Drake (13-15) at Indiana State (17-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 27, 7:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hulman Center (10,200) -- Terre Haute, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: Drake 9-7, ISU 9-5. Away Record: Drake 5-7, ISU 3-7. Neutral Record: Drake 2-1, ISU 1-3. Conference Record: Drake 6-6, ISU 6-10. Series Record: Indiana State leads, 40-36.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams coming off wins in the annual BracketBuster event meet at the Hulman Center in Terre Haute on Wednesday night, as the Drake Bulldogs take on the Indiana State Sycamores in Missouri Valley Conference action.
The Bulldogs are coming off a 71-54 win over Green Bay at home, marking their second straight triumph, coming on the heels of four-game losing streak. They are tied for eighth place in MVC, but just a game out of sixth. The top six teams get first-round byes in the upcoming conference tournament.
With their 65-64 win over visiting Iona on Saturday, the Sycamores got back on the winning track after dropping three straight. At 9-7 in conference, they are in fourth place in the standings and are in good shape to receive one of those first-round byes.
Indiana State holds a 40-36 edge in the all-time series with Drake, which dates back to 1945. The Sycamores have won seven of the last nine meetings, including each of the last four at the Hulman Center. ISU is 27-10 all-time against Drake at home.
Ben Simons paced four teammates in double figures with 16 points, as the Bulldogs dismissed the Green Bay Phoenix over the weekend. Seth VanDeest logged a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds for Drake, while Chris Hines scored 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range. Kori Babineaux came off the bench to chip in 10 points and grab seven boards for the Bulldogs,
Generating 72.6 ppg this season, the Bulldogs have just one player averaging double figures as Simons nets 14.6 ppg. He is a 41.4 percent shooter behind the 3-point line, making him one of the more accurate perimeter snipers on a squad that is averaging 8.8 treys per tilt, second-best in the league. As a group, the Bulldogs are hitting their long-distance attempts at a 39.4 percent clip, also second in the CAA, compared to 35.5 percent for the competition. They are scoring 72.6 ppg, but giving up 73.8.
Dawon Cummings' layup with four seconds remaining lifted the Sycamores to a thrilling one-point win over the Iona Gaels in another BracketBuster matchup. R.J. Mahurin paced Indiana State with 16 points, while Cummings finished with 13. Manny Arop recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Jake Odum tallied 10 points and seven assists in the victory. ISU shot 7-of-20 from the perimeter, compared to 2-of-16 accuracy for the Gaels. The Sycamores had 18 assists on 25 field goals in the game.
Indiana State sits in the middle of the pack in the Missouri Valley Conference in most statistical categories, as it averages 67.5 ppg while allowing 65.4 ppg. The Sycamores have three double-digit scorers in the form of Odum (14.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.7 apg), Arop (12.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and R.J. Mahurin (10.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg).
The Sycamores are the more balanced team, but the Bulldogs are hungry for a tournament bye. Give the edge to Indiana State, as it simply has more weapons, as well as the home court advantage.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana State 68, Drake 64
02/27 10:38:08 ET