Oskeim Sports previews Thursday’s college basketball game between Illinois-Chicago and Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Oskeim recommends taking the points with the Panthers as one of his free NCAA basketball picks for January 17.
Oskeim also provides free NCAA basketball picks on two additional games on Thursday, including the Big Ten Conference clash between Michigan State and Nebraska.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee enters off a 93-84 loss to Detroit, which is significant in that the Panthers are a profitable 11-4 ATS in their last fifteen games following a loss and 7-3 ATS in their last ten affairs after allowing more than 90 points in their previous affair.
The Panthers have dominated the recent history of the series with Illinois-Chicago, winning 18 of the last 24 meetings between the teams. The Panthers now hold a 32-26 advantage in the all-time series with the Flames at the NCAA Division I level (46-27 all-time dating back to 1969).
The underdog represents an 80% against-the-spread winning proposition in this series and my math model only favors Illinois-Chicago by 0.76 points after taking into account home court advantage. The Flames are just 1-7 SU and 2-6 ATS on the road this season where they are allowing 83.6 points per game.
Illinois-Chicago is a substantial liability at the foul line where it is converting just 63.5% of its attempts (326th in the nation).
In contrast, the home underdog is making 76.7% of its free throws, which is the 9th-best mark in Division I. The Panthers are even better of their home floor where they are making 78.4% of their free throws.
The Panthers recently converted 80 percent or better from the charity stripe in five consecutive games and currently lead the Horizon League with their free throw percentage (234-of-305).
The most promising development has been with senior Vance Johnson, who has averaged 11.9 points and 5.4 rebounds since December 6. Johnson is shooting 51.5 percent from the field (35-of-68) in that span and 90.4 percent (47-of-52) from the free throw line.
Fellow senior DeAndre Abram, who sat out last season after transferring from George Mason, has paid immediate dividends for the Panthers in 2018-19. Abram has amassed five double-doubles (3rd-most in the Horizon League) and leads the team in rebounds with 7.3 per game.
Despite losing four starters from last year’s squad, Milwaukee head coach Pat Baldwin brought in Miami Ohio transfer Jake Wright to bolster his backcourt. Wright’s resume includes 92 career games played (29 starts), 714 points and 192 made 3-pointers across three seasons (The Citadel (1), Miami Ohio (2)).
The veteran is averaging 8.1 points per game this year and is close to reaching the 1,000-point barrier in his collegiate career.
Finally, the Flames have been home since December 30 and their abysmal road record speaks for itself. Grab the points with Wisconsin-Milwaukee as one of Oskeim Sports‘ Free NCAA Basketball Picks for Thursday, January 17.
Oskeim Sports’ Free NCAA Basketball Picks for January 17:
- Wisconsin-Milwaukee (+4) over Illinois-Chicago
- Middle Tennessee State (+4) over Texas-San Antonio
- Nebraska (+2) over Michigan State