NCAA Basketball Picks: Green Bay To Win Outright At Rival Milwaukee

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, January 28, 2016 7:13 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 7:13 PM UTC

I hit on a small-school NCAA hoops prediction early this week with Lafayette covering vs. Bucknell. Let's try again for Friday night's matchup between Green Bay and Milwaukee. The Panthers are 3-point home favorites on BetOnline NCAA basketball odds.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Green Bay ML
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


Phoenix Can Score, Struggle To Defend
Green Bay (13-8, 5-3 Horizon League) has alternated wins and losses over its past seven games -- the Phoenix started Horizon League play at 3-0 but haven't won back-to-back games since. They are off a barnburner, a 115-108 overtime win at home vs. Detroit on Monday. The game never should have gone to OT. Green Bay led by five points, 92-87, with 28 seconds left following an old-fashioned 3-point play from Carrington Love. After some back-and-forth free throws, Detroit found itself down four with under 10 seconds left, but the Titans' Anton Wilson hit a tough 3-pointer with six seconds remaining while amazingly also being fouled. He hit the free throw to tie and Love missed on the other end.

The result wasn't much in question in the OT as Detroit appeared spent just getting there. The Phoenix scored the first 14 points of the extra session. Jordan Fouse had a career-high 30 points for Green Bay and 14 rebounds. Love chipped in 28 points.

The 115 points were the most for the program since moving to Division I in 1981-82. No Green Bay game ever had both teams score 100 or more points. The Phoenix are averaging a whopping 103 points over the past three, the first time since 1971 they have scored at least 90 in three straight. Green Bay ranks second nationally in scoring at 86.2 points per game. But it's among the worst defensive teams in allowing 81.3 ppg. The Phoenix have allowed at least 100 five times this season, matching the total in school history entering the year. Green Bay lost the previous four: by 13 at East Tennessee State, by 30 at Georgia Tech, by 10 at Youngstown State and by 16 vs. Oakland.  

“You look at the NBA ticker at the end of the night, and they are not even scoring 115 every game. I like playing this style. It’s exciting, but we have to play defense," Fouse told the local media after  Monday's game.

Green Bay has made four NCAA Tournaments in school history but not since 1996. The Phoenix are 10-8 against the spread on NCAA Basketball odds this season and 6-5 on the road.


Will Panthers Have Springs?
Milwaukee (14-7, 5-3 Horizon League) had a two-game winning streak snapped on Monday, losing 82-79 at home to Oakland -- the Golden Grizzlies' first-ever win at Milwaukee (0-6 previous). The Panthers had a look to tie at the end but Austin Arians' 3-pointer rimmed out. Milwaukee won the rebounding battle handily, including 16 offensive boards, but allowed Oakland to hit 11-for-17 from long range (seven from Max Hooper). Both teams made 17 free throws. Jordan Johnson led UWM with 20 points and nine assists. He is second in the nation in assists per game at 8.0, behind Oakland's Kahlil Fielder (8.9 apg).

Milwaukee played Oakland without second-leading scorer Akeem Springs. The junior injured his knee the game before against Detroit. He wasn't ruled out until Monday afternoon so that could be a good sign that Springs returns Friday. He averages 14.3 points per game and is also second on the team in assists at 5.2 per game. J.R. Lyle would likely start again if Springs can't. Lyle had season-high 13 points vs. Oakland.

The Panthers have two impressive road wins this season, beating Big Ten teams Wisconsin (68-67) and Minnesota (74-65). They also only lost by eight at ranked Notre Dame. Green Bay also played at Wisconsin, losing by five. Milwaukee is 8-10-1 ATS on NCAA Basketball picks and 3-3 at home. The school has made four NCAA Tournaments all-time, last in 2014.


Last Season
Green Bay swept, winning both by double digits. The game in Milwaukee was a 79-63 victory. The Phoenix used a 21-2 run to take a commanding 42-19 lead that never got under double digits again. The one in Green Bay saw the Phoenix win  81-70, taking a 22-point lead. Milwaukee won both meetings the previous season.


NCAAB Free Pick
Green Bay, which I feel better about if Springs sits again for Milwaukee. The Phoenix are 4-0 ATS in the past five meetings. The Panthers are 0-7 ATS in their past seven at home. The road team has covered five straight in the series. 

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