Milwaukee (2-4) at Northern Iowa (3-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 1, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McLeod Center (6,650) -- Cedar Falls, Iowa. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Milwaukee 2-0, UNI 3-0. Away Record: Milwaukee 0-2, UNI 0-0. Neutral Record: Milwaukee 0-2, UNI 0-3. Conference Record: Milwaukee 0-0, UNI 0-0. Series Record: Northern Iowa leads, 4-3,
GAME NOTES: Winners of all three of their home games to this point, the Northern Iowa Panthers are set to take on the Panthers of Milwaukee in non- conference action at the McLeod Center on Saturday night.
Unfortunately for UNI, that three-game run at home took place earlier last month before the team played three games in three days as part of the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Down there the team was swept by the likes of Louisville (51-46), Stanford (66-50) and Memphis (52-47) before heading back to the mainland.
As for Milwaukee's version of the Panthers, they too have had early success in their own building, taking care of both the University of Mary and Davidson. However, just like UNI, Milwaukee has also come up empty when playing everywhere else. Last weekend, the team played back-to-back games against Jacksonville and Rider during the Hoops For Hope Classic in Puerto Vallerta. Mexico and dropped both decisions, the latter coming in at 74-60 versus the Broncs which means the team is riding a three-game slide at the moment.
The Panthers of UNI are the ones holding the slight 4-3 edge in the all-time series, thanks to a 67-51 win in the most recent matchup last season at the McLeod Center.
Milwaukee scored the first points of the game against the Broncs last weekend, but that was the extent of the good news for the team as it shot only 37.5 percent from the floor, including 5-of-24 behind the three-point line in the setback. In addition, the team was also outscored at the free-throw line, 23-11, and was forced into 15 turnovers. Evan Richard came off the bench to score 11 points for the Panthers, followed by Demetrius Harris and Austin Arians with 10 points apiece. While he didn't score in double figures versus Rider, Jordan Aaron remains the top producer overall for the group with his 17.0 ppg, thanks in large part to his 16-of-38 (.421) shooting beyond the arc. The team has made only 33.1 percent (46-of-139) out on the perimeter thus far, but that's still head-and-shoulders above the competition which has combined to make a mere 18-of-85 (.212).
Aside from the double-digit loss to the Cardinal, UNI actually played tough against both Louisville and Memphis before stumbling to the finish in each of their matchups. The Panthers led Memphis by as many as 14 points in the first half, but that advantage dwindled to just four at the break and from there the team made a mere 7-of-25 from the floor, including 1-of-12 behind the three- point line. Deon Mitchell was the lone double-digit scorer for Northern Iowa with his 18 points, adding five assists in order to offset his five turnovers. Unfortunately, the other four starters combined to shoot only 6-of-27 from the floor, including 4-of-18 beyond the arc. Mitchell paces the team overall with 14.3 ppg, his 24 assists also tops on the unit, as are his 22 turnovers of course. Jake Koch, who had registered four straight double-digit scoring games before the meeting with the Tigers, checks in with 10.0 ppg and is first with close to seven rebounds per outing.
Take the Panthers in this one for sure, those who will have the hometown crowd behind them, especially if they can keep the scoring to a minimum.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Iowa 58, Milwaukee 55
12/01 10:42:30 ET