Wichita State (13-1) at Bradley (10-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, January 6, 5:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carver Arena (11,168) -- Peoria, Illinois. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Wichita State 8-0, Bradley 7-1. Away Record: Wichita State 3-1, Bradley 3-1. Neutral Record: Wichita State 2-0, Bradley 0-2. Conference Record: Wichita State 2-0, Bradley 2-0. Series Record: Bradley leads, 71-56.
GAMES NOTES: The streaking Wichita State Shockers will face off with the Bradley Braves in a Missouri Valley Conference showdown Sunday afternoon.
The Shockers have been off to a blazing start to the season with a record of 13-1. The team won its fourth straight game this past Wednesday with a 75-63 victory over Drake. That was the third win in four tries on the road for Wichita State, which will return home to face Southern Illinois next.
A 66-60 win over Southern Illinois gave Bradley consecutive wins and pushed the Braves to 10-4 overall. The Braves had lost back-to-back games previously but are 2-0 in league play. In terms of success at home Bradley has had plenty with a mark of 7-1 at Carver Arena. The Braves will be on the road in their next two games beginning against Indiana State next Wednesday.
Wichita State has won five straight against Bradley including a series sweep a year ago. Bradley still leads the all-time series, 71-56.
Points off turnovers were key in Wichita State's win over Drake. The Shockers forced 19 turnovers and traded those in for 29 points, while turning the ball over only 12 times. Wichita State also hit 12-of-25 shots from beyond the arc to separate itself.
Most of Wichita State's contests have not been particularly competitive, as the Shockers own a scoring margin of nearly 13 points per game. The Shockers have had success by tightening up on the defensive end, allowing only 57.6 points per game on 38.4 percent shooting, both marks among the 40 best in the country. On offense the Shockers score 70.4 points per game, while hitting a respectable 45.3 percent from the field. Wichita State is the best rebounding team in the MVC (38.6 pg) as well. The Shockers are still without leading scorer Carl Hall (13.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg) who remains out after undergoing right thumb surgery. In his place, Cleanthony Early (13.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg) has taken over the reins both in scoring and rebounding.
The Braves trailed Southern Illinois 56-53 with 3:33 remaining in their last outing but rattled off an 11-2 run over the next three minutes to pull away for the win. Bradley shot an even 50.0 percent in the game and also had the edge on the glass (34-28).
As a team Bradley has enjoyed a rather healthy scoring differential this season (+9.4) by netting 70.6 points per game and connecting on 44.8 percent from the field. The Braves have compounded that by playing well defensively, limiting teams to less than 40 percent shooting and only 61.2 ppg. The Braves are an average rebounding team, ranking fifth in the MVC (35.4 pg). Walt Lemon Jr. (13.7 ppg, 3.4 apg) is the team's leading scorer and has accumulated the most assists. Dyricus Simms-Edwards (10.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg) has scored well but might make his biggest impact on defense as he has collected the third most steals (3.2 pg) in the country. Tyshon Pickett (11.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg) powers the team on the boards.
The Shockers are clearly a team that will not have many losses when all is said and done. Although Bradley is playing well and has had success at home, this game should end in a WSU victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wichita State 76, Bradley 68
01/06 10:33:14 ET