EMU at Illinois-Chicago preview
This afternoon the EMU men’s basketball team heads to Chicago to face the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames. EMU is 4-0 all-time against the Flames, winning three meetings in the early 1980s plus one last November. However, this year the Flames look like they might be the better team, based on their superior record against a significantly more difficult schedule. Based on that, the Flames are favored by about 9 points today.
|Strength of Schedule||#211||#137|
|RPI Top 50||0-2||1-1|
Let’s take a look at the team.
Both teams favor a slow, defensive game, with Illinois-Chicago averaging about 64 possessions per game and EMU just above 61. If that’s not the sort of game you like to see, you probably don’t want to watch today!
Based on both teams’ preferred pace and tendencies, I think this is going to be a lot closer than the 9ish-point spread suggests. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that this will be a one-possession game inside the final minutes; that’s just how these teams like to play.
The Flames are not a team to be trifled with. Like EMU, they own a win over a B1G team, in their case Northwestern (7-3 with their other losses coming at the hands of Maryland and Butler).
As I wrote a few weeks ago, this will be a trial by fire for EMU. But if the Eagles are prepared and hit their shots like they did in the few minutes before and after halftime against Purdue, this is certainly a game they’re capable of winning.