Central Florida Knights (22-11 SU, 15-13-0 ATS, 15-13-0 OU) vs Illinois State Redbirds (28-6 SU, 18-15-0 ATS, 12-20-1 OU)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Monday, March 20, 2017
Where: Redbird Arena in Normal, Illinois
Lines: Illinois State -5.5
College hoops action on Monday evening and the Central Florida Knights will rumble with the Illinois State Redbirds in the 2nd round of the NIT Tournament. The Knights are off a 79-74 home win over Colorado and they have now won seven of their last eight games, while the Redbirds come in off a 85-71 home win over UC Irvine and they have now won nine of their last 10 games.
Knights Outduel The Buffaloes
The Central Florida Knights have had a very solid season and they now look to keep it going with a road win over Illinois State. The Knights enter this game of a hard-fought 79-74 win at home against Colorado and they have now won seven of their last eight games. They are playing very well right now and while their defense has led them for much of the year, it was their offense that played very well in the win over the Buffaloes. The Knights shot a very strong 54.3% from the field overall, including 54.5% from long range. They could have won this game by much more, but they missed 15 free throws in the game. They are one of the worst free throw shooting teams in the nation, but lucky for them, it didn’t hurt them in this game. The defense played well as they allowed the Buffaloes to hit just 42.3% from the field overall, including just 27.3% from long range. Leading their attack in the game was B.J. Taylor, who had 26, while A.J. Davis and Matt Williams each had 17 and Tacko Fall; had 11.
The Knights have averaged 63.1 ppg on 40.9% shooting and they have allowed 67.6 ppg on 41.7% shooting in true road games this year. Central Florida comes in ranked 296th in the nation in scoring, putting up 67.6 ppg, while also ranking 210th in FG% (43.9%), 159th in 3-point shooting (35.3%) and 319th in free throw shooting (65.4%). At the defensive end of the floor they have been very strong as they come in ranked 6th in points allowed, giving up 61.0 ppg, while also ranking 1st in defensive FG% (36.4%) and 15th in 3-point defense (30.9%).
Strong Season For The Redbirds Continues
The Illinois State Redbirds have had a heck of a season so far as they have gone 28-6 overall, including 21-2 ion their last 23 games. Their two losses over that stretch were to the Wichita State Shockers. The Redbirds enter off a solid 85-71 win over UC Irvine in the first round of the NIT Tournament. They have not been a very good offensive team this year, but they did put up 85 points on a good UC Irvine defense in the win. Illinois state shot 52.5% from the field overall, including 52.0% from long range and that was one of their better shooting games of the year. It will not be that easy in this one against the Knights, who are first in the nation in defensive FG%. They have been strong on defense all year and have now allowed just 58.2 ppg over their last six games. They did allow the Anteaters to hit just 42.4% from the field overall, but they also allowed them to hit 43.3% from long range. They will not be taking on a good offensive team in this one. Leading their attack in the win was Deontae Hawkins, who had 22 points, while MiKyle McIntosh and Paris Lee each had 13 and Phil Fayne had 11.
The Redbirds have averaged 70.8 ppg on 44.5% shooting and they have allowed 60.7 ppg on 37.1% shooting here at home for the year. Illinois State enters this contest ranked 267th in the nation in scoring, putting up 69.3 ppg, while also ranking 197th in FG% (44.1%), 93rd in 3-point shooting (36.8%) and 303rd in free throw shooting (66.0%). At the defensive end of the floor they have been very strong as they come in ranked 8th in points allowed, giving up 61.3 ppg, while also ranking 5th in defensive FG% (37.9%) and 59th in 3-point defense (32.5%).
- The Under is 5-2 in their last seven games following a ATS win
- The Under is 9-4 in their last 13 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
Illinois State is:
- The Under is 44-18 in their last 62 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
- The 42-18-1 in their last 61 games as a home favorite of 0.5-6.5
This should be a very good game between a couple of teams that are playing well at the moment and have played great defense this year. Money has come in on the Over and that may be due to the fact that many saw these teams play high scoring games in their opening round game of the tournament. I see this one heading the other way. Both of these team are in the top 10 in the nation in points allowed and the Knights are 1st in defensive FG%. These defenses will take on a couple off offenses that have been very bad this year and the defenses should keep them under wraps. Both teams slow the pace on offense and neither will shoot over 50% like they did in their openers. Look for this one to be played around 120 points.