Illinois-Chicago (5-15) at Oakland (7-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 25, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Athletics Center O'rena (4,005) -- Rochester, Michigan. Television: HLN, ESPN3.com. Home Record: UIC 2-8, Oakland 6-3. Away Record: UIC 1-5, Oakland 1-10. Neutral Record: UIC 2-2, Oakland 0-1. Conference Record: UIC 0-6, Oakland 2-4. Series Record: Oakland leads, 4-0.
GAME NOTES: A losing streak will come to an end at the Athletics Center O'rena on Saturday afternoon when the Oakland Golden Grizzlies play host to the Illinois-Chicago Flames in Horizon League action.
UIC is stuck in a tailspin of nine consecutive losses, which includes an 0-6 start in Horizon League action. The Flames fell victim in a 74-64 home loss to Cleveland State on Wednesday night to dip to 5-15 overall, which includes just a 1-5 mark on the road.
Oakland's losing streak hasn't been nearly as futile as UIC's, but it has dropped back-to-back games at Cleveland State (86-76) and Green Bay (83-69) to slip to 2-4 in the league. The Grizzlies have played to just a 7-14 overall record this season, but the good news for this matchup is that most of their success has come at the O'rena (6-3).
The Grizzlies have won all four previous meetings between the newly-acquainted league rivals, most recently in November of 2003, 79-66.
The Flames did not shine too brightly in their most recent contest, as they failed to hold a single lead against Cleveland State before suffering the 10- point setback. They shot 41.8 percent from the field but just 4-of-15 from 3- point range, while losing the rebounding battle, 35-32. Jake Wiegand enjoyed a career night with 17 points and nine rebounds, and Jay Parker tallied 10 points and six assists.
Unsurprisingly, UIC has performed poorly on both ends of the floor this season, as it shoots 43.4 percent from the field for just 68.4 ppg while allowing 73.2 ppg on 46.9 percent shooting. Kelsey Barlow shoots just 39.9 percent from the field but generates enough volume to put up a team-best 15.1 ppg, and he also chips in elsewhere with 5.0 rpg, 3.9 apg and 1.1 spg. Marc Brown is the only other player to net in double figures on a nightly basis, putting up 12.4 ppg on 42.1 percent field goal shooting, while Jordan Harks (7.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg) nets 61.9 percent of his tries from the floor.
The Grizzlies fell flat against Green Bay earlier in the week, as they were outshot from the floor, 50 percent to 39.7 percent, on their way to a 14-point defeat. Corey Petros was stellar despite the setback, scoring 19 points on 8- of-14 from the field while hauling in nine rebounds as well. Kahlil Felder logged 14 points, eight assists and three steals, while Tommie McCune came off the bench to net 13.
Oakland hasn't had much of a problem putting points on the board this season, as it scores 73.4 ppg (albeit on just 42.3 percent shooting), but it's lackluster scoring defense (76.7 ppg) has held it back tremendously. It is regularly outmanned on the glass (-4.5 rebounding margin) but it makes up some of those possessions with a +2.5 turnover margin. Travis Bader paces the squad with 19.1 ppg, and while he shoots just 37.3 percent from the field overall, he's drained 88 3-pointers (tied for most in the nation with East Carolina's Akeem Richmond) at a 38.8 percent clip. Petros acts as an anchor down low with 14.2 ppg and 8.7 rpg, while Duke Mondy (12.2 ppg) patrols the perimeter with 4.4 apg and 3.3 spg.
Neither team has impressed of late, but Oakland has at least shown promise on its home floor and should be able to do enough to conquer the Flames.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oakland 77, Illinois-Chicago 66
01/25 10:20:02 ET