High/Low Picks For Tuesday, February 21

Matthew Jordan

Monday, February 20, 2017 6:45 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 20, 2017 6:45 PM UTC

The biggest spread on the opening NCAA basketball board for Tuesday was No. 25 Wichita State hosting Evansville in the Missouri Valley Conference, while the smallest number was a pick’em between Indiana & Iowa in the Big Ten. Here are my picks.

Evansville At No. 25 Wichita State (-21.5)

One of the best conference races you might not be aware of is in the Missouri Valley as both Wichita State and Illinois State are tied for the lead at 15-1 in MVC play. They spilt the two regular-season meetings. Have both have done enough to deserve an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament? Obviously only one could potentially win the conference tournament. ESPN’s Bracketology has Wichita State as a No. 9 seed in the Big Dance and Illinois State among the “first four out.” Wichita State brings a 10-game winning streak into his home finale – it closes the regular season on Saturday at Missouri State, a team the Shockers already beat by 18. This past Saturday, WSU stomped what had been a red-hot Northern Iowa team 73-44. UNI, which had won nine of its last 10 games, had just 18 second-half points. The 29-point win was the largest winning margin for either side in 58 meetings. WSU shot 43.4 percent to UNI's 27.5 percent and outrebounded the visitors 48-23. It’s the eighth straight season Wichita State has won 25 games.

Evansville is just playing for conference tournament positioning as it is 5-11 in the MVC and in a three-way tie for seventh with Bradley and Drake. The Purple Aces had a four-game winning streak snapped Saturday in an 84-72 loss at Bradley. Trailing by 14 in the second half, Bradley outscored Evansville 40-17 in the final 14 minutes. The Braves shot 57.1 percent in the second half. Jaylon Brown led the Aces with 22 points. He leads the conference in scoring at 20.3 ppg. Evansville lost 82-65 at home to Wichita State on Jan. 17. Shaquille Morris had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Shockers, who trailed 46-42 with 13 minutes to go. Brown had 28 points for Evansville. The road team has covered four of the past five in the series. I’ll say that trend continues.

NCAAB Free Pick: Evansville +21.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Indiana At Iowa (Pick’em)

It seems a forgone conclusion that if Indiana misses the NCAA Tournament that Tom Crean will be fired – it would likely be the best job to come open nationally this coming offseason. At 15-12 overall and 5-9 in the Big Ten, the Hoosiers aren’t Dancing as things currently stand. ESPN lists them among the “next four out.” The remaining schedule isn’t that kind, with a home game against Northwestern and then trips to No. 14 Purdue and Ohio State before the Big Ten Tournament. Indiana enters this one on a four-game skid after a 75-74 loss at Minnesota last Wednesday. The Hoosiers didn’t box out the Gophers’ Akeem Springs as he missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds but was able to get his own rebound and hit a baseline jumper with 3 seconds to go for the victory. Crean has dealt with some injuries this season, but many teams do. In the 14 games OG Anunoby played before going down for the season, IU shot 50.2% from the field, 39.8% from 3-point range and averaged 84.7 points.  In the 13 he has missed, IU has shot 45.8 % from the field, 34.7% from deep and averaged 75.6 points.

Iowa (14-13, 6-8) has no shot at an at-large NCAA bid. The Hawkeyes fell at home to a bad Illinois team on Saturday, 70-66 for their third loss in a row. Iowa led by four at the half but had two lengthy scoring droughts after intermission. The Fighting Illini would hold Iowa to just three field goals in the final 7:37 and shot 55.2 percent in the second half.  The Hawkeyes’ star is Peter Jok, who is the lone significant holdover from last season’s NCAA Tournament team. He leads the Big Ten in scoring at 20.4 ppg but since returning from a back injury on Feb. 5, Jok is just 5-of-20 on 3-pointers.

This is the only scheduled meeting between these schools. The Hoosiers defeated Iowa, 85-78, in Bloomington, and 81-78, in Iowa City last season.  IU has won its last two games at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

NCAAB Free Pick: Indiana At Pick’emBest Line Offered: Heritage

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