Northern Iowa (15-11) at Drake (11-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Knapp Center (7,152) -- Des Moines, Iowa. Television: Mediacom MC22. Home Record: UNI 12-2, Drake 7-4. Away Record: UNI 3-5, Drake 3-7. Neutral Record: UNI 0-4, Drake 1-3. Conference Record: UNI 8-6, Drake 5-9. Series Record: UNI leads 37-24.
GAME NOTES: In a Missouri Valley Conference matchup the Northern Iowa Panthers will look to continue their late success against the Drake Bulldogs at the Knapp Center.
Northern Iowa is coming in hot, most recently off a 61-54 win over a very tough Creighton team. The win extended the Panthers streak to four, a streak that started with a win over Wichita State which was ranked 15th at the time. This is the first of a two-game road trip for UNI before heading back to Cedar Falls for a BracketBusters matchup with Denver.
The Bulldogs most recently suffered a 71-64 loss at the hands of Wichita State. The loss marked the third in a row for Drake and left it 0-2 in its two-game road swing. This will be the first of a three-game homestand for the Bulldogs, who are looking to end the season strong.
The Panthers lead the all-time series 37-24 and have won the last three matchups. UNI has also take seven of the last eight meetings against the Bulldogs.
In the big win over the Bluejays, Jake Koch led the Panthers with a double- double, recording 14 points and 10 rebounds to go with his three blocks and two steals. Seth Tuttle and Deon Mitchell added 12 points each with Mitchell knocking down a pair of 3-pointers. Anthony James leads the Panthers in scoring this season with 12.2 ppg, while Tuttle adds 10.5 and Koch contributes 10.3. Tuttle shoots nearly 55.0 percent from the field, while Koch pulls down 6.5 rpg. UNI has been a solid defensive team all season, holding opponents to 60.7 ppg and 41.7 percent shooting from the field, but most recently the Panthers have kicked it up a notch. In the last eight games UNI has put together a 6-2 record, while allowing just 52.4 ppg. The Panthers also thrive at the free-throw line, where they shoots 76.0 percent. They are the top free- throw shooting team in the MVC and are 10th in the nation.
In the loss to the Shockers, Drake shot just 34.7 percent from the field. Although the team shot poorly, Ben Simons scored 15 points shooting 5-of-11 from the field and made good on three 3-pointers. Richard Carter added 11 points and six assists, going 9-of-10 from charity stripe. Jordan Clarke managed 10 points and eight rebounds but had a team-high four turnovers. Simons is shooting over 45.0 percent from the field and plays nearly 35 minutes per game. Simons is the only player averaging over 30.0 mpg and also is the only player averaging double-figure scoring with 14.9 ppg. Clarke is the squad's top rebounder, pulling down 8.3 rpg to go with 9.0 ppg from his 55.6 percent shooting from the field. Drake scores 72 ppg, but allows 74.3 ppg (324th in nation).
Both of these teams can score, but only one knows how to play defense. Drake will be slowed down by the defensive play of UNI, while the non-existent defense of the Bulldogs will open up for the Panthers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Iowa 70, Drake 59
02/16 10:47:16 ET