Fox News - Fair & Balanced

Sports


Northern Iowa (3-1) vs. Stanford (3-2)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Friday, November 23, 3:30 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Imperial Arena (4,500) -- Paradise Island, Bahamas. Television: None. Home Record: UNI 3-0, Stanford 2-1. Away Record: UNI 0-0, Stanford 0-0. Neutral Record: UNI 0-1, Stanford 1-1. Conference Record: UNI 0-0, Stanford 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: The Northern Iowa Panthers and the Stanford Cardinal will go head- to-head at Imperial Arena in the Bahamas in the consolation round of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament.

The winner will play either Memphis or Minnesota in the fifth-place game on Saturday, while the losers will face off in the seventh-place game.

UNI was fortunate enough to start its season on a three-game homestand and it took full advantage with wins over Wartburg (103-50), Toledo (84-81), and North Dakota (72-47). The Panthers drew the second-ranked Louisville Cardinals in the opening round of the tournament and they gave it all they had, erasing a double-digit deficit to make it a one-possession game in the final minute, but they ultimately fell, 51-46.

Stanford began the season with three straight wins before suffering back-to- back defeats. First, the Cardinal welcomed Belmont into their home gym on Nov. 18 and lost, 70-62, then they fought No. 13 Missouri wire-to-wire in the opening round of this tournament before eventually falling, 78-70.

This will mark the first-ever meeting between the two squads.

The Panthers appeared to be dead in the water in their opening round matchup with Louisville, down 18 points with just 12 minutes remaining, but they managed to go on a 20-4 run to bring their deficit to just two with three and a half minutes left. However, they would not hit another field goal the rest of the game. It was a disappointing effort for UNI on the offensive end of the floor as they committed six more turnovers (22) than field goals made (16), and only Marc Sonnen (11 points) and Jake Koch (10 points) scored in double figures. The performance was especially frustrating considering it was making more than 51 percent of its field goals coming into the matchup. Deon Mitchell remains the team's top scorer on the season (14.8 ppg), despite putting up just six points the last time out.

With the start of the season has come plenty of rust for Stanford, as it is connecting on just 39.1 percent of its field goals through five games, including a lowly 23.1 percent from three-point range. It was much of the same against Missouri, as the Cardinal made just 37.5 percent of their shots overall and committed 18 turnovers, which spoiled a great effort on the defensive end of the court, holding Missouri to 36.6 percent shooting. Chasson Randle was able to rise above the team's shooting struggles and nearly single- handedly keep his team in the game by making 7-of-14 field goal attempts for 22 points. Dwight Powell was the only other Cardinal in double figures, scoring 18 points, while adding 10 rebounds and three blocks. Not so coincidentally, Randle (14.8 ppg) and Powell (13.4 ppg, 7.8 rpg) are the team's top scorers, with Josh Huestis (9.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.8 bpg) bringing a strong presence to the paint area.

Considering the opening round performances, we could be in for an offensive struggle in this one. UNI has plenty of talent to be a major factor in the Missouri Valley Conference this season, but none of its players are as dynamic as Randle or Powell, giving Stanford the slight edge.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Stanford 65, Northern Iowa 60

11/23 10:50:34 ET