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CONFERENCES COACHING CHANGES TRANSACTIONS GAMING MATCHUP CURRENT ODDS
VCU (8-2) at Northern Iowa (4-5)
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 14, 12 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McLeod Center (6,650) -- Cedar Falls, Iowa. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: VCU 5-0, UNI 2-0. Away Record: VCU 2-0, UNI 0-3. Neutral Record: VCU 1-2, UNI 2-2. Conference Record: VCU 0-0, UNI 0-0. Series Record: VCU leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The VCU Rams will try to keep their winning streak intact when they visit the McLeod Center on Saturday afternoon for a non-conference tilt with the Panthers of Northern Iowa.
VCU enters the contest seeking a fifth straight victory. The Rams have been idle since notching a 69-48 home win over former Colonial Athletic Association rival Old Dominion last Sunday. Following this game, they'll return to campus to host Wofford on Tuesday night.
Northern Iowa snapped a two-game slide with a 55-50 triumph over Savannah State earlier this week. That was only the second home game of the season for the Panthers, who are 43-9 (.827) vs. non-conference opponents all-time in the McLeod Center. They'll get a break until next Saturday when they head to Charlottesville to take on the Virginia Cavaliers.
VCU emerged victorious in the only prior meeting in the head-to-head series, as it earned a 77-68 win over the Panthers in a BracketBuster matchup on Feb. 17, 2012.
The Rams' Juvonte Reddic simply took over against ODU, as he piled up 24 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks -- all game-highs. Treveon Graham joined him in double figures with 13 points. VCU utilized its size advantage to a huge 50-34 rebounding edge, including 27-13 on the offensive glass. The Rams also racked up 13 steals as they took control with a 28-7 run. On the season, Graham leads the team in scoring with 16.0 points per game to go along with 6.8 rebounds. Reddic is next in line with 13.1 points and a team-best 7.5 boards per tilt. Rob Brandenberg and Melvin Johnson are each contributing 10.2 ppg.
Like their counterpart, UNI was also active at the defensive end the last time out, as the team set a McLeod Center record with 12 steals in Tuesday's win over Savannah State. All told, the Panthers forced 21 turnovers while committing only nine. They were able to overcome a poor night on the offensive end that saw them connect on only 3-of-20 3-pointers (.150) and 12-of-23 free throws (.522). Seth Tuttle led the way with 17 points and seven rebounds. Deon Mitchell added 11 points and five steals, while Nate Buss finished with 10 points and seven boards off the bench. Mitchell is UNI's leading scorer (13.8 ppg) and is also averaging 1.2 steals per game). Buss is averaging 14.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and is shooting 65.2 percent from the floor over the last six games. He is also 10-of-19 from beyond the arc during that span.
Historically, UNI has been a strong home team. But this is a tough matchup against a surging VCU squad that is playing cohesive basketball at the moment. Also, the Rams have won 17 straight in the month of December, a streak that dates back to Dec. 29, 2010.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: VCU 67, Northern Iowa 62
12/14 10:39:08 ET