|-4 NKU (-115) @ 888sport|
3 of 3 Experts (100%) with a pick against the spread are aligned. 9* play on the Northern Kentucky Norse (Spread).
Larry Ness: Larry's CBB Situational Stunner (4-0-2 s/Feb 13)
The 18-16 UIC Flames and the 22-9 Northern Kentucky Norse meet in the Horizon League championship game from the Indiana Farmers Coliseum (Indianapolis) on Tuesday night. The Flames were just 10-8 in the regular season and entered the tourney as the No. 4 seed but after winning twice at home (93-59 over IUPUI on March 3 and 67-61 over Youngstown St on Mar 5), they took down No. 1 seed Wright St last night, 73-56 as a six-point underdog (note: Wright St made just 28.3% of its shots!). John Brannen led the Northern Kentucky Norse to three straight 20-plus winning seasons the previous three years and to the "Big Dance" in two of those three seasons. However, he left for the 'greener pastures' of Cincinnati after the conclusion of last season. Darrin Horn, who and excellent head coaching success at Western Kentucky but flopped at South Carolina, took over. Horn's team finished second in the regular season (13-5) and had a bye into the semifinals. The Norse punched their ticket to the title game with an 80-69 win over Green Bay last night.
UIC owns depth in the backcourt, as four players contribute. PG Ferguson (14.5-5.8-4.8), followed by Ottey (11.7 & 3.1), Boahen (10.4 & 4.1) and Ahale (5.4). The frontcourt trio consists of the 6-8 Diggins (9.2 & 4.9), the 6-10 Bridges (8.5 & 5.0) and the 6-8 Blount (6.1 & 4.0). Ferguson tied his career high with 25 points, as Illinois-Chicago advanced to its first Horizon League championship game since 2004.
6-6 senior forward Dantez Walton was lost to an arm injury in December but returned on Jan 31. He's the team's top scorer (16.5) and rebounder (7.2) and is joined in the starting lineup by guards Sharpe (15.1), Tate (13.9 & 5.4) and Faulkner (11.9 & 4.2), plus the 6-5 Adheke (3.7 & 4.9). Sharpe led the Norse with 20 points against Green Bay, while Walton scored 19 and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Power Sports: **LATE BREAKING** Championship Game POWER-HOUSE ~ **WHITE HOT** 14-5 NCAAB RUN!
Northern Kentucky came into yesterday knowing that whomever the opponent was, the Horizon League Championship Game would be an opportunity for revenge. The Norse have lost only two games since the start of February. One was a two-point loss to regular season champ Wright State. The other was a shocking 30-point loss to UIC. Surprisingly, they find themselves with the opportunity to avenge the more shocking defeat as UIC upset top seed Wright State in yesterday’s semifinal round.
Of course, NKU also had to handle its own business in the semifinals yesterday. They did just that, beating Green Bay 80-69 as a 5.5-point favorite. The Norse weren’t necessarily dominant, but they got the job done. They went ahead for good with 9:52 left in the game and now look to make the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last four years. They’d been regular season champs each of the past two seasons, so make no mistake about it - this has been the dominant program in the Horizon League.
When the Norse lost 73-43 (at home!) to UIC back on Feb 16th, they had to endure one of the most wretched shooting nights of the entire College Basketball season. They connected on only 22% of their total field goal attempts and were 4 of 32 from three-point range. Meanwhile, UIC shot 50% overall and was 11 of 20 from behind the arc. Needless to say, that kind of shooting discrepancy isn’t happening again here. Northern Kentucky beat UIC by 16 in the season’s first meeting and should roll in similar fashion tonight.
Scott Rickenbach: Rickenbach 10* CBB *Tourney Dominator* TOP Tuesday *He is on 86% RUN!*
The Norse had a long layoff before yesterday's game and actually were playing just their 2nd game in a span of over 2 weeks! It showed as they struggled in the first half against Wisconsin-Green Bay. Once Northern Kentucky worked off the rust in the first half, they were a different team in the second half. The Norse rolled to a huge win over the Phoenix and will carry that momentum right into the Championship Game today. Northern Kentucky exploded for 51 points in the 2nd half of their win over UWGB yesterday. They catch Illinois-Chicago at the perfect time for a rout. The Flames got the upset win over Wright State yesterday. Certainly the Flames deserve credit for that and for playing a strong game against the Raiders. However, now UIC faces a Norse team which they blasted by 30 points at Northern Kentucky a little over 3 weeks ago. Keep in mind the Norse went 13-5 in Horizon action this season while Illinois-Chicago went 10-8. Northern Kentucky enters this game on a 13-3 SU run. UIC has also been playing well but the Norse are the better team and playing with revenge and I like the value with this line coming down from a -5 to a -4 here.
Best of luck!
at covers experts
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