Illinois State (13-5) at Indiana State (11-8)
GAME NOTES: The Illinois State Redbirds travel to Terre Haute to take on the Indiana State Sycamores in a Missouri Valley Conference clash at the Hulman Center.
The Redbirds hosted No. 4 Wichita State on Wednesday and dropped a 70-55 decision to the undefeated Shockers. That loss snapped a three-game win streak for Illinois State.
The Sycamores beat Loyola-Chicago on Wednesday, 65-61. Overall, Indiana State has won eight of its last 10 bouts.
The Redbirds lead the all-time series, 59-50. The teams split the season series last year, with each winning on its home court.
Daishon Knight had 12 points to lead Illinois State in the loss to Wichita State. The Redbirds led essentially the entire first half, and held a 28-25 edge at the break. Wichita State opened the second half on an 18-5 flurry to pull away. The Shockers shot 11-of-27 from 3-point range and held the Redbirds to 1-of-25 shooting from behind the arc.
Knight, who has come off the bench in six of his 19 appearances, leads the team in scoring with 13.1 ppg, even though he is shooting just 36.9 percent from the field. Zach Lofton, another part-time starter, chips in with 11.4 ppg, but his accuracy from the floor is absolutely abysmal at just 29.9 percent. A big part of the problem is his insistence on letting fly with half of his 107 field goal attempts from 3-point range where he has hit a mere 25.2 percent. As a team, Illinois State is dead last in the conference in field goal percentage (.403). They do lead the league in steals (7.2 spg).
Behind an 18-point performance from Khristian Smith, the Indiana State Sycamores edged out the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers in their last outing. Smith shot 5-of-11 from the field and 7-of-8 from the foul line for Indiana State. Jake Odum and Brandon Burnett also helped out the visitors with 14 and 10 points, respectively. Both teams shot poorly in the first half, with Loyola netting 37 percent of its field goal tries and ISU a meager 27.6 percent, but the Sycamores took a 28-27 lead into the break. Indiana State took the lead for good with just over five minutes to play and put the game away by shooting 3-of-4 at the free-throw line in the final 17 seconds. The Sycamores held a firm 41-28 advantage in the rebounding battle, and outscored Loyola at the stripe, 19-10.
Odum leads the Sycamores in scoring this season with 12.3 ppg on 41.9 percent shooting. Odum also tops the team with 93 assists, second-best in the league, to go along with 28 steals. Manny Arop isn't far behind Odum's average at 11.4 ppg on 46.8 percent shooting. The Sycamores average 74.6 ppg on 47.3 percent shooting from the floor, both good for second in the MVC, and they are holding opposing teams to 68.0 ppg on 44.6 percent shooting from the field.
The Sycamores shoot the ball very well and the Redbirds struggle to defend from the field. That is a bad matchup for Illinois State, so expect the home team to come away with the victory.
GAME NOTES: The Illinois State Redbirds travel to Terre Haute to take on the
Indiana State Sycamores in a Missouri Valley Conference clash at the Hulman
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hulman Center (10,200) -- Terre Haute, Indiana.
Television: WTWO. Home Record: Illinois St. 7-3, Indiana St. 7-0. Away Record:
Illinois St. 3-4, Indiana St. 7-3. Neutral Record: Illinois St. 0-0, Indiana
St. 1-1. Conference Record: Illinois St. 4-3, Indiana St. 6-1. Series Record:
Illinois State leads, 59-50.Game Date and Time
Saturday, January 25, 6:05 p.m. (ET)Predicted Outcome
Indiana State 75, Illinois State 69