Valparaiso (8-2) at Northwestern (6-4)
When: Thursday, December 14th 2017
Where: Allstate Arena, Rosemont, IL
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: Big Ten Network
Opening Odds: Northwestern -8/141.5
The Northwestern Wildcats qualified for their first ever NCAA Tournament last season and we’re looking to build on that in 2017-18, but a slow start to the season has them looking for some resume building wins. The Valparaiso Crusaders might not be an elite challenge, but that’s who Northwestern will get Thursday night in Rosemont, Illinois. The Wildcats have ramped-up the defense lately and are coming off a historic win against Chicago State on Monday, holding the Cougars to eight first-half points, a school record for Northwestern. The Wildcats have won three straight meetings with the Crusaders, but this will be the first meeting since 1979. Valparaiso has dropped back-to-back games after starting the season with eight consecutive victories and is coming off a 71-70 setback to in-state-rival Ball State on a 3-pointer in the final seconds on Saturday. The Crusaders have lost six straight games to Big Ten opponents since the start of the 2012-13 season, including an 80-50 defeat to No. 17 Purdue last week. Valpo will seek their first victory over a Power 5 opponent on the road since November 24th, 2015 (Oregon State).
Joe Burton recorded four 3-pointers en route to a team-high 17 points in the loss to Ball State to finish in double figures for the second straight game after being limited to a combined eight points in his previous three. Max Joseph had a career-high 11 rebounds to go along with his eight points, while Bakari Evelyn added 14 points and six assists. Tevonn Walker, missed the Ball State game with an illness, leads the Crusaders in scoring (16.4) and rebounding (4.8). He is expected to be back in the lineup on Thursday and has scored 22 or more points in three games this season.
Senior forward Vic Law hit all seven of his free-throws en route to 18 points to lead five players in double figures as the 65-point margin of victory over Chicago State bested the Wildcats’ previous mark of 57 set in 1944. Aaron Falzon contributed a season-high 15 points while Dererk Pardon added 13 points and eight rebounds as Northwestern forced 25 Cougar turnovers. Freshman forward Rapolas Ivanauskas, who has played in just three games this season, will miss the rest of the campaign after having surgery on his shoulder earlier in the week. Guard Bryant McIntosh is ranked fifth nationally in free-throw percentage at 96.2%.
I too Valpo when they played Purdue last week and got smoked. I’m not going to make that mistake again. The Northwestern defense is going to prove too much for the Crusaders to handle. I’ll lay the points.
Pick: Northwestern -9.5
- Crusaders are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games.
- Crusaders are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
- Crusaders are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
- Crusaders are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games following a straight up loss.
- Crusaders are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Crusaders are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games following a ATS win.
- Crusaders are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 vs. Big Ten.
- Wildcats are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Thursday games.
- Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Wildcats are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games after scoring more than 90 points in their previous game.
- Under is 5-0 in Crusaders last 5 overall.
- Under is 4-0 in Crusaders last 4 road games.
- Under is 5-0 in Crusaders last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Under is 5-0 in Crusaders last 5 non-conference games.
- Under is 5-0 in Crusaders last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Under is 6-1 in Crusaders last 7 vs. Big Ten.
- Under is 4-1 in Crusaders last 5 games following a ATS win.
- Under is 20-8 in Crusaders last 28 games following a straight up loss.
- Under is 5-0 in Wildcats last 5 overall.
- Under is 4-0 in Wildcats last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Over is 4-0-1 in Wildcats last 5 games after allowing less than 50 points in their previous game.
- Over is 6-1-1 in Wildcats last 8 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
- Under is 6-2 in Wildcats last 8 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Over is 31-14 in Wildcats last 45 Thursday games.