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Oakland at Northern Kentucky
When and Where: Saturday, Feb. 9, BB&T Arena, Highland Heights, Ky., 7 p.m. EST.
Northern Kentucky looks to maintain its lead atop the Horizon League and avenge its last home loss Saturday night when it hosts Oakland.
Grizzlies look to create logjam atop Horizon
Oakland (11-14 7-5 Horizon League) have a chance to draw within one game of Northern Kentucky and complete a season sweep of the Norse with a victory.
Brechting records his second double-double in three games as @OaklandMBB falls at Wright State
— Golden Grizzlies (@GoldenGrizzlies) February 8, 2019
For that to happen, though, the Grizzlies will need a more complete effort than the one they gave Thursday night in a 76-62 loss at second-place Wright State. Jaevin Cumberland and Brad Brechting each hit 7 of 11 shots and combined for 35 points, but after building a six-point halftime lead, it all came apart for Oakland as it allowed the Raiders to open the second half on an 18-0 tear.
Brechting, one of four players to score 30 or more points in a game for Oakland this season, has averaged 23.0 points and 11.0 rebounds in his last three games while recording a pair of double-doubles. He also has made 80 percent (28 for 35) of his shots in that span.
It was leading scorer Xavier Hill-Mais — third in the Horizon League at 19.4 points per game — who had the 30-point outburst in the first meeting between the teams, finishing with a career-high 32 in Oakland’s 76-74 victory Jan. 3.
The Grizzlies are 4-2 on the road in conference play but have dropped two of their last three outside Oakland. They are, however, 3-0 all-time at Northern Kentucky since the Norse joined the Horizon League in 2015.
Norse look to stay perfect at home
Northern Kentucky (19-6, 9-3) has a one-game lead over Wright State for the Horizon League lead and reeled off 18 straight victories at BB&T Arena since that 83-70 defeat to the Grizzlies on Jan. 26, 2018.
It's @nkuedu's Homecoming on Saturday as your Norse face off against Oakland! We need #NorseNation to pack @theBBTArena and make that place rock!https://t.co/45vnngKQPQ#NorseUp #TakeNotice pic.twitter.com/iufRSx4QNA
— NKU Basketball (@NKUNorseMBB) February 8, 2019
After a winless two-game road swing that prevented the Norse from creating separation in the Horizon, they got back to their winning ways with a 97-65 pummeling of Detroit on Thursday night. Drew McDonald hit all four of his 3-point attempts and made 8 of 9 shots overall to lead five players in double figures with 20 points.
— NKU Norse (@NKUNorse) February 8, 2019
He also pulled down eight rebounds and cleared 1,000 for his career. Barring injury, the senior forward is all but certain to reach 2,000 points as well as he enters this contest 95 points shy of the mark. McDonald is fourth in the Horizon League in scoring (19.0 ppg), first in rebounds (9.8), and second in 3-point shooting (42.9).
McDonald is helped on the perimeter by Tyler Sharpe, who is averaging 14.4 points and has hit a team-high 67 treys while connecting at a 40.1 percent clip. Northern Kentucky leads the Horizon in overall shooting at 48.3 percent and is second in scoring at 79.6 points per game.
The Norse are 12-0 at home versus Division I opponents this season, winning their six conference games by an average of 16.9 points.
Northern Kentucky is:
- 2-5-1 ATS in its last eight games following a straight up win by 20 or more points.
- 1-5 ATS in its last six games vs. Oakland.
- 2-5 ATS in its last seven games following a straight up win.
- The over is 11-5-1 in its last 17 games as a home favorite between 7-12.5 points.
- 5-2 ATS in its last seven games vs. Horizon League opponents.
- 4-1 ATS in its last five games following a straight up loss.
- 4-1 ATS in its last five road games vs. teams with an above-.600 home winning percentage.
- The over is 8-3 in its last 11 games vs. above-.600 teams.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Sometimes, trends are just unexplainable. While Oakland is 3-0 at Northern Kentucky, the rest of the Horizon League is 6-24 there. Though the expectation is the Norse will finally find that first conference win versus the Grizzlies, the track record between the teams suggests a double-digit spread is too much for them to cover given their only win in the last six meetings came by four points.
Prediction: Pick: Oakland +11.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Though the under is 5-1 in the last six meetings, the caveat is the teams have combined for 149 or more points in five of them. Additionally, Oakland is a terrible defensive team that happened to have one player go off in the first meeting between the teams while limiting McDonald to 10 shots while two other starters got into foul trouble.
That likely will not happen again as McDonald will show why he is the reigning Horizon League Player of the Year.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 153 points
Half-Time Side Pick
In another statistical quirk, Oakland has led at halftime in all six of its Horizon League road games, ranging from three to 16 points and by six or more in each of the last five. The Norse have been hit or miss at home in conference play — they have trailed twice but led by 15 or more in the other three occasions.
The Grizzlies appear to have forged a reputation as a strong first-half team, so they are worth a roll of the dice getting points considering they have yet to lose at Northern Kentucky.
Prediction: Pick: Oakland +5
Half-Time Total Bet
The teams combined for 74 points in the first meeting in Oakland, and the Grizzlies have played to 72 or more in three of their six conference road games. Before that, all six of their non-conference games ranged from 70 to 85 in the opening 20 minutes.
If Northern Kentucky is in the mood, the over should hit since it reached 71 and higher in the three games it led at halftime compared to 64 and under in the two it trailed in Horizon play.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 72 points