Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#621 Ball State -4 vs.
#622 Illinois - Chicago 143.5
Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 8:00pm EST
Written by Joshua Broom

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#621 Ball State University
#622 University of Illinois at Chicago
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Mid American meets Horizon Wednesday as the UIC Flames host the Ball State Cardinals. Both teams enter tonight’s contest on the wrong side of their prior outings. Bound by moderate expectations after receiving transfer portal aid, Ball State dropped a Nov. 9 road opener 79-75 vs. giant-killer Evansville. The Purple Aces downed #1 UK 67-64 Tuesday. Meanwhile, last week UIC became the latest blowout victim in Memphis’ re-awakening tour.

Last year, under veteran coach James Whitford, Ball State finished 16-17 (6-12 in conference play). The Cardinals’ Mid-American drop-off came one season after posting a 10-8 conference mark. UIC won and lost 16 contests last season for Steve McClain, including a 10-8 Horizon League finish.

Ball State is ranked #136 by Kenpom.com; Illinois-Chicago is ranked #151 by Pomeroy.

The Cardinals open tonight’s contest as -3.5 favorites. No information has emerged regarding the availability of Tarkus Ferguson, Marcus Ottey, or Jordan Blount for UIC.

Ball State off to slow start

Even with six of the team’s top eight scorers back, Ball State failed to launch during its recent 79-75 setback vs. Evansville. The Flames’ defense became disjointed, especially in transition. During the Cardinals’ two-way struggles, Evansville built a 25-point lead at one point and the contest never seemed in question -contrary to the final score.

Tahjai Teague, sporting distinct basketball bloodlines, finished with 20 points and eight rebounds. Teammates Kyle Mallers (11) & Jarron Coleman (10) finished with double-figure scoring. Though, it was DeAndre Williams’ 25-point outburst that settled matters for the host Purple Aces. During a game decided by a handful of points, Ball State’s six of 15 free throw performance proved irredeemable. Better execution will be required tonight if UIC is to acquit its last outing.

This season Ball State averages 81 ppg (#100 NCAA) & allows (61.0 ppg, #81 pa).

Where are UIC’s top players?

UIC’s lead foursome, Tarkus Ferguson, Marcus Ottey, Godwin Boahen and Jordan Blount never had a chance vs. Memphis’ elite youngsters. Of those Cardinals impact players, only Boahen (10 pts) appeared, as McClain hasn’t played Ferguson, Ottey or Blount this year. No reason has been given for the trio’s absence as of 9:30 P.M. EST Tuesday. Opposite eight UIC Flames, Memphis raced to a 92-46 win. Super frosh James Wiseman added 17 points as frontcourt mate Precious Achiuwa tallied 10 points and Boogie Ellis led all scorers with 21. The availability of Ferguson, Ottey and Blount remains in question for tonight’s contest. It will be interesting to see what lineup UIC offers Wednesday, as only eight players have appeared in the team’s first two games. During this odd situation, Boahen’s 15.5 ppg have led the Cardinals to a 1-1 record.

The UIC fans’ Twitter response to the lack of information regarding Ferguson, Ottey and Blount’s on-court presence sums things up.

This season, UIC averages 60.5 ppg (#317 NCAA) and allows 80.2, #319.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Without knowing why three impact UIC starters have been held out of the lineup through the team’s first two games, I’ll make this prediction based on their available roster. And with Boahen surrounded by just seven role players at best, I have to take visiting Ball State here. Ball State looked uncertain and out of control at times during their loss vs. Indiana-rival Evansville. Though, vs. a short-handed group the Cardinals’ depth should take over and deliver a win in a pick-em contest.

Prediction: Ball State

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

With so much firepower presumably missing from this game, I’ll take the under 143.5. There hasn’t been much UIC offensive consistency this season outside of Boahen. Again, Bohen’s stop-gap surrounding pieces aren’t enough to help push an over total set at 143.5. Meanwhile, expect Teague, Mallers, El-Amin and Coleman to push pace, but still fall under tonight. Under is 6-2 in the Cardinals last eight road games. The Under is 5-0 following a SU loss.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Joshua Broom

A lifelong sports enthusiast, Joshua Broom has lent his thirty-plus years of insight to several sports outlets and has appeared on national radio to talk hoops. Now a dedicated handicapper, Joshua avidly critiques NBA, MLB and college and professional basketball and football trends for the betting public. Check out his picks today at Stat Salt to get a leg up on your bookie.