Created:Friday, February 22, 2013 11:45 p.m.CDT

NIU vs. Eastern Illinois men's hoops preview capsule:


Eastern Illinois (8-20) at Northern Illinois (5-19)

3 p.m., NIU Convocation Center

Radio: 1360 WLBK, 98.9 FM

Last meeting: EIU defeated NIU, 67-55, on Nov. 20, 2011

Scouting the Panthers: EIU sits in fourth place in the Ohio Valley Conference West Division at 5-10, though the Panthers did beat OVC West leader Murray State, 79-70, on Feb. 16. EIU junior forward Sherman Blanford leads the Panthers in scoring and rebounding with 10.8 points per game and 6.5 boards per contest. He's one of three players in double figures, along with junior guard Morris Woods (10.6 ppg) and sophomore forward Josh Piper (10 ppg).

Outlook: This afternoon's game will be the Huskies' ninth BracketBuster appearance. It's also NIU's annual Huskie Alumni Day, with the alumni game beginning at 12:30 p.m. A week ago, NIU held an eight-point lead with four minutes left at Western Michigan, but the Broncos scored the final 16 points of the game to get the victory. Freshman point guard Travon Baker had a career-high five assists, and has had eight assists and just two turnovers in the Huskies' past two contests.

– Steve Nitz,

Will NIU football win the MAC this season?