Illinois State (1-3) vs. Vermont (1-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 27, 11:15 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: War Memorial Gymnasium (4,200) -- San Francisco, California. Television: None. Home Record: ISU 0-2, Vermont 1-1. Away Record: ISU 1-1, Vermont 0-4. Neutral Record: ISU 0-0, Vermont 0-0. Conference Record: ISU 0-0, Vermont 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams off to slow starts get together in the opening round of the Golden Gate Challenge, as the Illinois State Redbirds take on the Vermont Catamounts.
Both teams will continue on in the event through Saturday, each facing the other two teams -- Sonoma State, and tournament host San Francisco.
Illinois State is just 1-3 on the young season, the team losing to VCU (96-58), Drexel (78-70) and Manhattan (79-70), while claiming its only victory against Northwestern (68-64). The Redbirds will return home following this series of games to play four of their next five, although they are 0-2 in Normal this season.
Vermont has just one win in its first six games, that lone victory coming in a 77-66 decision against visiting Siena back on Nov. 12. The Catamounts are in the midst of a four-game losing streak, and they came within a whisker of stopping the slide the last time out as they nearly upset No. 6 Duke in Durham, losing by a final score of 91-90.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between Illinois State and Vermont in men's basketball.
The Redbirds have really struggled on offense this season, netting 66.5 ppg in hitting a mere 35.6 percent of their field goal attempts, which includes a paltry 25.3 percent from 3-point range. There are only two double-digit scorers on the roster, as Daishon Knight and Zach Lofton average 12.5 and 12.0 ppg, respectively. Defensively, Illinois State is giving up 79.2 ppg, as foes are draining 43.9 percent of their total shots, and 34.2 percent of their long-range tries. The Redbirds are also in the red with regard to both rebounding (-4.5) and turnover (-2.7) margins.
Vermont took mighty Duke to the limit (shooting 64.8 from the field, committing only six turnovers), but that was certainly not indicative of its competitiveness on the season as the team has already suffered double-digit losses to Saint Joseph's, Bryant and Providence. As a result, the club is averaging 67.5 ppg, with its total shots falling 44.1 percent of the time, but its 3-point attempts at only 26.4 percent. Factor in negative differentials in both rebounding (-2.9) and turnovers (-0.6), and it's not difficult to see why the team has struggled. Despite the woes, Clancy Rugg has performed well, netting 16.2 ppg while also coming up with 7.3 rpg. Sandro Carissimo (11.5 ppg, 2.8 apg) is the only other double-digit scorer for the Catamounts, and he also serves as the team's primary playmaker.
Neither team has the kind of consistent firepower needed to bury an opponent, so expect a close game. In the end, give the edge to the Catamounts who will likely use the effort put forth against Duke as motivation moving forward.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Vermont 72, Illinois State 68
11/27 10:39:16 ET