Missouri State (9-20) at Illinois State (16-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 27, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Redbird Arena (10,200) -- Normal, Illinois. Television: Local. Home Record: MSU 7-7, ISU 10-5. Away Record: MSU 2-11, ISU 5-7. Neutral Record: MSU 0-2, ISU 1-1. Conference Record: MSU 6-10, ISU 7-9. Series Record: Illinois State leads, 34-26.
GAME NOTES: The Illinois State Redbirds try to bring an end to a three-game slide on Wednesday night, as they host the Missouri State Bears in Missouri Valley Conference action.
Presently sitting in the bottom half of the MVC standings with a record of 7-9, the Redbirds took a break from the conference slate over the weekend in order to tangle with Utah State on the road, and bowed to the Aggies at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum by an 80-71 final.
As for the Bears, they too were dealing with a foe from outside the MVC on Saturday, but unlike the Redbirds, Missouri State managed to come out on top versus their adversary with a 57-54 triumph against Eastern Michigan. The win snapped a brief two-game slide for a squad that is currently 6-10 in league play, which puts the Bears behind ISU at the moment.
The Redbirds lead the all-time series between these two squads by a 34-26 margin, but Missouri State won the first meeting of the season in early January by a score of 62-55 at home.
Despite shooting only 5-of-21 behind the 3-point line and a dismal 16-of-30 at the free-throw line, the Bears somehow found a way to come out on top against EMU over the weekend, on the road no less. Anthony Downing helped spur the successful comeback bid as he finished with 16 points, followed by Marcus Marshall with 11, although the duo did combine to make just one of their 10 shots from beyond the arc.
In conference play, the Bears have been coming up with only 61.6 ppg, compared to the 66.3 ppg being allowed the opposition at the other end of the floor. Downing is responsible for 14.3 ppg, is first in assists and steals as well with 57 and 18, respectively, not to mention placing second on the glass with almost five rebounds per contest. Marshall comes in with another 11.9 ppg and has combined with Downing to connect on 120-of-141 at the charity stripe, which is more than the rest of the team put together right now.
Not too many teams go into Logan and leave with a good taste in their mouth, something the Redbirds found out for themselves over the weekend as they suffered the nine-point loss to Utah State. However, even though Illinois State as a whole did not have a successful visit, the same could not be said for Tyler Brown who erupted for 35 points and 10 rebounds, hitting the glass hard while also converting 7-of-14 beyond the arc. Also logging a strong double-double was Jackie Carmichael with 2 points and 10 boards, which means the rest of the squad combined for only 16 points.
One of the top interior performers in the conference this season, Carmichael not only leads the team in both scoring and rebounding with averages of 17.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per contest, he is also tops with 57 blocked shots, making opponents think twice about taking their chances in the paint. While Carmichael takes care of the rough and tumble play in the key, Brown (17.5 ppg) is the one hitting on 66-of-182 out on the perimeter to help spread the floor.
Thanks to the one-two punch of Carmichael and Brown, the potential for the Redbirds to have a strong outing is always there and being at home, only makes it more so.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois State 68, Missouri State 64
02/27 10:32:27 ET