Illinois State (13-10) at Drake (11-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 6, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Drake Knapp Center (7,002) -- Des Moines, Iowa. Television: MC22, ESPN3.com. Home Record: Illinois St. 9-4, Drake 7-3. Away Record: Illinois St. 3-5, Drake 3-5. Neutral Record: Illinois St. 1-1, Drake 1-3. Conference Record: Illinois St. 4-7, Drake 5-6. Series Record: Illinois State leads, 48-29.
GAME NOTES: The Drake Bulldogs shoot for a third straight win on Wednesday night as they entertain the Illinois State Redbirds in Missouri Valley Conference action at the Drake Knapp Center in Des Moines.
Coming into the week the Bulldogs were tied with the likes of Bradley, Northern Iowa and Missouri State for fifth place in the conference standings with a record of 5-6. Drake was caught up in another tight matchup over the weekend, but managed to pull out a 74-71 overtime victory against Indiana State at home.
As for the Redbirds, they've produced four wins in the last five games in order to move to 4-7 in league play after opening the conference slate with six straight defeats. The squad registered an overwhelming 83-47 win against Southern Illinois last Saturday to complete the season sweep of the Salukis.
Drake won the first meeting of the season with ISU on the road last month by a score of 82-77, as Ben Simons and Chris Hines both tallied 23 points, while Jordan Clarke (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Joey King (11 points, 11 rebounds) both logged double-doubles for the Bulldogs. As a result, the all-time series now numbers 48-29 in favor of Illinois State.
Illinois State showed no mercy against the Salukis the last time out, limiting the visitors to a mere 30.5 percent shooting from the floor and 7-of-26 behind the 3-point line. Offensively, the Redbirds were paced by Tyler Brown who dropped in 16 points in just 20 minutes of action, while Jackie Carmichael carved out a double-double with 15 points and a team-best 11 rebounds. The hosts made good on 28-of-35 at the free-throw line, compared to a mere 4-of-9 for the Salukis. A potential double-double waiting to happen every time he takes the floor, Carmichael is leading the team in both scoring (17.9 ppg) and rebounding (9.4 rpg), not to mention coming up with 47 of their 93 blocked shots as well. Brown checks in with 15.5 ppg which means between he and Carmichael they account for a large portion of the unit's 75.2 ppg.
Ben Simons stepped up and produced 21 points for the Bulldogs over the weekend, leading four players in double figures, as the hosts came away with the thrilling overtime win against Indiana State at the Knapp Center. Jordan Clarke responded with 13 points and six rebounds, Joey King 12 points and five boards off the bench, while Richard Carter tacked on another 11 points in an effort to offset his four turnovers. Simons, the leading scorer for the Bulldogs in two of the last three games, is currently the only one on the roster putting up double digits on a regular basis with his 14.4 ppg, which has a lot to do with his playing almost 35 minutes per game. There are seven other players scoring at least 6.0 ppg which allows for some flexibility with an offense that is posting 72.0 ppg.
Both of these teams have the potential to put up substantial numbers at the offensive end of the floor, which means it will be the defense that will probably determine the outcome. Expect the Bulldogs to tighten up in front of the hometown crowd as they shoot for the season sweep.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Drake 69, Illinois State 64
02/06 10:38:04 ET