Free NCAA Basketball Pick Write Up

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by YouWinNOW.com - 2/3/2009 5:53 PM Share
Sport: College Basketball
Game: Northern Iowa at Bradley
Date/Time: 2/3/2009 8:00PM EST
Pick: Bradley
Reason:

These teams met less than two weeks ago and it was a win for Northern Iowa which happened to be its seventh in a row all within the conference. That Panthers have since extended that to 10 straight wins and they are rolling along at this point. This also includes a run of six straight road wins which is arguably even more impressive coming from this conference where home court is usually a major strength. Right now there are only five teams in the MVC that currently have winning record and of those six road wins for Northern Iowa, only two came within that group. It took out he two worst teams along with a 5-6 Drake team and a 5-6 Southern Illinois team. Now the challenge gets tougher against a 7-4 Bradley team who is 8-2 at home, losing only to Butler and Creighton.

The last three losses for the Braves have been by only 15 total points so they have been around in every game and it is important to note that those three losses all came on the road. Currently, Bradley trails the Panthers by three games with seven remaining so a loss here means that the regular season title is likely gone. Not only do the Braves need to get closer but they also want to make amends for that first meeting as they blew a 10-point second half lead, making that setback sting that much more. Bradley was outscored 18-6 in that one so the home cooking was definitely in play and a reversal of that is in store tonight. Bradley is 7-0 this year when it makes at least six more free throws than its opponent so if we can in fact get that reversal, we are looking really good. This is an important stretch for Bradley as taking care of its home court is especially important with the tough schedule it is currently in. A huge crowd is expected tonight and that will make the home court edge that much stronger for the Braves. Bradley is 15-4 all-time when playing in front of a home crowd in excess of 11,000, including 2-0 this year. Tuesday's game continues a five-game stretch against teams with a combined 79-32 record and its February 17th home game versus Missouri St. is the only game remaining on Bradley's regular-season schedule against a team with a sub-.500 record.

It isn't going to be easy to make up three games but this team is capable of doing so. The Panthers lead the league in scoring margin at +9.9 ppg, field goal percentage at 48.4 percent, three-point shooting at 41.6 percent, turnover margin at +1.1 per game and assists/turnover ratio at 1.20. Those numbers are impressive but the Braves have a defense has come to life recently. Bradley entered February by not allowing its last 13 opponents to shoot better than 50 percent from the field. In the last 12 games, Bradley has allowed only one opponent (to score more than 70 points and the Braves have held seven of those 12 opponents to 40 percent shooting or lower from the field. Overall, the Braves are 7-0 this season when allowing fewer than 60 points and have won 10 straight when keeping the opposition under 60. Bradley is 12-1 ATS in its last 13 games against teams allowing 64 or fewer ppg on the season in the second half of the year. It is also 15-4 ATS in its last 19 games when playing a team with a winning record in the second half of the season. Northern Iowa meanwhile is 11-23 ATS after four straight games of forcing opponent to commit 14 or less turnovers over the last three seasons. The Braves hold serve on their home floor and halt the Panthers big winning streak tonight. 3* Bradley Braves


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