Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#7931 Buffalo vs.
#7932 Northern Illinois (NIU)
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 5:00pm EST
Written by Blake V.

Buffalo is hoping to be the next team to beat up on Northern Illinois when the two teams meet on Tuesday evening. The Bulls had their three-game winning streak snapped in an 80-70 loss to Toledo on Friday. Northern Illinois has been the worst team in the MAC this season, losing nine of its 10 conference games.

Bulls looking to blitz Huskies

Buffalo won three of its first four MAC games before losing three of its next four. The Bulls responded with a three-game winning streak over Ball State, Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan. They were unable to stay hot on Friday, losing to Toledo by 10 points. The Rockets are sitting atop the conference standings, though, so the loss was expected. Buffalo is currently in fifth place in the standings, but it is just a half-game behind Ohio for the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament. The Bulls have been a decent offensive team, listed at No. 93 in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency ratings.

They will be facing a Northern Illinois defense that has been awful, listed at No. 325 in opponent’s effective field goal percentage. Buffalo should have a big advantage on the boards, as it ranks No. 7 nationally in offensive rebounding rate. Junior forward Jeenathan Williams leads the team with 18.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. He had 19 points and 10 rebounds against Toledo on Friday. Senior guard Jayvon Graves is scoring 14.8 points and is grabbing 5.7 rebounds. Junior forward Josh Mballa and junior guard Ronaldo Segu are both in double figures as well. Segu is dishing out 4.0 assists per game.

Northern Illinois hoping to spring upset

Northern Illinois has only picked up two wins all season. The first one came against Chicago State, which is one of the worst teams in college basketball. The second win came in a stunner over Akron on Jan. 12. Akron is currently second in the MAC standings behind Buffalo, so it was a shocking result. Northern Illinois was off from Jan. 17 to Feb. 12 due to COVID-19 issues. The Huskies have dropped games to Kent State, Akron and Miami (Ohio) since returning to action. They have been equally as bad on the offensive end as the defensive end, ranking No. 330 in effective field goal percentage and No. 301 in turnover rate.

Buffalo’s defense has been solid throughout the season, listed at No. 32 in opponent’s effective field goal percentage. The Bulls’ are the eight-best at defending the 3-point line of any team in college basketball. Sophomore guard Tyler Cochran leads Northern Illinois with 14.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. He has only been able to play eight games, but he is currently healthy and playing. Junior guard Trendon Hankerson is scoring 12.7 points and is grabbing 4.5 rebounds. He is coming off a 22-point outing against Miami (Ohio). Junior guard Darius Beane is also in double figures, adding 10.0 points.

Best Bets for this Game

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Northern Illinois has been one of the best teams to bet against in college basketball this season. The Huskies have only covered three times in their last 16 games. Buffalo has been playing its best basketball of the season and should be able to dominate this matchup. There is a huge contrast in playing styles, so Buffalo’s up-tempo offense is going to give Northern Illinois a lot of problems. The Huskies are not good enough on either end of the court to slow down the Bulls.

Prediction: Buffalo -11

Full-Game Total Pick

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Buffalo is going to want to dictate the pace of this game from the onset. The Bulls play at one of the fastest paces in college basketball, listed at No. 6 in average possession length. They are going to be getting easy looks throughout the night against an atrocious Northern Illinois defense. Buffalo tends to win the tempo battle when these teams square off, as 13 of the last 20 head-to-head meetings have gone over the number. Seven of the last eight games hosted by the Huskies have gone over as well.

Prediction: Over
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Written By Blake Von Hagen , "Blake V."

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.