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Northern Illinois (4-25) at Eastern Michigan (14-17) (ET)
Monday, March 05, 2012
Latest Line: Northern Illinois +8.5 O/U: 108.5
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FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (8,800) -- Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Television: None. Home Record: Northern Illinois 4-11, Eastern Michigan 9-3.

Away Record: Northern Illinois 0-14, Eastern Michigan 5-13. Neutral Record: Northern Illinois 0-0, Eastern Michigan 0-1. Conference Record: Northern Illinois 3-13, Eastern Michigan 9-7. Series Record: Northern Illinois leads, 49-31.

GAMES NOTES: The fifth-seeded Eastern Michigan Eagles will host the 12th- seeded Northern Illinois Huskies in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament at the Convocation Center.

Northern Illinois enters the conference tournament after a terrible season in which the Huskies managed just four wins in 29 games, including a 3-12 mark in conference play. The Huskies lost six of the last seven games and finished the regular season with a 62-51 loss to Ball State in Saturday's season finale.

Eastern Michigan won the MAC West Division but with a record of just 9-7 in- conference, the Eagles could do no better than the fifth seed. The Eagles will still have a bad taste in their mouths after being routed 76-51 in the regular season finale on Saturday which came after a three-game winning streak.

Surprisingly this was a tight season series. Although Eastern Michigan won both games, they were decided by a combined total of 10 points, with neither team managing to score more than 50 points. The Huskies still lead the all- time series with 49 wins in 80 total matchups.

Both teams shot right around 40.0 percent in Northern Illinois' matchup with Ball State on Saturday but the Huskies committed a game-high 15 turnovers and were outscored 11-5 from the free-throw line in a double-digit loss.

Northern Illinois has been on the losing end of a number of double-digit decisions this year and as a result, team's scoring margin stands at a dismal -12.6. The Huskies are the second worst scoring team in the conference (55.4 ppg) and are last in field goal percentage (.367) and assists (9.5 apg). The Huskies were further crippled with the loss of Tim Toler (10.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg) earlier in the season to suspension. In his place, freshman forward Abdel Nader has stepped in and is currently leading the team at 10.8 points per game. Nader had 16 points to lead the way on Saturday and managed to score in double figures in the last five games of the season, while averaging 17.3 points per game over the last three contests. After Nader the scoring drops off significantly with Askel Bolin (6.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg) the next best option.

Eastern Michigan's defense did not look as strong as it did most of the season in the loss to Toledo on Saturday. The Eagles surrendered a 46.2 field goal percentage to the Rockets and were outscored by a 27-9 margin from three-point range. Eastern Michigan wasn't much better from inside the arc netting only 31.3 percent of its shots overall in the game.

The Eagles pride themselves on their defense much more than their offense. In fact, Eastern Michigan has been at the two extremes of the spectrum with a MAC-leading defense that allows 58.8 points per game to go with the conference's worst scoring output (53.3 ppg). The Eagles are not just at the bottom of the MAC but the nation as a whole as they are scoring better than only two other teams in Division I this season. Darrell Lampley (13.3 ppg, 3.2 apg) is the only real scoring threat on the roster and was again at the top of the stat sheet on Saturday, scoring 13 points as the only player in double figures. Antonio Green (7.3 ppg) is the team second leading scorer while Jamelle Harris (6.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg) turned in a solid season on the boards.

Eastern Michigan might not be able to score well but Northern Illinois was no better in the regular season. With the Eagles' stellar defense they should be able to move on to the next round.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Michigan 53, Northern Illinois 42 03/05 10:33:59 ET
March 5, 2012, at 10:34 AM ET scores and news are provided in cooperation with The Sports Network.