Illinois State (9-9) at Southern Illinois (8-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 20, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SIU Arena (8,339) -- Carbondale, Illinois. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: ISU 6-4, SIU 4-1. Away Record: ISU 2-4, SIU 3-7. Neutral Record: ISU 1-1, SIU 1-1. Conference Record: ISU 0-6, SIU 1-5. Series Record: Southern Illinois leads, 75-66.
GAME NOTES: The Illinois State Redbirds are still in search of their first Missouri Valley Conference victory as they venture to SIU Arena to take on the Southern Illinois Salukis.
Illinois State's season started out on a good note with the team winning nine of its first 12 games, but once MVC play began things started to fall apart. The Redbirds are in the midst of a six-game losing streak, all coming in-conference, with their most recent setback occurring last Saturday in an 82-77 final at home versus Drake.
The Salukis seemed to be headed in the correct direction last weekend, as they snapped a five-game losing skid with a surprising, 76-71, decision over Indiana State. However, SIU fell three nights later at Bradley (69-66). The team is now one game below the .500 mark overall and just 1-5 in MVC action.
Southern Illinois has won four of the last six meetings versus the Redbirds, including three straight wins at SIU Arena. SIU holds a 75-66 all- time series lead.
Despite their lackluster record, scoring hasn't been the issue for the Redbirds, who average 76.3 ppg o 47.1 percent shooting, which includes a 34.4 percent showing from 3-point range. The team boasts three double-digit scorers, paced by Jackie Carmichael and his 17.9 ppg, which ranks him second in the MVC. Far from a one-dimensional player, Carmichael leads the league in rebounding (8.9 rpg), and he averages more than two blocked shots per outing. Tyler Brown (15.2 ppg) and Bryant Allen (10.2 ppg) have been productive as well.
Desmar Jackson leads SIU in scoring (17.0 ppg), steals (34) and 3-pointers (23). The 6-foot-5 junior guard is second on the squad in rebounding (6.1 rpg). Although Jackson is having a nice junior campaign, the Salukis have the second lowest scoring average with only 67.8 ppg. Jeff Early is second to Jackson in scoring and although his 12.8 ppg is solid contribution, he is also first on the unit with 7.5 rpg. SIU's 6-foot-2 freshman Anthony Beane is giving the school a glimpse of its bright future. He averages 10.4 points per game, fourth best on the team and tops among freshmen in the MVC. He is the only player on the team to score in double figures in every conference game.
The Salukis have no starters and only one active player taller than 6-foot-5 on the roster. Carmichael should have a field day against the undersized Salukis. Illinois State could have trouble stopping SIU's speedy lineup, which may yield a high-scoring affair.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois State 71, Southern Illinois 65
01/20 10:31:01 ET