Indiana State (21-6) at Missouri State (17-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 1 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: JQH Arena (20,562) -- Springfield, Missouri. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: ISU 11-1, MSU 12-2. Away Record: ISU 9-4, MSU 4-7. Neutral Record: ISU 1-1, MSU 1-1. Conference Record: ISU 12-3, MSU 7-8. Series Record: Missouri State leads, 38-23.
GAME NOTES: The Indiana State Sycamores will try to notch another season series sweep as they visit JQH Arena for a Missouri Valley Conference tilt against the Missouri State Bears.
The Sycamores got the brooms out on Wednesday as they downed Evansville, 59-54, at home to complete their fourth regular season sweep of the campaign. The victory was the fourth in a row for ISU, which is in sole possession of second place in the MVC standings at 12-3. Coach Greg Lansing's team is 10-5 away from the Hulman Center this season, which is the second-best mark in the conference along with fourth-best nationally. ISU is ranked third in the league in both scoring offense (72 ppg) and scoring defense (67 ppg).
Coach Paul Lusk's Bears dropped their second decision in a row on Tuesday at Illinois State. Missouri State battled back from a 13-point first-half deficit, but could not overcome its season-high 21 turnovers. The Bears have been nearly perfect at home in 2013-14, winning 12-of-14 outings with the only losses coming courtesy of Wichita State and Northern Iowa by a combined total of five points. Missouri State is entering the weekend tied for fourth in the MVC standings with UNI and Southern Illinois.
This will be the 62nd meeting in history between ISU and the Bears. The Sycamores coasted to a 70-55 win when Missouri State visited the Hulman Center on Jan. 15. The Bears still own a 38-23 all-time series lead after the loss.
The Sycamores' victory over the Purple Aces secured the No. 2 seed at next month's MVC Tournament in St. Louis, which is their highest seed since winning the regular season crown in 2000. Jake Odum led the way with 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists while finishing 10-of-13 at the free-throw line. In the process, Odum moved past Larry Bird to become ISU's career leader in made free-throw tries with 552. Odum is pacing the team on the campaign with averages of 13 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 4.7 apg. Manny Arop, Khristian Smith, Justin Gant and Dawon Cummings all own double-digit scoring averages for the Sycamores also, which prevents opposing defenses from keying on any one player.
Austin Ruder has a great chance of making history for MSU on Saturday after netting 12 points in the team's loss to the Redbirds. The rookie guard went 3- of-5 from 3-point range in his last outing to arrive at 61 makes from beyond the arc on the campaign to tie the school's freshman record. Ruder was overshadowed by Jarmar Gulley, who tallied 24 points and six boards in the setback. The 6-foot-5 senior forward has scored in double-figures in 13 consecutive games and posts team-highs of 15.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg and 1.5 spg. Ruder is the second-leading scorer among active players at 8.7 ppg, while Ron Mvouika is chipping in 7.1 ppg. Mvouika has contributed only 16 points on 5- of-16 shooting from the floor over the span of his last four games.
Odum scored only four points versus MSU when these schools squared off in January, but the Sycamores still had no trouble pulling out the win. ISU's balance makes it very difficult to prepare for as an opponent, while the Bears are clearly a one-man show. Gulley will need to have another stellar performance to give MSU a shot at an upset.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana State 68, Missouri State 62
02/22 10:18:47 ET