Toledo (9-0) at Arkansas State (5-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 17, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (10,475) -- Jonesboro, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: Toledo 4-0, ASU 3-0. Away Record: Toledo 3-0, ASU 2-3. Neutral Record: Toledo 2-0, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: Toledo 0-0, ASU 0-0. Series Record: Toledo leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: With their sights set on a 10th victory against no defeats, the Toledo Rockets fly in to the Convocation Center on Tuesday for a non- conference clash with the Arkansas State Red Wolves.
A total of nine teams have gone up against the Rockets and all nine have fallen. As a result, Toledo has matched the fifth-best start in program history. The most recent victory came at home against Sam Houston State (77-61). That doesn't mean the Rockets can't get it done on the road, where they are 3-0 on the campaign. Next up, Toledo returns home to host Cleveland State and Coppin State in back-to-back games.
For the Red Wolves, this season has been more of a mixed bag. Arkansas State is 5-3 overall and is coming off a 79-67 setback on the road against Nebraska. That loss ended a three-game win streak for the Red Wolves, who are a perfect 3-0 at the Convocation Center. ASU hits the road next to face Marshall.
The only other meeting between these two teams occurred during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. Toledo claimed wins in both contests, including a 64-63 triumph at the Convocation Center.
Toledo scored 16 points off turnovers and only coughed the ball up five times itself in the recent win over Sam Houston State. The Rockets were trailing, 30-28, at the break but hit 57.6 percent of their field goal attempts in the second half to put the game away.
The Rockets have been an extremely impressive offensive team this season, as they rank sixth in the country in both scoring (89 ppg) and field goal percentage (.519). Additionally, they are also a top-20 squad in assists (16.8 pg). Balance keeps the Rockets moving with all five starters averaging in double figures. Leading the way is Rian Pearson (17.2 ppg), who has connected on 56.7 percent of his total shots. Justin Drummond (15.1 ppg) had a team-high 18 points against Sam Houston State and Julius Brown (14.6 ppg, 7.2 apg) is as dangerous as a scorer as he is a passer. J.D. Weatherspoon (10.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Nathan Boothe (10 ppg) complete the list of double-digit scorers.
Points off turnovers were a key in Arkansas State's most recent contest as well. Unfortunately for the Red Wolves, they were on the short end of a 20-10 deficit in the category against Nebraska. In fact, Arkansas State lost the ball 21 times due to giveaways.
Ball control hasn't been that much of an issue overall this season. The Red Wolves are averaging just under 14 turnovers per game. That number could clearly be improved, but it has not kept Arkansas State from holding a positive mark in scoring differential (+4). The Red Wolves are netting 77.3 points per game and shooting at a 44.2 percent clip from the field. There are not as many scoring threats on the roster for ASU, as Melvin Johnson III (17.9 ppg) is one of just two players averaging in double figures. Kirk Van Slyke (16.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is the other, and he is fresh off a 27-point effort against Nebraska, while Johnson III dropped in 18.
Both Van Slyke and Johnson III are potent scorers. However, the Rockets have a long list of their own and that type of balance will be crucial on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 79, Arkansas State 73
12/17 10:34:42 ET