Photo: flickr Writer: Eric Daniel
Northern Iowa hasn’t gotten off to the start they were hoping for, but this group has also gone against a challenge slate standing 5-7 overall and 0-1 in the MVC. In their conference opener Northern Iowa got off to a very slow start against Missouri State, but made things interesting in the end before losing to the Bears by a final of 64-68. Northern Iowa is better than their overall record might suggest and this group still has the kind of talent where they can compete in the upper tier of the MVC this season. The Panthers rely a lot on their defense as this group ranks 60th in the nation in points allowed and this is very respectable given their tough schedule. Jeremy Morgan is one of the top players in the MVC averaging 17.6 points per game to lead the Panthers.
Evansville hasn’t faced quite as difficult a schedule as the Panthers, but the Purple Aces have also leaned on their defense for success as this group ranks 28th in the nation giving up just 62.6 points per game. Evansville stands 9-4 overall and 0-1 in the MVC losing in their conference opener on the road against Illinois State by a final of 50-62. The Purple Aces lost a lot of their top performers from last year’s team and as a result this offense has taken a step back ranking 271st in the nation in scoring average. Evansville relies a lot on their top offensive performers as Jaylon Brown and Ryan Taylor lead the way averaging 21.2 and 15.6 points per game respectively.
Northern Iowa was preseason picked third in the MVC and if this group is going to reach that expectation then these are the kind of games the Panthers need to win on the road. This should be a very low scoring game with points coming at a premium and we like Northern Iowa to push Evansville as they go on to cover the spread.
Northern Iowa +2 -102