Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#709 Illinois - Chicago (UIC) vs.
#710 Southern Illinois
Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 8:00pm EST
Written by Mark Ruelle

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The Missouri Valley Conference will be in action on Wednesday night in the state of Illinois as the Illinois-Chicago Flames hit to the road to take on the Southern Illinois Salukis. UIC comes into this matchup at 10-15 overall but just 2-12 in MVC play. The Salukis have had a solid season thus far with an overall record of 18-7 and 10-4 in the MVC. The opening tap for this one is scheduled for 8:00 PM EST.

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Flaming Out

It has been a very difficult year for the UIC Flames in MVC play thus far. With a record of just 2-12 in league play, the Flames have already been reduced to playing a spoiler role for the rest of the regular season. On Saturday, the Flames halted a ten-game losing streak with a 70-61 win over Evansville. Steven Clay was one of three Flames to score in double figures and led the way with 17 points.

Not surprisingly, Illinois-Chicago is below average in numerous categories both offensively and defensively. The Flames are ranked 283rd in scoring offense this season. They are a dismal 306th in field goal percentage thus far. The Flames are 236th in the country in fewest turnovers per game. They are 203rd in scoring defense but do have the 74th ranked 3pt defense. Illinois-Chicago has one of the worst rebounding teams in the country, ranking 324th in total rebounding.


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League Title in Salukis' Sights

On the other end of the MVC spectrum sits the Southern Illinois Salukis. The Salukis are first in the conference with a record of 10-4 and picked up their 18th victory overall with a 73-53 win over Missouri State on Saturday to sweep the season series. Lance Jones led the way with 18 points, including three from long range in the win.

"I'm proud of our guys. That's a tough team, and it's always tough to beat a team twice and to come back after a couple of tough losses," head coach Bryan Mullins said postgame. "I thought the fans were great – it was a great environment today. Defensively we played for 40 minutes – offensively we still have some things to work on, but that's a good win."

SIU has not been particularly strong on the offensive end thus far. The Salukis are just 296th in the nation in scoring offense. They are just 312th in 3pt field goal percentage. They are stronger from the field overall, ranking 131st in field goal percentage. The Salukis are ranked 197th in the nation in fewest turnovers per game. Defense has been a strong suit for SIU, however. The Salukis are ranked 12th in the country in scoring defense. They are 68th in opponent's field goal percentage and 155th in 3pt defense. Like UIC, they have struggled on the glass as they rank just 319th in total rebounding.


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Insiders Status:


This is certainly not the time for a letdown for a Salukis' team that would certainly like to have an MVC regular season crown and then a league tournament crown to boot. SIU bounced back from a brief two-game losing streak to blast Missouri State. The Salukis are 11-1 at home this season and, based on Saturday's outcome, they seem to have been given their wake-up call. In comes a Flames' team that just ended a 10-game losing streak and has just two victories in nine chances away from home this season. I expect a similar effort from SIU on Wednesday as they gave on Saturday and that will spell a one-sided loss for Illinois-Chicago. While neither team has a prolific offense, the Salukis possess a shutdown defense that will decide this matchup.

Take the Salukis.

Prediction: SIU -12.5

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Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:


Southern Illinois possesses the 12th ranked scoring defense in the country. In addition, the Salukis have held the opposition under 60 points in three of their last five wins. UIC comes in with just the 283rd ranked scoring offense in the nation and have failed to score over 63 points in two of their last three losses. While neither team will have much of an edge on the boards, pace will be dictated by the suffocating defense of SIU. With that in mind, the pace will be slow as SIU is ranked 331st in the nation in pace of play.

Take the under.

Prediction: Under 129.5

Written By Mark Ruelle , "Mark Ruelle"

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.