What you should know about Northern Illinois (9-2, No. 166 KenPom):
Northern Illinois has a pretty record, but the Huskies have no wins against the top 150 in KenPom. Three of their wins are against non-Division I programs. Their two losses are to a poor Missouri team and a mediocre Ohio State squad.
Still, the Huskies have won six games against teams ranked higher than UIC in KenPom, so seven on the road they deserve to be the favorite Tuesday.
Northern Illinois is a poor shooting team, but it takes care of the basketball, rebounds 36 percent of its misses and gets to the foul line. All of that has allowed the Huskies offense to keep up with a slightly above average defense.
On the defensive side of the ball, Northern Illinois forces turnovers in 21.2 percent of possessions and holds opponents to 42 percent shooting on two-pointers. The Huskies’ weak point is on the perimeter, where opponents have made 39.4 percent of their 3-point attempts.
The main player to look out for on Northern Illinois is sophomore center Marin Maric. The 6-foot-10 Croatian is having a breakout year, averaging 13.1 points and 7.9 rebounds. He will provide a big test of UIC’s frontcourt.
What you should know about UIC (2-8, No. No. 341 KenPom):
UIC does not have the necessary offensive strengths to upset Northern Illinois. The Flames are a poor 3-point shooting team at 32.6 percent, although senior guard Gabe Snider displayed his ability to catch fire with six treys in last week’s win against Purdue-Calumet.
The Flames also turn the ball over plenty, which plays right into Northern Illinois’ hand. UIC’s main ball handlers — senior Paris Burns, freshman Dominique Matthews and freshman Dikembe Dixson — have turnover rates ranging from 18.4 percent to 24.2 percent.
UIC’s strongest offensive point has been its ability to crash the glass, particularly on offense. The Flames have solid size in their frontcourt with three players standing 6-foot-8 or taller. Maric will be the biggest player on the floor, and the best rebounder. However, Northern Illinois has only one other true big man in 6-foot-8 Jaylen Key.
How to watch, listen, stream and bet:
Start time: 7 p.m. CT
Radio: ESPN1000 Chicago
Line: Northern Illinois -9
Sagarin: Northern Illinois -9.5
KenPom: Northern Illinois 73, UIC 66 (77%)