Illinois-Chicago (4-1) at Northern Illinois (1-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 27, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (10,000) -- DeKalb, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: UIC 2-0, NIU 1-1. Away Record: UIC 0-0, NIU 0-2. Neutral Record: UIC 2-1, NIU 0-0. Conference Record: UIC 0-0, NIU 0-0. Series Record: Illinois-Chicago leads, 22-15.
GAME NOTES: The Flames of Illinois-Chicago head out for their first true road game of the season on Tuesday as they match up against the Northern Illinois Huskies in non-conference action at the Convocation Center in DeKalb.
UIC, which took part in the Paradise Jam where they took two of three outings, came back home on Saturday and dismissed Southeast Missouri by a final of 56-45. With the victory over SEMO, in which they scored a season low, the Flames have now won three straight.
Meanwhile, the Huskies have gotten off to a rough start with just one win in four chances, that victory coming against Judson University (72-54) at home more than a week ago now. More recently, NIU entertained another member of the Horizon League in Loyola-Chicago and bowed to the Ramblers in a disappointing 53-46 showing over the weekend.
These two teams met in early December last season, with the Flames putting up a 62-55 win at home, which means the all-time series now numbers 22-15 in favor of UIC.
UIC trailed by as many as seven points in the first half against the Bears the last time out, but SEMO began to fall apart as it surrendered the lead, fell behind by three at the break and ended up losing by 11 points overall. Perhaps it had something to do with the defense of the Flames which held the visitors to just 30.4 percent shooting from the floor and 25.0 percent behind the three-point line. Rarely do you see a team shooting 28.8 percent from the field and still win, but that's what UIC was able to pull off as Josh Crittle registered the first double-double of his career with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Gary Talton added 14 points and nine rebounds, Daniel Barnes 10 points and Hayden Humes 12 boards, although he shot just 1-of-11 from the floor. Overlooking the fact that he is shooting only 36.8 percent from the floor at the moment, Talton is managing to do it all for the Flames, from his 13.8 ppg, to 5.4 rpg and close to five assists per outing as well. Humes (13.0 ppg), with his 12-of-24 effort out on the perimeter, has the team shooting close to 39 percent on the outside.
Aside from a brief two-point lead moments into the contest with Loyola- Chicago, the NIU offense was nowhere to be found as the group made a total of just six field goals in the first half and shot 17-of-57 (.298) in the contest overall. Akeem Springs somehow managed to produce 15 points, although his 1- of-6 effort from behind the three-point line was part of the reason why the squad was just 3-of-14 on the perimeter. The Huskies made things interesting by forcing 16 turnovers, but the fact that Northern Illinois was outscored 19-9 at the free-throw line was just another reason why the team was destined for the loss column. As was the case the last time out, Springs is the lone double-digit scorer for the Huskies after four games, putting up 12.0 ppg as the team generates a mere 57.0 ppg based on only 37.3 percent accuracy from the floor and an awful 23.8 percent effort beyond the arc. It also doesn't help that the Huskies are having a lot of trouble at the free-throw line where they've made good on just 61.9 percent.
At this particular point in time, the Huskies just can't buy a basket given their cumulative stats. UIC isn't setting the basketball world on fire by any means, but the Flames certainly have what it takes to notch the win on Tuesday.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois-Chicago 66, Northern Illinois 53
11/27 10:33:55 ET