoping to rebound from their first defeat of the season. Iowa State dropped its first road game to Oregon State while the Huskies fell short at home to Northern Iowa over the weekend. Can the Huskies bounce back with the first win of the year on the road versus Iowa State on Tuesday night?

Huskies' comeback comes up short vs. Northern Iowa

Northern Illinois struggled to execute in the first half and ultimately fell short 64-54 to Northern Iowa in the season-opener on Saturday. The Huskies trailed by as many as 20 points early in the second half but fought back behind a spirited effort from senior guard Eugene German, who finished with a game-high 21 points in the loss. German didn’t have much help on the offensive end though, as no other Huskies’ players scored in double-figures, as Northern Illinois shot just 34.9 percent from the field and 26.1 percent from 3-point range on the evening.

Mark Montgomery’s squad enters the week ranked No. 157 in the latest KenPom rankings after one game. The Huskies come in scoring only 98.0 points per 100 possessions (181st in the NCAA) while sporting an effective field goal percentage of 39.7 percent. While it’s hard to put too much stock into stats after just one game, the Huskies rank outside of the top-250 inefficiency at all three levels, which will be something to keep an eye moving forward.

On defense, the Huskies have given up 97.8 points per 100 possessions (148th in the NCAA) but they will have to find a way to force turnovers on the defensive end. In their season-opening loss to Northern Iowa, the Huskies forced only seven turnovers. Crashing the glass could also be a problem for this team, which comes into this game ranked No. 320 in the nation in average height at 75.6 inches.

Haliburton emerging as a star for Cyclones

Iowa State fell to 1-1 on the season after suffering a tough 80-74 loss on the road to Oregon State over the weekend. Rasir Bolton had 16 points while Tyreke Haliburton added 15 points, seven rebounds, and 12 assists for the Cyclones, who trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half. The Cyclones were unable to withstand the Beavers’ barrage from 3-point range, as Oregon State connected on 12 of their 21 3-point attempts on the night.

Haliburton’s early-season play has been catching the attention of NBA scouts. The 6-foot-5 point guard is averaging a ridiculous 13.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 13.0 assists per game. He’s also wreaking havoc defensively, where he has racked up four steals per game over the first two contests.

Steve Prohm’s squad comes into the week slotted at No. 5 in the latest KenPom rankings following a 1-1 start. The Cyclones come in scoring 107.6 points per 100 possessions for the season (24th in the NCAA) and they’ve been efficient with the basketball through their first two games. Thanks in large part to the play of Haliburton, Iowa State has been able to play fast without turning the ball over. They have gotten their shots up in an average of just 14.3 seconds on the offensive end (28th in the NCAA) but they have turned the ball over on only 12.8 percent of their offensive possessions (24th in the NCAA). However, they haven’t gotten to the free-throw line enough in the early going, and when they have, they’ve left too many points at the line. Iowa State ranks 324th in the nation in free throw rate and they have shot just 63.6 percent from the charity stripe as a team for the season (223rd in the NCAA).

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Haliburton is undoubtedly going to be the best player on the floor in this game but his counterpart in this game happens to be one of the better mid-major scorers in college basketball. German has averaged over 20 points per game in each of the last two seasons and he hit 41.4 percent of his 3-pointers last year, so look for him to carry the offense for the Huskies once again here. After a lackluster defensive showing against Oregon State, I simply don’t feel comfortable laying this many points with the Cyclones right now. Take the Huskies to cover the spread on the road in this game on Tuesday night. 

Prediction: Iowa State Cyclones -14

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It’s hard to believe these two teams are pegged for this many points after the Huskies scored just 54 points in their season-opener. Northern Illinois plays at a slow pace, they don’t get to the free-throw line, and they aren’t very efficient with their shot selection, so I have a hard time envisioning this becoming a high-scoring game here. The Cyclones didn’t exactly shoot the ball well either against Oregon State. Take this game to stay under the projected total on Tuesday night.

Prediction: Under 142.5
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.