IUPU-Fort Wayne (19-9) at IUPUI (6-22)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Jungle (1,215) -- Indianapolis, Indiana. Television: HTSN. Home Record: IPFW 12-2, IUPUI 5-9. Away Record: IPFW 5-7, IUPUI 1-11. Neutral Record: IPFW 2-0, IUPUI 0-2. Conference Record: IPFW 7-4, IUPUI 1-10. Series Record: IUPUI leads, 25-13.
GAME NOTES: The IUPU-Fort Wayne Mastodons will embark on a three-game road trip to finish off the season, beginning with a Summit League matchup with the IUPUI Jaguars at the Jungle on Saturday afternoon.
IPFW has stumbled a bit down the stretch, with losses in three of its last four games. The Mastodons are still an impressive 19-9 overall, but they trail both North Dakota State and South Dakota State in the conference standings (7-4). They visit Western Illinois next.
This is the last home game of the season for IUPUI, which has been anything but impressive this season. The Jaguars, losers of 10 of their last 11, are just 6-22 overall, with one win in 10 chances against Summit League foes. They visit Nebraska-Omaha and Western Illinois in their final two games of the campaign.
On Jan. 25, these in-state rivals met in Fort Wayne where IPFW defended its home floor with a 90-75 victory. The win was the second straight for the Mastodons against the Jaguars, who lead the all-time series, 25-13.
IPFW did not end up on the winning side last time out, falling in a 73-62 decision at home to Denver last Saturday. The Mastodons sank 50 percent of their shots from the field, which was a bit off the pace set by the Pioneers (.545), who claimed a 33-18 scoring edge from 3-point range.
After performing at a high rate on offense most of the season, IPFW has hit a snag of late. The Mastodons have scored 62 or fewer points in three of their last four games. However, they are still third in the Summit League in scoring (76.1 ppg) and second in field goal percentage (.485). Luis Jacobo (14.6 ppg) anchors the offensive efforts as one of three players scoring in double figures. He struggled against Denver, with 10 points on 3-of-12 from the floor. Steve Forbes (12.1 ppg) and Mo Evans (10 ppg) have also proven to be reliable scorers.
IUPUI also lost at home last Saturday, as it was defeated by South Dakota, 71-67. After entering halftime tied at 32-32, the Jaguars trailed by as many as 10 points in the second period. They managed to pull within one with 10 seconds to play on a 3-pointer from Elijah Ray. However, the comeback attempt failed with Marcellus Barksdale missing a pair of free-throws and 3-point attempt in the final seconds.
Although their record may not indicate it, the Jaguars are not the worst offensive team in the conference. They are sixth in the league in scoring (67.3 ppg), despite shooting the worst percentage from the field (.439) among Summit League members. However, the Jaguars lost leading scorer Ian Chiles (15.9 ppg) after he underwent hand surgery at the end of January. In his place, Mitch Patton (12.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Khufu Najee (10.1 ppg) are the best scoring options. Patton tallied 16 points against South Dakota and Najee had nine. Barksdale (8.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 3.8 apg) doesn't score much, but his production in other areas is critical.
It stands to reason that IUPUI will get up for this game, considering it is its final home game against a significant rival. However, assuming the Mastodons wake up from their offensive lull, the Jaguars aren't potent enough on offense to pull off the upset.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IUPU-Fort Wayne 77, IUPUI 69
02/22 10:52:43 ET