College Basketball Betting: Illinois St. at Northern Iowa

College Basketball Betting: Illinois St. at Northern Iowa

The Missouri Valley Conference will be on display Wednesday night with two huge showdowns featuring a pair of Top 15 teams. No 15. Wichita State hosts Indiana State in one, while No. 13 Northern Iowa welcomes Illinois State to the McLeod Center. Illinois State will be looking for a measure of vengeance after a one-point loss to Northern Iowa two weeks ago. For that to happen, the Redbirds will have to snap the Panthers’ 11-game winning streak. Despite being tied atop the standings, the Panthers are technically in first by virtue of their 70-54 victory over Wichita State on January 31. A stumble here coupled with a Shockers win puts them a full game back with five games remaining. Here’s a preview and prediction of tonight’s action.


The Redbirds have the arduous task of playing Northern Iowa and Wichita State consecutively. Their tourney hopes are grim at best, but an upset over either would be the highlight of their season. A last second runner fell short in the late January meeting against the Panthers, but they will need to shoot much better than 34.1% to hang close in this one. Leading-scorer Daishon Knight was especially off, hitting a pathetic 4-16 from the field. They should be able to rule the glass versus the Panthers’ smallish lineup, so second chance opportunities will be important. Center Reggie Lynch has notched double-digit points in five of six and could have his way with a team that ranks 314th in rebounding. Illinois State is 5-4 on the road and dropped their last outing on Saturday to Southern Illinois.

Northern Iowa is enjoying their best campaign since 2009-10 when they reached the Midwest Regional Final. Their 13th ranking in 2015 is the highest in school history. Leading the charge is senior forward Seth Tuttle, one of the country’s best players no one has heard of. He is averaging 15.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game, and has scored 15-plus points in eight of ten starts. He racked 21 points and 10 boards in the first meeting and will give the Redbirds’ front court fits both in the paint and on the perimeter. The roster goes nine deep, but Tuttle is by far their most talented option. Senior forward Nate Buss is one to watch; his clutch three-pointer secured the January 31st win. The Panthers are efficient shooters and rank 5th in team defense, putting them in the same company as Kentucky and Virginia, which is the main reason they are tournament bound.

The Panthers have won six of seven at home by at least nine, but are only 4-8 ATS in their own building. Illinois State is 11-11-1 ATS overall and 6-5 ATS on the road and in neutral site games. The Redbirds are pesky, but they’ll have trouble in a hostile environment.

Bet Northern Iowa -7.5