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Illinois State (16-12) at Utah State (18-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270) -- Logan, Utah. Television: none. Home Record: ISU 10-5, Utah State 11-4. Away Record: ISU 5-6, Utah State 7-3. Neutral Record: ISU 1-1, Utah State 0-0. Conference Record: ISU 7-9, Utah State 9-5. Series Record: Illinois State leads, 3-2.
GAME NOTES: The Illinois State Redbirds will travel to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum to face the Aggies of Utah State in a BracketBusters matchup on Saturday night.
Illinois State most recently took a 79-62 loss at Evansville. It was the second consecutive loss for the Redbirds after a four-game win streak. This will be the second of a two-game road swing before heading home to host Missouri State in Missouri Valley Conference action.
The Aggies are coming off a 70-68 loss at instate rival, BYU. It was the second loss in the last three games for Utah State after a three-game win streak and leaves the team at 18-7 overall, but 9-5 in Western Athletic Conference play, good for just fourth place in the standings.
The Redbirds lead the all-time series 3-2 and took the last meeting 61-57 in the first round of the 2008 NIT.
Although the game against the Purple Aces ended in defeat, it was a big night for Jackie Carmichael who scored his 1,500th career point and grabbed his 900th rebound. He had 14 rebounds in the game and seven points. Tyler Brown was the only Redbird to score in double figures with 21 points, while knocking down five 3-pointers.
Carmichael is both the leading scorer and rebounder for Illinois State, averaging 17.8 ppg and 9.4 rpg, while shooting 52.7 percent from the floor. Brown adds 16.8 ppg and is the only other Redbird averaging in double-figure scoring on the season. The Redbirds are offensive-minded and play well on that end, posting 75.2 ppg, shooting over 45.0 percent from the field.
In the loss to BYU, Spencer Butterfield supplied a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, while also dishing out five assists. Jarred Shaw added 13 points and eight rebounds, while Marvin Jean tallied 11 points. The Aggies really struggled from beyond the arc hitting on just 5-of-21 attempts. Although they held BYU to just 35.2 percent shooting from the field, they allowed BYU to get 33 attempts at the free-throw line, where the Cougars knocked down 28.
With leading scorer Preston Medlin (16.3 ppg) going down with a broken wrist, Shaw has been the key source of production for Utah State of late, averaging 14.0 ppg and 8.2 rpg, while shooting 54.4 percent from the field and being the only Aggie to start all 25 games. Butterfield adds 12.0 ppg and 6.3 rpg. The squad plays solid on both ends of the court, shooting 47.6 percent from the field, yet holding opponents to just 41.2 percent. They also maintain nearly a +10 margin in rebounding.
This will be a matchup between two solid teams in which either one could win depending on who shows up. With Utah State's strong success and home and Illinois State's inability to stay consistent on the road, the Aggies should take this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah State 71, Illinois State 67
02/23 10:39:31 ET