The Northern Kentucky Norse take on the Oakland Golden Grizzlies in the Horizon League Tournament semifinals on Monday night in Indianapolis. The Golden Grizzlies come into the game as the higher seed, but the Norse have the overall better record.
Both teams are 5-5 in their last 10 games, with Northern Kentucky looking to boost its overall seeding as it heads into the NCAA Tournament and secure a place in the Horizon League final with a win over the Golden Grizzlies.
For those betting online, Northern Kentucky is a 2½-point favorite, with the over-under set at 147½.
Northern Kentucky Looking to Survive
The Norse are 14-10 overall and finished with the fourth-best record in the Horizon League at 11-7. In their last outing against Detroit Mercy, the Norse won 70-69, with freshman forward David Bohm securing the win with a last-second layup. Freshman guard Marques Warrick led the Norse in scoring against the Titans, putting up 20 points.
Overall, Northern Kentucky has averaged 72 points per game throughout the season and has a team shooting average of 45.2% from the field. The Norse are led by Trevon Faulkner, a junior guard who is averaging 16.3 points per game, and Marques Warrick, a freshman guard, who is averaging 16.1 points per game.
Struggling defensively, the Norse allow an average of 71.4 points per game, as opponents shoot 44.9% from the floor against Northern Kentucky.
Oakland Looking For a Way to Win
The Golden Grizzlies are 11-7 overall and 10-10 in the Horizon League, putting them at fifth in the conference standings. In their last outing, the Golden Grizzlies defeated the Youngstown State Penguins in overtime 87-83.
Rashad Williams led the Golden Grizzlies to victory over the Penguins with 22 points, shooting 46% from the field and 50% from 3-point range. Overall, the Golden Grizzlies have played well offensively but struggle defensively, allowing a season average of 82 points per game. Jalen Moore leads the Grizzlies in scoring, averaging 17.9 points per game, followed by junior guard Rashad Williams, averaging 13.4 points per game.
Trends to Watch
Both teams struggled defensively this season, with Oakland being the worst of the two on the defensive end, allowing 82 points per game. All expectations are for this battle to be a close affair but the Norse should cover. Look for them to take the edge with a slightly better defensive record this season, only allowing 71 points per game.
Northern Kentucky has a 12-10-1 ATS record for the year and is 2-6-1 when it is a 1.5-point favorite. The Golden Grizzlies have been covering the spread this season routinely, with an ATS record of 15-12.
Defense is likely to be optional in this matchup, with both lineups featuring high-scoring and fast players. Even with the bad defense, the Golden Grizzlies have managed to survive and make it to the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament due to a high-powered offense.
In its last three games, Oakland have been averaging a season high of 86.3 points per game, showing that the team is in tournament mode and has hit an offensive stride.
If the Golden Grizzlies are able to hit a good offensive stride, they could cause trouble for the Norse, allowing them into the final of the Horizon League Tournament with a win on Monday night.
When you’re doing your college basketball picks, the Norse are a safe bet to cover, with their better defense. The Norse will need to slow down the Oakland offense if they expect to take the win here and advance to the final.