Missouri State (5-12) at Indiana State (10-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 16, 7:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hulman Center (10,200) -- Terre Haute, Indiana. Television: WTWO, ESPN3.com. Home Record: MSU 4-5, ISU 5-1. Away Record: MSU 1-5, ISU 3-4. Neutral Record: MSU 0-2, ISU 2-1. Conference Record: MSU 3-2, ISU 3-2. Series Record: Missouri State leads, 37-21.
GAME NOTES: The Hulman Center in Terre Haute is the site for Wednesday's Missouri Valley Conference clash between the Missouri State Bears and the Indiana State Sycamores.
Missouri State's season has been marred by a dreadful eight-game losing streak in November and December, but things have been looking up of late, as it has won three of five games since the start of MVC play.
The Bears faced one of their toughest tasks yet in hosting nationally-ranked Creighton last Friday, and they were thoroughly overmatched in the 74-52 loss. They were outshot from the field, 57.4 percent to 37.9 percent, and they made good on only 5-of-23 attempts from 3-point range. Keith Pickens was one of the few players with a positive performance in the setback, as he shot 5-of-11 from the floor for 11 points, and while Anthony Downing and Gavin Thurman netted 10 points apiece, they combined to shoot just 8-of-24.
Indiana State's season has been much more consistent, as it sits with a 10-6 record, with three of those defeats coming against nationally-ranked opponents in New Mexico (77-68 in OT), San Diego State (62-55) and Creighton (79-66).
The Sycamores are also 3-2 in the MVC, but they are coming off a disappointing 76-71 loss to Southern Illinois last Saturday. They had a solid day at both ends of the court, making 43.6 percent of their field goal attempts while holding SIU to just 41.2 percent, but they ultimately fell on the wrong side of the scoreboard by committing a game-high 19 turnovers. Manny Arop tallied 16 points and six assists in the defeat, while Jake Odum logged 15 points, six assists and five rebounds. Lucas Eitel shot 5-of-9 from 3-point range for 15 points, and Justin Gant pitched in with 10 points.
Although Missouri State holds a 37-21 lead in the all-time series, Indiana State has won the last six meetings.
While Missouri State has been able to pick up the scoring pace of late, the primary reason for its lackluster 5-12 record is its underachieving offensive attack, as it owns the MVC's worst field goal percentage (.397), free throw percentage (.622) and scoring offense (59.4 ppg). Downing nets a team-high 14.4 ppg, and while Marcus Marshall puts up 10.1 ppg, he is questionable for Wednesday's game with a sprained ankle, meaning Christian Kirk (8.4 ppg) would need to step up as the team's second scoring option. No MSU player averages more than 5.0 rpg, and the team is minus-4.8 in rebounding margin.
Surprisingly enough, Indiana State has only been marginally better than Missouri State at the offensive end of the court this season, as it shoots just 42.8 percent from the field for 68.2 ppg, but it been able to pull out several close games, winning four contests by four points or less. Odum is perhaps the MVC's most versatile guard, as not only does he lead the team in scoring with 14.4 ppg with great percentages from the field (.485), 3-point range (.417) and the foul line (.772), but he also contributes 4.8 rpg, 4.4 apg and 1.6 spg. Arop is the only other Sycamore to average double-digits with his 13.0 ppg, although R.J. Mahurin (8.9 ppg) and Gant (8.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg) are also consistent performers.
Missouri State may have turned its season around recently, but it still hasn't played well on the road (1-5), meaning Indiana State should have no problem outlasting the Bears in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana State 68, Missouri State 59
01/16 10:34:12 ET