Illinois State (9-6) at Missouri State (4-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 8, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: JQH Arena (11,000) -- Springfield, Missouri. Television: None. Home Record: Illinois State 6-3, Missouri State 3-4. Away Record: Illinois State 2-2, Missouri State 1-5. Neutral Record: Illinois State 1-1, Missouri State 0-2. Conference Record: Illinois State 0-3, Missouri State 2-1. Series Record: Illinois State leads, 34-25.
GAMES NOTES: Having lost three straight, the Illinois State Redbirds will attempt to get back on track when they visit the Missouri State Bears for a Missouri Valley Conference test at JQH Arena.
After a 70-60 defeat against Northern Illinois on Saturday, the Redbirds have let their overall record slip to 9-6. Each of the last three losses came in- conference, putting Illinois State in an early hole. The Redbirds have split their first four road contests but won't be away from home long as they host Drake next.
Getting into conference play has actually been a help to Missouri State which has won two of its three league matchups after going 2-10 in non-conference play. The Bears are 3-4 at JQH Arena and will have a stern test there as well on Friday when they host the No. 13 Creighton Bluejays.
Last season Illinois State swept the season series with the Bears to increase its all-time series lead to 34-25.
Despite a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double from Jackie Carmichael the Redbirds were unable to take down Northern Iowa. The team allowed the Panthers to hit 57.9 percent of their shots in the second half and were also outscored by large margins from the free-throw line (17-4) and the 3-point arc (21-6) overall.
Carmichael (17.4 ppg, 8.5 rpg) has been rolling, scoring in double figures in all but two games, while posting at least 20 points six times. Carmichael has also led the team in rebounding and has had a double-double in four of the last five games. In the backcourt, Tyler Brown (16.3 ppg) provides a complement to Carmichael's dominance inside. Led by Carmichael and Brown, Illinois State has been the second-best scoring team in the MVC (78.6 ppg) while shooting .489 from the floor (16th in the nation).
Missouri State played one of its best games of the season in its 77-65 triumph over Drake last time out. The Bears shot 51.0 percent from the floor, including an 8-of-18 effort from beyond the arc. The Bears also had a 33-29 edge on the boards and turned the ball over only seven times.
Scoring has not been something Missouri State has done well this season. In fact the Bears are the worst scoring team in the MVC (59.7) as well as in field-goal percentage (.394). The Bears are also lacking in assists (10.5 pg, ninth) and rebounds (31.3 pg, ninth). On defense Missouri State has had a bit more success, allowing 62.9 points per game on 43.2 percent shooting. Anthony Downing (14.0 ppg, 4.1 apg) is the only player on the roster scoring in double figures but has struggled with his shot as he nets just 39.8 percent of his field goal attempts. Marcus Marshall (9.8 ppg) has shown flashes of scoring ability but shoots just 37.5 percent. Other than those two only Christian Kirk (8.8 ppg) scores more than 6.2 points per game.
Conference play has rejuvenated Missouri State while proving to be a thorn in the side for Illinois State. The Redbirds' first three conference games were against some tough competition though including a seven-point loss to No. 13 Creighton. Led by Carmichael and Brown the Redbirds should be able to get in the win column here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois State 76, Missouri State 67
01/08 10:32:41 ET