Evansville (12-8) at Illinois State (11-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 26, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Redbird Arena (10,000) -- Normal, Illinois. Television: CSN-CHI, FSN, ESPN3.com. Home Record: EU 10-2, ISU 7-4. Away Record: EU 2-6, ISU 3-4. Neutral Record: EU 0-0, ISU 1-1. Conference Record: U5-3, ISU 2-6. Series Record: Illinois State leads, 29-17.
GAME NOTES: The Evansville Purple Aces have made the trip to Normal to take on the Illinois State Redbirds in a Missouri Valley Conference matchup at Redbird Arena.
Evansville ended a two-game skid as it defeated Bradley in a 66-56 final on Wednesday night at the Ford Center. After starting the new year with four straight victories, the Purple Aces have lost two of their last three decisions.
Illinois State claimed a 60-58 home win over Indiana State on Wednesday. The Redbirds began league play by losing their first six games, but they've won their last two.
Evansville took down Bradley, 66-56, at home on Wednesday. The Braves got within a point at 51-50 in the second half before a 9-0 run by the Purple Aces changed the game and helped them gain their fifth league victory. Senior Colt Ryan finished with 19 points in the win, moving into third place on the all- time list points list for EU. Egidijus Mockevicius pulled down 10 boards against Bradley and also blocked four shots while chipping in with seven points.
Ryan leads the team in scoring, and his 17.2 ppg ranks third in the league. He is just 97 points away from becoming the third player to score 2,000 points at Evansville. Ned Cox joins him in averaging double figures at 10.8 ppg. The leading rebounder on the team is Troy Taylor with his 7.3 rpg, tying him for fifth in the MVC. As a team, the Aces are second in the conference in free- throw percentage (.751) and assist/turnover ratio (1.4), third in assists (15.7 apg) and fourth in 3-point field goal percentage (.346) and blocked shots (3.1 bpg).
In a game that came down to the final shot, the Redbirds held on for the 60-58 victory at home over Indiana State. The Sycamores had a chance to win the game on a last-second three-pointer, but the attempt rimmed out. Johnny Hill led the way for the Redbirds with 18 points, and Jackie Carmichael just missed out on his 10th double-double of the season with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Illinois State features the second-highest scoring offense in the conference and 40th nationally, averaging 75.2 ppg. The Redbirds are netting 66.4 ppg against league foes compared to 81.0 points against non-conference foes. The Redbirds' field goal percentage (.466) ranks second in the conference and 37th in the nation. They are also second in the MVC in blocks (4.0 bpg) and in assists (16.0 apt), which ranks 22nd nationally. Jackie Carmichael leads the Redbirds in scoring with 17.9 ppg, good enough for second in the league, and rebounding at 9.2 rpg, tops among MVC players. Just behind Carmichael is Tyler Brown, who averages 15.3 ppg.
This game features two of the top scorers in the MVC, so expect some offensive fireworks. Illinois State's offense has not been as potent since league play began, so the nod goes to the Purple Aces even on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Evansville 71, Illinois State 61
01/26 10:44:00 ET