Northern Iowa (11-9) at Indiana State (12-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 26, 1:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hulman Center (10,200) -- Terre Haute, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: UNI 9-2, ISU 7-1. Away Record: UNI 2-3, ISU 3-5. Neutral Record: UNI 0-4, ISU 2-1. Conference Record: UNI 4-4, ISU 5-3. Series Record: ISU leads, 24-21.
GAME NOTES: The Indiana State Sycamores are set to host the Northern Iowa Panthers in a Missouri Valley Conference bout inside the Hulman Center.
The Sycamores claimed a 65-61 home win over Northern Iowa back on Jan. 2 to stretch their lead in the head-to-head series to 24-21.
Since that meeting, UNI has won four of its last six games. Most recently, the Panthers notched a 58-45 victory over Southern Illinois on Wednesday night. Following this tilt, they'll head to Evansville on Tuesday night before returning home for their next two games.
Indiana State has defended its home floor well this season with seven wins in eight tries at the Hulman Center. However, the Sycamores are coming off Wednesday's narrow 60-58 loss at Illinois State. They could certainly use a win before hitting the road for two more games next week.
UNI was on the winning side of Wednesday's defensive slugfest with Southern Illinois. The Panthers were strong along the perimeter, holding SIU to only two 3-pointers on nine attempts. They also committed only 10 fouls for the game, as the Salukis finished just 3-of-8 at the charity stripe. For UNI, Marc Sonnen led the way with a game-high 15 points behind a 5-of-7 effort from beyond the arc. Anthony James added 14 points, while Seth Tuttle tallied nine points and 10 rebounds. The Panthers used a 16-5 first-half run as well as a 12-0 spurt in the second half to maintain their lead. While the scoring was kept at a minimum thanks in part to SIU's preference to slow the tempo, the Panthers have certainly proven to be a capable offensive squad. James paces four players averaging double figures with 12.5 points per game.
The Sycamores hang their hats on playing sound defense, having limited foes to 40.5-percent shooting from the floor and 30.4-percent shooting from the perimeter. On the other end of the floor, most of the halfcourt sets filter through either Jake Odum (13.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg) or Manny Arop (13.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg). Trailing by two in the final seconds against Illinois State, the Sycamores turned to Odum, whose last-second 3-pointer clanked off the back of the rim as time expired. However, the junior guard shot just 3-of-12 for the game and scored nine points. Arop was the only Sycamore in double figures, as he finished with 13 points. As a team, Indiana State shot only 38.3 percent from the floor.
The Sycamores were road winners when these teams met up a few weeks ago, and they have been tough to beat at home this season. UNI has stepped up its play of late, but the Panthers will need to bring their "A" game to avoid the season sweep.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana State 61, Northern Iowa 56
01/26 10:36:26 ET