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Indiana State (17-12) at Evansville (17-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 2, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ford Center (11,000) -- Evansville, Indiana. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Indiana State 11-3, Evansville 13-3. Away Record: Indiana State 4-8, Evansville 4-10. Neutral Record: Indiana State 2-1, Evansville 0-0. Conference Record: Indiana State 9-8, Evansville 9-8. Series Record: Indiana State leads, 83-74.
GAMES NOTES: Two teams deadlocked in the Missouri Valley Conference standings will collide at the Ford Center on Saturday when the Indiana State Sycamores take on the Evansville Purple Aces.
The Sycamores have picked the wrong time to begin stumbling as they have fallen in four of their last five battles. Indiana State is now 17-12 overall but tied in for fourth in the league with Evansville with a record of 9-8. This contest will wrap up the regular season for the Sycamores who could grab the third seed in the upcoming MVC standings with a win and Northern Iowa loss.
Evansville has been headed in the opposite direction of Indiana State with wins in three-straight contests. The Purple Aces are sporting a 17-13 overall record on the campaign with an identical 9-8 mark against league foes. Evansville would also benefit from a Northern Iowa loss as it could grab the third seed in the conference tournament with a win and a loss by the Panthers.
When Indiana State hosted the first meeting between these teams, Indiana State took down Evansville 72-62. The Sycamores have won four straight in the all- time series which they lead, 83-74.
On Wednesday Indiana State surrendered a 67-56 loss to Drake in its final home game of the season. The Sycamores were outscored 24-16 in the paint for the game, while shooting just 34.8 percent from the floor. The Sycamores did knock down eight 3-pointers but needed 25 shots to do so.
Jake Odum (14.2 ppg, 4.7 apg) has taken control of the Sycamores this season. The 6-foot-4 guard is not only the leading scorer fort he Sycamores but its top distributor as well. Odum also ranks among the top five players in the conference in assists while scoring in double figures in 10 straight games. Manny Arop (12.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg) is the second option as well as the top rebounder for the Sycamores, while R.J. Mahurin (10.3 ppg) has provided consistency by shooting 45.6 percent from the field. As a team, the Sycamores are among the bottom half of squads on offense scoring 67.1 points per game on 43.8 percent shooting.
Evansville went into Charles Koch Arena and stunned formerly nationally ranked Wichita State, 59-56, on Wednesday. The Purple Aces went on a 7-1 run towards the end of the contest but neither team scored in the last three minutes as the Purple Aces escaped with the victory.
Colt Ryan (19.6 ppg, 4.0 apg) led the way yet again by erupting on the offensive end against the Shockers. The 6-foot-5 swingman is second in the conference in scoring, while ranking among the top four players in the league in assists. He has topped 20 points in eight of the last nine contests. Ned Cox (11.4 ppg) is the second best scorer on the roster, while Troy Taylor (6.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg) is a vital contributor for his efforts on the glass. D.J. Balentine (8.1 ppg) is a sparkplug off the bench though he shoots less than 40 percent from the field. The Purple Aces are scoring just over 68 points per game, primarily by moving the ball well as a team as they rank second in the MVC in assists (15.7 pg).
With a ton of momentum on their side and an always raucous Ford Center behind them, the Purple Aces, who are 13-3 at home, should get a bit of revenge against Indiana State.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Evansville 71, Indiana State 66
03/02 10:33:49 ET