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WATCH LIVE: No. 23 Northern Iowa visits VCU on NBCSN

Northern Iowa media day

Northern Iowa seniors, from left, Nate Buss, Max Martino, Deon Mitchell, Marvin Singleton and Seth Tuttle are seen at media day Monday, Sept. 29, 2014, in Cedar Falls, Iowa. (AP Photo/Waterloo Courier, Matthew Putney)


With all five starters back from last season’s team, Ben Jacobson’s 23rd-ranked Northern Iowa Panthers entered the 2014-15 campaign with expectations of contending for the Missouri Valley Conference title. And the Panthers have looked the part thus far, winning their first nine games of the season with All-MVC forward Seth Tuttle (15.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg) leading the way.

Saturday night the Panthers will look to win their tenth straight as they visit VCU in a game that can be seen at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on NBCSN. Shaka Smart’s Rams will look to use “Havoc” to force the tempo, and in front of a raucous Siegel Center crowd things can get away from a visiting team quickly if they don’t value the basketball.

The VCU tandem of Treveon Graham and Melvin Johnson is averaging a combined 34.3 points per game, and as a team the Rams are scoring nearly 75 points per contest. The key for VCU will be how they defend in the half court, as opponents are currently shooting 47.3% from the field. If UNI can take care of the basketball, they’ll have a shot at matching the best start in school history. Norm Stewart’s 1963-64 UNI team also won its first ten games.