Northern Iowa Panthers vs. Saint Louis Billikens Pick – NIT Tournament March 16, 2022

The Northern Iowa Panthers and Saint Louis Billikens are at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis for an opening-round matchup in the NIT Tournament. Northern Iowa was chased off the court versus the Loyola Chicago Ramblers in a 66-43 loss on March 5.

That was an ugly performance from the offense, as they couldn’t buy a bucket versus Loyola after a 78-65 win over Illinois State a day earlier in the Missouri Valley Tournament. Northern Iowa finished 19-11 and 14-4 in the conference.

You would have thought Loyola Chicago won the Missouri Valley, but the Panthers had the best record in the conference. Northern Iowa was the No. 1 seed in the tournament.

Loyola Chicago, a team that has played sleeper in the NCAA Tournament, advances to the dance once again. The Panthers had NCAA Tournament plans, but they’ll have to settle for a lesser tourney again.

The same goes for Saint Louis, who is coming off a second-round loss as well. On Saturday, the Billikens were dropped versus Davidson in an 84-69 game. Davidson is a very good team, so this wasn’t the most surprising loss, but Saint Louis was expected to show more fight.

The Billikens had a solid season with a record of 23-11. Going to the NIT wasn’t in their pre-season goals, but a deep run here wouldn’t be counted as a failure of a year for the Billikens.

Saint Louis has won four of their previous five attempts, with the loss against Davidson overshadowing what good they were doing recently. After losing on a neutral court, Saint Louis is back home on their floor in the NIT.

Head below for our free Northern Iowa vs. Saint Louis prediction on March 16, 2022.

Northern Iowa Panthers vs. Saint Louis Billikens Betting Odds and Team Statistics:

The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Northern Iowa Panthers +3.5 (-107) +155 Over 148 (-105)
Saint Louis Billikens -3.5 (-113) -175 Under 148 (-110)
Team Data Northern Iowa Panthers Saint Louis Billikens
Overall Record 19-11 23-11
ATS Record 14-15-0 20-12-1
Away/Home Record 8-4 14-4
ATS Away/Home 5-7-0 11-5-1
Points Per Game 75.4 77.5
Points Against Per Game 70.9 67.9
Field Goal % 46.6 46.3
Three Point % 35.7 37.3

Northern Iowa vs. Saint Louis Prediction:

Northern Iowa will have to shore up the defensive floor if they’re going to get to the next round of the NIT.

They have left holes open defensively for teams to exploit this season. This isn’t why Loyola beat them, though.

The Panthers scored just 63 points in a 66-43 loss. The defense played well in that one, which hasn’t been usual for Northern Iowa this season.

That was a departure from what they’ve typically been doing on defense. Northern Iowa is 284th in the NCAA with a 45.1% field goal percentage against.

Teams have scored an average of 70.9 points per game for 233rd in the NCAA versus the Panthers. They haven’t successfully defended the three, either, as opponents are shooting 34.8%.

The defensive effort was good against Loyola Chicago, but can we trust them in back-to-back games? They conceded at least 70 points in five of their previous six before that one.

Northern Iowa Panthers vs. Saint Louis Billikens Betting Trends:

Northern Iowa
  • 2-5 ATS in their previous seven games
  • 2-5 ATS in their previous seven games after a loss
  • 5-16 ATS in their previous 21 games after a loss by more than 20 points
  • 4-9 ATS in their previous 13 games on a Wednesday
  • OVER is 10-4 in thier previous 14 games on the road
Saint Louis
  • 4-0-1 ATS in thier previous five games as a betting favorite
  • 6-1-1 ATS in their previous eight games after a loss
  • 5-1-1 ATS in their previous seven games
  • 3-0-1 ATS in their previous four games at home
  • 5-1 overall in their previous six games versus the Missouri Valley Conference

Saint Louis has the defense advantage on Northern Iowa, and they have home court. These offenses are a bit of a wash, but the Billikens have been the clear better defense.

Saint Louis has been efficient at home, with an average of 62.6 points against per game. They’ve held teams to an impressive field goal percentage of 39.2% on their campus.

Conversely, Northern Iowa has gotten hammered for over 75 points per game on the road. It doesn’t sit well for the Panthers that Saint Louis’ offense is also hot from home.

The Billikens have notched 78.1 points per game on 48.3% shooting, while Northern Iowa is scoring 75.3 points a game on 46.1% shooting on the road.

I could make an argument for Northern Iowa, but a stronger one for Saint Louis in this NIT matchup. Northern Iowa will fight, but expect Saint Louis to pull away for a 77-70 win or thereabout.


Northern Iowa vs. Saint Louis Pick
Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of TheSportsGeek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at TheSportsGeek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, and horse racing. Prior to writing for TheSportsGeek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily only at TheSportsGeek.

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