Northern Iowa guard AJ Green (4) reacts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against St. Bonaventure, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Olean, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bryan Bennett)
Richmond is a 1.5-point favorite against Northern Iowa on Sunday
Richmond has lost three of its last five
Read below for analysis and a betting prediction
Northern Iowa (2-4) is a 1.5-point home underdog against Richmond on Sunday at 2 pm ET on ESPN+. The Panthers had one of the best preseason victories among mid-majors in November, a 90-80 win at then-No. 16 Saint Bonaventure on Nov. 27.
Richmond (4-4) is the second choice to win the Atlantic 10 at +440, behind St. Bonaventure. The Spiders return four multi-year starters, all of whom all have scored at least 1,000 points.
Richmond vs Northern Iowa
Over 147.5 (-110)
Northern Iowa Panthers
Under 147.5 (-110)
Odds from FanDuel on Dec. 4
Veteran Richmond has played an aggressive schedule with games against Power 6 opponents Mississippi State and Maryland and strong mid-majors Utah State and Drake.
The Spiders are 0-4 in those matches, losing close games to Mississippi State and Maryland in the Baha Mar Bahamas holiday tournament, but they covered the 4.5-point number in a 73-70 loss to Missouri Valley preseason favorite Drake in Des Moines, one of their two true road games. One of Northern Iowa’s losses is to No. 10 Arkansas.
Green Means Go
Northern Iowa fourth-year junior AJ Green is again a top candidate for Missouri Valley player of the year after winning the award in 2019-20. He missed all but three games last season after undergoing surgery on both hips.
A 6’4 perimeter threat, Green is averaging 18.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists this season, and he has made 22 of 52 three-point attempts for a team that believes in the outside shot.
Green is 14th in Division I with 3.7 three-point makes per game, and he had nine of the Panthers’ 15 threes in the 90-80 upset at St. Bonaventure a week ago. Green had 35 points against the Bonnies and made six threes in the first half, five in the final 3:01.
The Panthers average 10.8 threes per game, which is 18th in Division I, and are 39th in three-point efficiency, making 38.9 from distance.
2022 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
Noah Carter, a 6’6 sophomore who entered the transfer portal last summer before pulling his name out, is averaging 10.3 points off the bench and has 10 threes. Outside shooter Trae Berhow has made 13 of 30 threes, 43.3 percent. He hit 44.6 from distance in 2019-20 but dropped to 33.6 a year ago with Green to draw defenders.
Green had 30 points including five threes and Carter had 20 in a 71-69 loss at Bradley in the Missouri Valley season opener the last time out.
Here’s a look at the Preseason All-#MVChoops First Team ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/BVXjclRhKR
— MVC Basketball (@ValleyHoops) October 20, 2021
Spiders’ Super Seniors
Richmond has been here before, although it has not translated into early success against a difficult schedule.
Four fifth-year seniors — guards 5’9 Jacob Gilyard and 6’4 Nick Sherod and forwards 6’10 Grant Golden and 6’7 Nathan Cayo — are joined by forward 6’7 Tyler Burton, the Atlantic 10 Most Improved Player in 2020-21. Burton leads the team with a 17.6 scoring average, just ahead of Golden (17.5), who missed the NIT last year because of a broken hand.
The 5’9 Gilyard is averaging 12.4 points and 5.0 assists, and he tied the NCAA Division I career steals record at 385 in the Spiders’ 73-64 victory at Wofford the last time out. Gilyard had 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and seven turnovers against Wofford,
Burton, Golden and Gilyard had double-doubles when the Spiders beat Northern Iowa 78-68 at home last year. Burton had 21 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, Golden had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Gilyard had 12 points and 11 assists.
Preseason First Team #A10MBB – Jacob Gilyard, @SpiderMBB
🏀 2nd Team All-Conference
🏀 #A10MBB All-Defensive Team
🏀 National semifinalist for Defensive Player of the Year
🏀 CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team
📰: https://t.co/fvegFBP7q1 pic.twitter.com/yKKE1HJ0M8
— Atlantic 10 MBB (@A10MBB) October 27, 2021
By the Numbers
Northern Iowa is 2-4 ATS, 1-1 as an underdog favorite. Richmond is 4-4 ATS, 2-0 on the road. The Spiders are No. 67 in KenPom in adjusted efficiency margin and 33rd in offensive efficiency against a schedule that is ranked the 56th most difficult in Division I. Northern Iowa is 123rd in efficiency against a schedule that is ranked the 17th most difficult.
Richmond is 15-7 in road games over the last three seasons. The Spiders have won two of three games in the series and the last two, last season’s 78-68 home victory when Northern Iowa was without Green. In what shapes up as a last possession game, the home team with Green and the points is the play this time.
The pick: Northern Iowa +1.5 (-110)