Northern Iowa Panthers Odds to Win the 2015 NCAA Tournament with Picks and Predictions
by George Monroy - 3/12/2015
The Northern Iowa Panthers needed a furious second-half comeback during the Missouri Valley Conference Championship to secure their first postseason appearance in four seasons and validate a ridiculous 30-3 record that saw the squad win 19 of their last 20 games. The Panthers have six NCAA Tournament appearances in the school's history and were able to make a Sweet 16 run during their last outing in 2010. They ended up a missed shot or two away from going even deeper.
The Missouri Valley Conference is expected to have two teams receive an NCAA Tournament invite, with Northern Iowa taking the automatic bid, while No. 12 Wichita State grabs one as well. The conference's sudden competitiveness with two Top 12-ranked schools is prompting many basketball experts to place a little more stock in the Panthers and view them as a team to watch in the NCAA Tournament. Let's take a closer look at Northern Iowa's national title odds with predictions and analysis.
2015 Northern Iowa Panthers National Title Storylines
Northern Iowa went into the second half of their conference championship game with an 18-pont deficit and the possibility of letting a tournament invite slip through its fingers after producing one of the best seasons in the school's recent history. Seth Tuttle, the squad's senior forward, had other ideas, however, and helped spark a 25-4 run that gave Northern Iowa the win and MVC Championship. Tuttle ended the game with 15 points, nine rebounds and three assists, while shaking off multiple double teams. Jeremy Morgan also hit three consecutive 3-pointers during second-half run.
The Panthers seem to be on course to grab a No. 3 or 4 seeding in their bracket and continue to be viewed as a scary group to face because of their excellent and efficient 3-point shooting. Northern Iowa has five players shooting better than .400 behind the arc and two more players hitting their long-range attempts at better than a .370 mark. Overall the group is ranked 13th in the nation in 3-point shooting with an average of .398 percent as a team.
2015 Northern Iowa Panthers National Title Odds and Trends
Northern Iowa is currently receiving +6500 national title odds at Sportsbook.ag and is tied for the 16th-best odds in the nation. The school is on course to end up in the top half of the seeding come tournament time but will continue to get larger odds than most people might expect. Mid-major conference teams are usually underrated as most bettors stick with the Kentuckys and Dukes of the world.
The Panthers produce an excellent 19-9-3 ATS mark for the season and excelled on the road, where they went 9-2-1 ATS. They also produced a 15-12 totals mark and went "over" in seven of 10 home matchups. Northern Iowa has covered seven of its last nine matchups and in all three of its MVC tournament games.
2015 Northern Iowa Panthers National Title Odds and Predictions
Northern Iowa is a sharp-shooting team, and when the squad gets hot they can score with any program in the nation. That ability to score points in a hurry and overcome any deficit is what makes the Panthers so intriguing heading into a single-elimination tournament. The group does not necessarily rebound the ball well and is ranked 320th in the nation for boards, which could be the biggest reason why they do not make a deep run.
But if the ball bounces the right way in a few games, Northern Iowa is talented enough to take advantage of an opponent's mistakes-they currently shoot field goals, 3-pointers and free throws at an excellent rate. Mid-major schools do not win national titles, but every year at least one team makes a deep tournament run. 2015 could be Northern Iowa's year.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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