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Illinois State (12-9) at Bradley (12-9)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 29, 8 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Carver Arena (11,164) -- Peoria, Illinois. Television: ESPN3.com, MVC-TV. Home Record: Illinois State 8-4. Bradley 9-2. Away Record: Illinois State 3-4, Bradley 3-5. Neutral Record: Illinois State 1-1, Bradley 0-2. Conference Record: Illinois State 3-6, Bradley 4-5. Series Record: Bradley leads, 61-53.

GAMES NOTES: Winners of three straight, the Illinois State Redbirds will pull into Carver Arena for a Missouri Valley Conference clash with the Bradley Braves on Tuesday night.

The Redbirds outlasted Evansville 67-62 on Saturday to pick up their third straight win after a streak of six losses. The win streak has begun to right the ship for Illinois State which is now 12-9 on the season, but just 3-6 against conference foes. That has the Redbirds tied with Drake for eighth in the MVC standings.

Bradley was absolutely dominated by then No. 20 Wichita State on Saturday in a 73-39 defeat. The loss was the second straight for the Braves who have an identical 12-9 mark overall. The loss to the Shockers came on the road so a return home could be a big help, as the Braves are 9-2 at Carver Arena.

This is the first matchup of the season between these intrastate foes. Illinois State has been the dominant squad of late with wins in seven straight meetings but Bradley still holds the all-time series lead, 61-53.

Jackie Carmichael and Tyler Brown carried Illinois State to its win over Evansville. Carmichael finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds for yet another double-double and Brown netted 23 points, while hitting 12-of-17 shots from the free-throw line.

The duo of Carmichael and Brown has been the force that has driven Illinois State on the offensive end where the Redbirds have had a great deal of success. Entering this contest the Redbirds are both the second highest scoring (74.8 ppg) and shooting (4.63 FG percentage) team in the MVC. The Redbirds also rank second in assists (15.6 pg). Carmichael (18.1 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 2.1 bpg) has been an absolute monster in the paint and if it weren't for Creighton's Doug McDermott, would have the inside track at MVC Player of the Year. Brown (15.7 ppg,) has been stellar as a second option and backcourt complement to Carmichael's exploits in the paint.

The Braves just couldn't find a way to stop or score on the Shockers on Saturday. The Braves shot just 31.9 percent from the field while allowing Wichita State to net 51 percent of its shots. The Braves were badly outplayed on the interior as they had a 44-21 deficit in rebounds and a 32-20 disadvantage on points in the paint.

Walt Lemon Jr. (14.2 ppg, 3.6 apg) had a reasonably solid game scoring (14 points) but hit just 4-of-11 shots and managed just a single assist. The 6- foot-3 guard had scored at least 20 points in the previous two contests and had not had fewer than three assists in a game since mid-December. Dyricus Simms-Edwards (11.3 ppg, 3.0 apg) teams with Lemon Jr. in the backcourt as another consistent scorer and distributor, while Tyshon Pickett (10.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg) handles the interior for a team that lacks size, especially after the knee injury to Will Egolf (8.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg) earlier this season. As a team Bradley has not had the type of success on the offensive end that Illinois State has enjoyed. The Braves are scoring just 66.2 points per game while shooting 43.3 percent from the field. Both of those marks are among the three worst in the MVC.

Without much of a presence on the interior, Bradley will have trouble dealing with Carmichael and as it showed on Saturday against Wichita State Bradley is susceptible to getting bullied in the paint.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois State 73, Bradley 70

01/29 10:40:47 ET

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