There is a lot of small conference basketball on the schedule Friday, but there is one game that sticks out in terms of high stakes. It’s a rivalry game in Champaign, Illinois between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Illinois Fighting Illini. Both teams go into Friday night ranked, as the No. 7 Hawkeyes will look to keep their spot in the top-10 tonight.
A loss against No. 22 Illinois, and there’s a change Iowa gets dropped out the next time rankings are released. Illinois is a worthy opponent for Iowa on the road, so we’ll see how it goes in that marquee matchup. That is the only ranked matchup on the board with two ranked teams. No. 22 Saint Louis is also in action against an unranked Richmond Spiders squad on the road.
In any event, there is still a lot of college basketball to digest on Friday night. The majority of action you are going to find is from the smaller conferences, which can occasionally provide some value if you dig deep enough. The Omaha Mavericks and South Dakota Coyotes meet in a Summit League showdown at the Sanford Coyote Sports Center in Vermillion.
Rivals South Dakota and South Dakota State are setting up a situation where one of them could win the conference and go to the NCAA Tournament. They are the only undefeated teams in the conference as of Friday morning. South Dakota State owns the better overall record at 10-3 and 4-0 in the conference, but South Dakota is 6-0 in the Summit League for a couple of more wins. The Coyotes head into Saturday night with a record of 8-6 overall.
South Dakota is going into this one on a heater with seven straight wins. Their last loss was back on December 18 against the undefeated Drake Bulldogs. Two of their six losses have been against Drake this season. Not the worst team to lose against. They also have a loss against Nebraska, 76-69, in a tight contest on December 1.
It’s been an ugly season for Omaha, but at least they have three wins up on the board. The Mavericks are down the board in the Summit League with a record of 2-12. Only Denver has been worse in the conference, as they look to snap out of an eight-game losing streak on Friday. They’re coming off a 80-66 loss against North Dakota State on January 9. Head below for our free Omaha vs. South Dakota pick on January 29, 2021.
Omaha Mavericks vs. South Dakota Coyotes NCAA Betting Odds:
Omaha vs. South Dakota Prediction:
Omaha is looking for something to go their way on Friday night on the road in South Dakota. They are on an eight-game losing streak after beating SIU Edwardsville on December 5 by a score of 65-63. That was against a 2-3 SIU Edwardsville team, so don’t get too excited. The most impressive effort from Omaha this season had to be a 60-58 loss against Kansas State on December 29. No, Kansas State is not a good team, but at least it was something for the Mavericks to feel good about.
Omaha has netted 65 points per game for 309th in the NCAA. The offense isn’t where the Mavericks have been at their worst, though. Omaha has been getting grilled defensively at a clip of 78.9 points against per game. That puts the Mavericks in 325th in the country. They’ve predictably been money burners, with an ATS mark of 5-9 going into this clash on Friday night in South Dakota. The Coyotes have been effective at limiting teams from the field. Opponents are shooting just 40.1% from the field against South Dakota for 49th in the NCAA.
The Coyotes have conceded an average of 67.6 points against per game, 105th in the NCAA. Their defensive energy has improved tenfold at home, where they’re allowing just 57.5 points per game. How much motivation do you think Omaha has to travel to Vermillion for this game? Their season is in the tubes, and there isn’t going to be a quick fix on Friday night against the Coyotes. Expect Tamos Kamateros to impose his will on Omaha in this one. He is likely going to be too much for Omaha to silence in the paint. South Dakota should be able to notch a 13 to 15-point win.