#655 North Dakota +6.5 over Milwaukee 7:00 PM CT
Milwaukee won just nine games last season including closing the season with 11 consecutive Horizon League defeats. That was a veteran team and only two starters have returned. Illinois transfer Te’Jon Lucas was a big addition for the program and the team has much more promise this season.
The 3-1 start has featured two non-division I wins however and also includes a home loss to Western Michigan. The only division I win came Friday vs. UMKC, a nine-point result despite a big rebounding and free throw shooting edge. North Dakota rates similarly to the two teams Milwaukee has split with but is 1-2 on the season having had to play road games with Gonzaga and Valparaiso.
The numbers are meaningless for the Fighting Hawks so far this season given the tough assignment with Gonzaga and this is a team in a coaching transition after a long run under Brian Jones as Paul Sather is leading the team this season. This squad has a mix of experience with two seniors and two freshmen in the starting five but this year’s team is less reliant on 3-point shooting and should have opportunities against the shaky defense for the Panthers.
The presence of Lucas has overvalued Milwaukee so far this season and he can’t do it all and the limited size and depth for the Panthers could be a problem in this matchup as another close game looks likely.
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