Men's College Basketball
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Southern Illinois (8-22) vs. Indiana State (17-13)

The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 1st, 7:05 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Scottrade Center (19,150) -- St. Louis, Missouri. Television: FSN-MW, IN, KC, CSN-CHI. Home Record: SIU 6-8, ISU 11-3. Away Record: SIU 2-11, ISU 4-9. Neutral Record: SIU 0-3, ISU 2-1. Conference Record: SIU 5-13, ISU 8-10. Series Record: Southern Illinois leads, 78-41.

GAME NOTES: The first round of the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament tips off tonight when the eighth seeded-Indiana State Sycamore take on the ninth-seeded Southern Illinois Salukis at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, with the winner taking on No. 1 seed Wichita State in the quarterfinals on Friday.

Southern Illinois was fortunate that the MVC invites all of its teams to participate in the conference tournament, because it did not have a season worth bragging about. The Salukis finished a meager 8-22 overall and they didn't fare much better in conference play, winning only five of 18 bouts. To make matters worse, SIU comes into this event on its worst cold streak of the season, losing its last six games.

Indiana State had a successful campaign at 17-13, but finished in eighth place in the conference by going 8-10, falling one game short of third place, where five teams finished tied with a 9-9 record. The Sycamores lost two of their last three entering this tournament, which included a hard-fought 61-60 setback to nationally-ranked Creighton in the season finale last Saturday.

With regard to the all-time series between these two teams, Southern Illinois has a 78-41 lead. The teams split the season series this year, with each squad winning on its home court. The Sycamores made NCAA history on February 11 by connecting on all 12 of their three-point attempts in a 78-68 win.

This marks the third season in a row that Southern Illinois has played in the first round as either an eight or nine seed, though the current roster is rather inexperienced when if comes to postseason play, as just four players have played in an MVC Tournament game. The Salukis had one of the worst offenses in the conference during the regular season, finishing next-to-last in both scoring (63.1 ppg) and field goal percentage (.416) and dead-last in three-point percentage (.283). Still, they aren't without their standout players. Forward Mamadou Seck tallies 13.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, and 2.6 apg, all of which lead the team and he was named to the All-Conference Honorable Mention team. Seck's running mate in the front court, Dantiel Daniels, was named to the conference's All-Freshman Team after putting up 8.4 ppg on 56.8 percent shooting, while leading the conference in blocked shots (1.7 bpg).

Indiana State is the reigning MVC Tournament champion after winning three straight in St. Louis last year as the No. 3 seed, and it has won the tournament championship three times (1979, 2001, 2011). Though he isn't even the team's best scorer, Jake Odum was the lone Sycamore to show up on the All- MVC postseason squads, joining the Second Team. Odum has been an all-around contributor this season, tallying 10.9 ppg, 5.8 apg, and 5.2 rpg, making him one of only three players nationally to average that many points, assists and rebounds. He is also third in the conference in steals at 1.8 spg. Dwayne Lathan (12.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Carl Richard (10 ppg, 5.0 rpg) also chip in to an underwhelming offense, which produces 64.9 ppg on 42.1 percent field goal efficiency. Richard is also one of six players in ISU history with at least 1,000 points and 700 rebounds.

Southern Illinois has not been very impressive this season and it has been especially bad of late. Indiana State is the better team and has tournament experience, thus giving the Sycamores the advantage.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana State 68, Southern Illinois 60

03/01 10:33:53 ET

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