Indiana State (16-9) at Bradley (14-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carver Arena (11,442) -- Peoria, Illinois. Television: Sycamore Television. Home Record: ISU 10-1, BU 11-3. Away Record: ISU 4-7, BU 3-7. Neutral Record: ISU 2-1, BU 0-2. Conference Record: ISU 9-5, BU 6-8. Series Record: Bradley leads, 49-29.
GAME NOTES: The unpredictable Indiana State Sycamores close out their two-game road trip on Saturday with a visit to Carver Arena for a Missouri Valley Conference bout against the Bradley Braves.
The Sycamores coasted to a 68-53 decision over Bradley in the first matchup of 2012-13 between these schools. Indiana State's win narrowed the Braves' all- time series lead to 49-29. Manny Arop and Justin Gant tallied 13 points apiece for ISU in the first matchup, while Walt Lemon Jr. netted 15 points for Bradley, which went 21-of-66 (31.8 percent) from the field in the setback.
Indiana State came out of a pair of difficult contests against Northern Iowa (59-58) and Wichita State (68-55) with wins, before being defeated 74-71 by a sub.500 Drake squad in overtime on Feb. 2. The Sycamores then rattled off wins over Creighton (76-57) and Southern Illinois (66-65) only to drop a 67-65 decision at Missouri State on Tuesday. The loss to the Bears pinned ISU into a tie for second place in the MVC standings with Doug McDermott and the Creighton Bluejays.
Jake Odum was sensational in the loss to Missouri State for ISU on his way to 21 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Arop added 15 points, but the rest of the squad went a collective 10-of-34 from the floor. ISU had its streak of five games of 46 percent field goal shooting or better snapped despite an 8- of-20 display from distance and a solid 13-of-14 clip at the free-throw line. The Sycamores are one of the top defensive teams in the MVC with an allowed average of only 64.8 ppg on 40.7 percent shooting from the field. Odum is a steady floor general with averages of 14.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.5 steals per tilt to pace a unit that features four players producing 7.9 ppg or more.
Bradley suffered a 79-59 loss to Illinois State on Feb. 13 to mark its third loss in four games. The Braves have descended to a 14-12 overall record, including its 6-8 MVC standing with their recent slump. The team that owns both the seventh best scoring offense (66.6 ppg) and defense (66.1) in the league continued its trend of mediocrity against the Redbirds. Bradley shot just 35.4 percent from the field while Illinois State went 18-of-20 at the free-throw line to build a lead as great as 23.
Lemon scored a team-best 15 points, while Jake Eastman and Tyshon Pickett combined for 21 in the loss to the Redbirds. Lemon is leading Bradley in scoring with 15.0 points and 3.5 assists per game while Dyricus Simms-Edwards and Pickett both carry double-digit scoring averages into Saturday as well. The Braves will be a much improved unit once senior center Will Egolf breaks out of his slump. The 6-foot-9 post player has gone 6-of-26 from the field over the span of the past three games.
Indiana State's loss to Missouri State may have been caused by the hangover of back-to-back thrilling victories over Creighton and SIU. The Sycamores have not shown the same tenacity on the road with just four wins in 11 true away tests, but they will need to find a way to leave Peoria victorious to remain in the hunt for the MVC crown.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana State 68, Bradley 63
02/16 11:02:19 ET