NCAA Basketball Pick: Detroit Titans vs. Illinois-Chicago Flames

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 5:00 AM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 5:00 AM UTC

Not only are the Illinois-Chicago Flames 0-12 in Horizon League play, they will also be looking to snap a 15-game losing streak overall when they host Detroit on Tuesday.

The home team has a real chance to get its first conference win and snap a long losing streak Tuesday night in Horizon League action when the Detroit Titans (12-15, 4-10 away) pay a visit to those Illinois-Chicago Flames (5-21, 2-9 home) at UIC Pavilion in Chicago, IL at 8:00 ET in a game available on ESPN3.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Illinois-Chicago as a small home underdog for this contest with the current line at +2 with odds of -108.

Illinois-Chicago is certainly having a lost season record-wise as the Flames remain a winless 0-12 inside the Horizon League and have now lost 15 straight game overall to drop to 5-21 on the year. However, they have actually had quite a few close calls along the way and they are actually 13-11 ATS for the season and 6-4 ATS in their last 10 games, and they probably would have won their last game if not for a vast disparity at the free throw line.

Detroit is not exactly on the level of Illinois-Chicago, but the Titans still seem like dicey propositions as road favorites vs. anybody considering they are only 5-7 in the conference, 4-10 on the road and are a poor shooting team this year that does not expect to get many second chance opportunities tonight vs. a UIC team whose one best trait is defensive rebounding.

Illinois-Chicago comes off of a 59-56 road loss at Youngstown State in a game effort where they held the Penguins to 36.0 percent shooting but could not hold on to an eight-point halftime lead. Youngstown may have gotten some help with some serious home cooking while eking out that victory though, as what really stands out about that game is that the Flames went only 3-for-4 from the foul line while Youngstown State went 20-for 30!

In fact, the Penguins won despite making only 18 field goals on 50 attempts over the entire game. Perhaps it is now the Flames’ turn to get some of those beneficial calls from the referees returning home, and considering the losing streak, they would certainly take it.

Now, Illinois-Chicago is by no means a good team, but it continues to give full effort and the recent ATS mark and slew of close games suggest that the Flames are better than their record. And one area where they have actually excelled is in ranking an excellent 26th in the country in defensive rebounding percentage. The Flames covered the spread in a 74-68 loss at Detroit the first time these clubs met, and a key there was the Titans being limited to eight offensive boards.

Detroit lost a lot of talent from the teams that won at least 20 games each of the last two seasons, so the 12-15 record right now is not very surmising. The Titans have been decent enough defensively ranking 109th in the country in efficiency while holding teams to a 49.4 percent effective field goal percentage. However, the Titans’ offense has been like pulling teeth with most of the firepower of the last two years departed.

The Titans are ranked 248th in the country in offensive efficiency and 313th in effective field goal percentage, thanks to making just a poor 45.8 percent of their two-point shots and 30.8 percent from beyond the three-point arc. And for good measure, Detroit is dead last in the Horizon League in free throw shooting during conference play at 67.8 percent.

Thus, this team has trouble scoring points even under the best of circumstances, and now they figure to have limited second-chance opportunities as besides Illinois-Chicago surprisingly being one of the better defensive rebounding teams in the country, the Titans are just 152nd in offensive rebounding percentage.

Thus, unless Detroit shoots an uncharacteristically high percentage on its initial shots of each possession, Illinois-Chicago seems poised to snap its losing streak and snare its first conference win on Tuesday.


NCAA Basketball Pick: Illinois-Chicago +2 (-108)

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