- The IUPUI Jaguars (3-4, 2-4 Horizon) host the Wright State Raiders (9-4, 7-3 Horizon) in the first of back-to-back games Friday, Jan. 22
- Both teams are coming off victories entering the weekend series in Indianapolis
- Read below for odds, analysis, and our best bet for this matchup
The IUPUI Jaguars (3-4,2-4 Horizons) are coming off a two-game road sweep of Northern Kentucky as they host the Wright State Raiders (9-4, 7-3 Horizon) in the first of back-to-back games Friday, Jan. 22 in Indianapolis. Tip is set for noon ET inside the Indiana Farmers Coliseum.
The Jags are coming off their first-ever road wins against the Norse after not starting the season until Dec. 12. A second extended COVID-related pause then followed for Byron Rimm’s team, with IUPUI not playing its second game until New Year’s Day.
Meantime, Wright State is currently second in the Horizon League standings behind Cleveland State after securing the program’s first outright regular season title last season,
Wright State vs IUPUI Odds
|Wright State||-11.5 (-110)||-900||Ov 147.5 (-110)|
|IUPUI||+11.5 (-110)||+610||Un 147.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Jan. 21 at FanDuel.
The Raiders may trail the Vikings by two games in the league standings, but they’re both 9-4 overall and rated as the Horizon’s top team by nearly 100 spots on KenPom. Scott Nagy’s group is No. 83 — a whopping 90 spots ahead of Cleveland State. The pair account for the only Horizon League programs in the top-200.
As for IUPUI, the Jaguars are just happy to be healthy. The program had its Horizon League series against Fort Wayne and Detroit Mercy canceled before returning to action Jan. 1. The series against Wright State will be IUPUI’s first game back at their normal home venue — Indiana Farmers Coliseum — since the Dec. 12 opener because of coronavirus issues.
Despite its current two-game win streak, the Jaguars are heavy underdogs at home to the Raiders.
Living Up to the Hype
Wright State entered the 2020-21 campaign as the preseason favorite to win the league title. So far, so good.
The Raiders opened the year with an 80-64 loss to Marshall, then ripped off seven victories in a row (including five in league play). Further bolstering their bid for back-to-back Horizon titles, the Raiders have at least won or split every league series so far, going 2-0-3 against league competition. That includes the back-end of a two-game set — an 85-49 blowout win — over the Vikings.
Four Raiders finished in double digits and 11 different players found the scoring column overall last night as we gave head coach Scott Nagy his 100th career victory at Wright State! Let’s check out the highlights: ??#RaiderUP | #GetRowdy pic.twitter.com/8HwXO0kL8c
— Wright State Men’s Basketball (@WSU_MBB) January 17, 2021
6-foot-6 sophomore guard Tanner Holden, the team’s leading scorer (averaging 17.1 points per game), poured in a game-high 23 points in the 36-point victory.
Meantime, preseason league player of the year Louden Love has been solid as well. The winner of the award last year is averaging 14.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
If Holden and Love keep up their stellar play, those no reason to think these Raiders can’t continue their quest to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2018.
The Jags have quite the dynamic duo themselves in Marcus Burk and Jaylen Minnett. They’re one of only four combos in the country to return after averaging at least a combined 35 points per game or better last season. Burk and Minnett are putting up a combined 31.4 points per contest this season, but they’re only seven games in due to the COVID pauses.
These guys had a fairly busy weekend [email protected] & @1kJaymoneyyy were cookin ??#HLMBB #JagsROAR pic.twitter.com/Jh9DbyJuZB
— IUPUI Men’s Basketball (@IUPUIMensBball) January 17, 2021
Burk put up 23 in last Saturday’s 65-63 win over Northern Kentucky, while Minnett had 18. Like Holden and Love, the backcourt duo entered the season with heavy expectations (Burk was a preseason first-team all-league selection) and have lived up to them so far.
Burk’s 21.3 points per game last season were the most by an IUPUI player since George Hill averaged 21.5 per game in 2007-08. The 6-foot-3 guard from Indy is going for 17.9 points per game in 2020-21. Meanwhile, Minnett connected for a school record 115 3’s last year. He’s going for 13.1 points per outing this season.
The pair are certainly capable of hanging with Wright State’s talented tandem.
Unfortunately though for IUPUI, history is not on its side Friday. Wright State has utterly dominated this series. The Raiders are 15-3 all-time against the Jags, winning five straight and eight of the last nine meetings overall. If you take away that one IUPUI win Feb. 23, 2018, the last time the Jaguars beat the Raiders was over 35 years ago on Jan. 8, 1986.
KenPom has this one projected as an 80-68 Raider win. The odds have them as 11.5-point favorites. I love what Burk and Minnett are doing. But series history and overall roster experience has me going with the favorite here.
The pick: Wright State -11.5 (-110)