Northern Iowa Panthers vs Drake Bulldogs – NCAAM March 5

(7) No. Iowa (10-15, 7-11)  vs. (2) Drake (24-3, 15-3)

  • Event: MVC Quarterfinals
  • Time: 3 PST – 5 CST – 6 EST
  • Place: Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Mo.
  • TV: ESPN+

Opening Tip:

The Drake Bulldogs have had the most stellar year in the history of program, but they know that they cannot fall in the Missouri Valley Tournament and must make it to at least the championship game to be a solid pick for the NCAA Tournament. Drake is the second seed in Arch Madness for only the second time in history and the second time in the last three seasons.

Northern Iowa’s season went south when leading scorer A.J. Green went down just three games in. The Panthers have been on a roll of late as they have played Illinois State three times in a row and UNI swept the Redbirds, including a 65-60 conquest in the opening round of the tournament last night.

The Panthers hold a 48-26 lead in the series, but Drake has won the last three and the two teams have split the last ten. Drake took an 80-59 win at home on Feb. 10 and then won at UNI, 77-69, one week later.

Vs. The Spread:

Northern Iowa:

  • The UNDER has been the play in 7 of the Panthers’ last 9 games
  • Northern Iowa is 2-5 ATS in it’s last 7 games vs Drake
  • UNI is 14-6 SU in it’s last 20 games vs. the Bulldogs

Drake:

  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of Drake’s last 5 games
  • The Bulldogs are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games
  • The Bulldogs are 17-3 SU in their last 20 games

Last Time Out:

Northern Iowa kicked off the MVC Tournament with a 65-60 win over Illinois State as Austin Phyfe had a season high 21 points and Tywhon Pickford had 11 points and nine rebounds. UNI took the lead for good at 55-54 on a jumper by Bowen Born with 5:51 remaining.

Drake was upset 67-61 in it’s season finale at Bradley last Saturday. The Bulldogs looked like they were ready to skip to Arch Madness as they were only 2-of-17 from three as their five-game winning streak was snapped. Joseph Yesufu led the Bulldogs with 21 points.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Northern Iowa +6½ (-113) +230 O 140 (+105)
Drake -6½ (-107) -275 U 140 (-125)

Advantage, Northern Iowa:

Northern Iowa PanthersThe Panthers can put the heat on the Bulldogs with their mid-range game which averages 51.1 percent from the field behind Austin Phyfe, who shoots 57.5 percent from the floor as the Bulldogs opponents have averaged 49.6 percent inside the arc. Northern Iowa is still a three-point arsenal as they have 186 makes on the season as Trae Berhow and Bowen Born, who have 43 and 45 makes, respectively.

Key Panthers Stat:

UNI has to go hard to the boards and the Panthers are second in the MVC with a (+4.1) rebounding margin in league play. Phyfe goes for 8.2 per game while Noah Carter is second with 6.2. The offensive glass in getting extra shots can be a huge advantage for the Panthers.

X-Factor:

How well can the Panthers defend as normally they are one of the tougher defenses in the league? This season, they give up 46 percent from the floor and opponents average 71.5 percent per game in league play.

Advantage, Drake:

Drake Bulldogs LogoThe Bulldogs are going to look to break down this Northern Iowa defense although injuries to leading scorer ShanQuan Hemphill and Roman Penn have thrown a wrench into what was a machine for most of the season. Hemphill is day-day-today with a foot injury and will likely be a game tie decision. Penn is out for the year as he also has an injured foot. Both of those players were first team all-MVC selections. Joseph Yesufu was the Sixth Man of the Year and is a key in the three-point game at 37.9 percent while averaging 11.9 points per game.

Key Bulldogs Stat:

Drake’s D.J. Wilkins made 61-of-145 three-points shots and will join Yesufu to formulate the Bulldogs attack should Hemphill still be shelved. Getting to the rim on the Panthers hasn’t been tough for opponents as they have allowed a 54.2 two-point percentage (304th/NCAA).

X-Factor:

Tremell Murphy i(9.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg) s a 6-6 power forward who uses his athleticism to find shots as shoots 48.5 percent from the field. He and 6-10 Darnell Brodie (7.7ppg, 7.0 rpg) can be a force inside because they have different styles of games, but they produce.

Winner: Drake (-6½) 78, Northern Iowa 67

The Bets
Drake -6½
-107
Drake
-275
OVER 140
+105
Sub Categories:
Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.