Nebraska Omaha (8-18) at IUPUI (6-19)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 9, 3 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Jungle (1,215) -- Indianapolis, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: Nebraska Omaha 5-4. IUPUI 4-6. Away Record: Nebraska Omaha 2-13, IUPUI 1-11. Neutral Record: Nebraska Omaha 1-1, IUPUI 1-2. Conference Record: Nebraska Omaha 5-8, IUPUI 1-10. Series Record: Nebraska Omaha leads, 1-0.
GAMES NOTES: At the bottom of the Summit League looking up, the IUPUI Jaguars will face off with the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks in a league tilt at the Jungle on Saturday afternoon.
For the second straight game Nebraska Omaha ended up on the losing end in a 68-50 loss to league leading Western Illinois on Thursday. The recent slump comes on the heels of a three-game winning streak for the Mavericks who are 8-18 overall on the season. That includes a 5-8 mark against league foes, good for fifth in the nine-team Summit League standings. Omaha has just two wins in 15 tries on the road but returns home for a non-conference bout against Chicago State next.
IUPUI has been off since last Saturday when it was defeated by Western Illinois, 68-59. The setback was the ninth straight for the Jaguars who are a miserable 6-19 overall. At just 1-10 in league play, the Jags are firmly planted in the basement of the conference standings. IUPUI has been marginally better at home (4-6) but the team has lost four straight at the Jungle. A tough road trip awaits IUPUI as it plays South Dakota State and North Dakota State in its next two games.
Earlier this season these teams met for the first time. Nebraska Omaha won that meeting, 90-79.
The Mavericks had scored more than 80 points in each of their previous two games before hitting a wall against Western Illinois. Omaha shot just 33.3 percent from the floor in the game, while allowing the Leathernecks to knock in 49.1 percent. The Mavericks were also on the short end of a 40-33 deficit on the boards.
Being on the short end has been the norm for Omaha because of defensive woes. The Mavericks are allowing the most points per game in the country (82.6) while teams shoot at a 48.8-percent clip. Omaha does score a solid 70.2 points per game and shoots at a 46.8 percent rate but those numbers are largely insignificant with the struggles on defense. Justin Simmons (15.3 ppg) is far and away the best offensive option on the floor, though John Karhoff (11.8 ppg) has been decent when given opportunities, as he shoots 51.1 percent from the field, overall.
In its loss to Western Illinois, IUPUI managed a bit more success offensively by nailing 48 percent of its shots from the floor. However, the Jaguars were outscored 28-18 in the paint and were outrebounded 33-25 in the nine-point loss.
Defense has also been a weakness for IUPUI. The Jaguars are allowing 76.5 points per game and a 49.1 opponent field goal percentage. Each of those marks is among the 10 worst in the country. IUPUI scores at a slower rate than Omaha though by putting in 67.4 points per game on 44.5 percent shooting. IUPUI is also the worst rebounding team in the Summit League (28.9 pg). Injuries have really hampered the Jaguars as reliable scorers like John Hart (14.2 ppg) and Ian Chiles (20.2 ppg) have missed considerable time. Mitchell Patton (13.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg) has done his best to pick up the slack as has Donovan Gibbs (10.4. ppg. 6.3 rpg) who is a 55.2 percent shooter.
With conference wins hard to come by, IUPUI may be able to exploit the defensively weak Mavericks and pull out a rare victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IUPUI 75, Nebraska Omaha 72
02/09 10:33:00 ET