Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#689 Northern Kentucky 134 vs.
#690 Ball State -8
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at 7:00pm EST
Written by Chris Kubala

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#689 Northern Kentucky University
#690 Ball State University
3-1
3-1
12-20-1
13-19
16-17
16-16
78
75
68
71

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It’s a battle of mid-major programs on the college hardwood in the Hoosier State when the Horizon League tangles with the Mid-American Conference. The Northern Kentucky Norse is on the road when they travel to face the Ball State Cardinals Wednesday night. Northern Kentucky comes in off an 82-70 home win over Coppin State Sunday in their previous contest. Ball State defeated Indiana State 69-55 at home in their last contest on Sunday. This matchup marks the first time that the two programs have met on the hardwood as Division I programs.

Northern Kentucky Norse Seek Third Straight Win

Northern Kentucky earned their third win in four games as they took down Coppin State at home in their last game. The Norse now tries to extend their win streak to three wins as they make the road trip for this contest. Northern Kentucky held a one-point lead just over five minutes into the game before going on a 10-2 run to go up nine. The Norse didn’t let the Eagles closer than three the rest of the way en route to the victory. Northern Kentucky shot 47.6 percent from the field and won the rebounding battle 44-39 to help overcome missing half of their 16 free throw attempts. Three-point shooting was important in the game: the Norse was 14 of 35 while the Eagles were just five of 26 from beyond the arc. Dantez Walton led Northern Kentucky with 24 points and nine boards in the win.

The Norse is tied for 109th in the nation in scoring offense with 78 points per game this season. Northern Kentucky stands tied for 135th in rebounding by collecting 39.5 boards a night and tied for 35th by dishing out 17.8 assists per contest. The Norse is tied for 143rd in scoring defense as they allow an average of 66 points per game. Tyler Sharpe leads the team with 16.3 points per game on the season. Walton chips in 12.5 points plus seven rebounds a night while Karl Harris adds 12.5 points plus 5.5 rebounds a game. Trevon Faulkner contributes 12 points a game while Jalen Tate, Silas Adheke and Bryson Langdon are valuable pieces of the rotation. Northern Kentucky shoots 46.6 percent from the field as a team on the year. The Norse connects on 10.5 triples per game but is shooting only 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. Northern Kentucky has been a train wreck at the free throw line, sinking only 54.3 percent of their chances at the stripe.

Ball State Cardinals Try to Defend Home Floor

Ball State comes in off a win over Indiana State in a battle of mid-major programs playing in the shadow of the Hoosiers in the state of Indiana. The Cardinals look to defend their home floor with a victory in this contest. Ball State led by just one at the half but pulled away in the second half as they outscored Indiana State 42-29 to get the victory. The Cardinals shot 44.2 percent from the field, including six of 23 from beyond the arc, and dominated the Sycamores by a 41-28 count on the glass in the victory. Tahjai Teague led Ball State with 22 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.

The Cardinals enter this contest tied for 162nd in the nation in scoring offense with 74.5 points a night on the season. Ball State has been solid on the glass, ranking 56th with 42.5 boards a night, and stands tied for 113th as they dish out 15.3 assists per contest. The Cardinals have been excellent defensively, ranking 22nd in scoring defense by holding the opposition to only 56.3 points per game. Tahjai Teague leads Ball State with 17.8 points plus 7.8 rebounds per contest this season. Ishmael El-Amin contributes 12 points a night, K.J. Walton kicks in 10.3 points a game and Kyle Mallers adds 10 points plus 5.5 boards per contest. The Cardinals also look to Jarron Coleman and Luke Bumbalough for quality minutes and secondary scoring. Ball State shoots 45.4 percent from the field as a squad this season. The Cardinals connect on 8.5 three-pointers a night while sinking 32.1 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. Ball State has to be far better at the stripe than their current 55.1 percent mark on the year.

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This one is going to be interesting as Northern Kentucky loves to run and get out in transition. That is something that hasn’t changed, even after John Brannen took the job at Cincinnati and Darrin Horn took his place. The Norse is going to fire up their three-point attempts but they’re going to have to start hitting better than their 33.3 percent mark. Northern Kentucky is going to be tested by a stingy Ball State defense that doesn’t give up a ton of second-chance points. The free throw shooting on both sides is abysmal, which makes it tough to gauge how things will turn out. In the end, Ball State is at home and Northern Kentucky has to prove they can play well on the road: give the Cardinals the edge here.

Prediction: Ball State Cardinals -8.5

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Northern Kentucky is going to try to hit from the outside but they face a Ball State team that is allowing opponents to hit only 28.7 percent of their long-range attempts on the season. That means that the Norse are going to have to try and develop an interior presence in order to get some open perimeter looks. Ball State doesn't give up a lot of second chances on the glass this season as they've been effective at pulling down boards. The Cardinals are effective inside and will look to utilize their size to outmuscle the Norse. These are two of the worst free throw shooting teams in the nation: can we count on either one to sink free throws when it matters?

The under is 6-1 in the Norse's last 7 non-conference games. Ball State has seen the under go 4-1 in their last five at home, 4-1 in their last five after an ATS win and 11-3 in their last 14 overall. Given the way the Cardinals play defense and the fact that both teams will likely leave a ton of points at the line, this one falls just short of the mark.

Prediction: Under 134.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.