IUPUI vs UIC Preview and Prediction
IUPUI vs UIC Preview
Today’s college basketball slate leaves a lot to be desired, but this Horizon League matchup could be the best one of the night. The IUPUI Jaguars (8-7, 0-2) were off to a great start in non-conference play knocking off teams like Boston College and Bradley en route to a 8-3 start but have lost four consecutive games, including their first two Horizon League games.
The UIC Flames (7-8, 1-1) are coming off a thrilling overtime victory against the defending Horizon League champs, Wright State. Even more impressive, they did it on the road.
Players to Watch
It’s a one-man show for the Jags and his name is Camron Justice. The junior guard sat out last season after transferring from Vanderbilt, where he received around nine minutes of playing time per game. This year, he rarely sees the bench playing in 30+ minutes a night and does a lot with it–he averages 20.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. If IUPUI is going to get back in the win column it will be due to Justice have a great game.
The Flames take more of a team approach to their scoring–four players average in double figures led by Marcus Ottey at 16.4 points per game. Tarkus Ferguson may be their best player however, he is second on the team with 15.3 points but leads the Flames in rebounding (6.5), assists (5.3) and blocks (1.0). Not bad for a 6’4 guard.
Jags head coach Jason Gardner loves to build his team with transfers and he got another one in Ahmed Ismail. The seven-footer played at Manhattan before making his way to IUPUI. He doesn’t play a ton, around 16 minutes a night, but anytime you have a 7’1 guy patrolling the paint it causes issues for opposing teams. Ismail averages 7.4 points to go along with 4.7 rebounds, but it’s what he does that doesn’t show up on the scoreboard that will impact this game.
The Flames X-Factor makes his way from Cork, Ireland. Junior forward Jordan Blount doesn’t put up huge numbers, but he will be the inside presence going up against Ismail and preventing Justice from penetrating the paint. Blount is one of the UIC players averaging double-digits with 11 points per game–he also pulls down 5.6 rebounds and leads the team with 1.5 steals a night. If he does his job, the Flames will win.
LINE: -4 UIC
Dan’s Bet: UIC ML
I’m tempted to take UIC minus the four points, but in a conference matchup like this, with two teams known to play tight games this year, I’ll take the Flames to win outright (money line).
Score Prediction: UIC 74 IUPUI 71
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