Indiana State (12-6) at Illinois State (10-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 23, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Redbird Arena (10,200) -- Normal, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: Indiana State 7-1. Illinois State 6-4. Away Record: Indiana State 3-4, Illinois State 3-4. Neutral Record: Indiana State 2-1, Illinois State 1-1. Conference Record: Indiana State 5-2, Illinois State 1-6. Series Record: Illinois State leads, 58-49.
GAMES NOTES: With wins in three of their last four games the Indiana State Sycamores will take on the Illinois State Redbirds in a Missouri Valley Conference bout at Redbird Arena on Wednesday night.
At 12-6 overall and 5-2 in conference play Indiana State has enjoyed a strong season thus far. The Sycamores topped off Evansville, 72-62, on Saturday to earn their third win in the last four contests, although all three of those victories came on their home floor with the one loss on the road. The Sycamores are 3-4 overall in away contests but will return home to host Northern Iowa next.
Illinois State finally got back in the win column on Sunday with a 70-56 defeat of Southern Illinois. The victory ended a six-game losing streak that had the once promising season for Illinois State spiral downward in a hurry. The win was also the first in seven tries for the Redbirds in league play. This is the first half of a two-game homestand for Illinois State, which is 3-4 at Redbird Arena. Next up the Redbirds host Evansville.
Indiana State has won four of the last five meetings including a 77-75 victory earlier this season. The Redbirds also lead the all-time series by a count of 58-49.
Although they trailed 32-26 at halftime, the Sycamores turned things around in the second half against Evansville. Indiana State shot at a 59.1 percent clip, including a 5-of-8 effort from beyond the arc, while holding the Purple Aces to just 28.6 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes.
In the contest the Sycamores' two leading scorers, Jake Odum (14.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.5 apg) and Manny Arop (13.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg) were yet again instrumental. The pair combined for 36 points as the only two players in double figures. Odum has been especially vital for the Sycamores this season with his contributions not only in scoring but in rebounding and distributing as well. The 6-foot-4 guard is third in the conference in assists as well as in the top 10 in scoring. There are no other double figure scorers on the squad though Justin Gant (8.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and R.J. Mahurin (8.7 ppg) are capable enough. In all Indiana State ranks closer to the bottom half of the conference on the offensive end where it scores 68.4 points per game on 43.9 percent shooting.
After a dominant first half the Redbirds were able to hold off a late charge from Southern Illinois to capture the win on Sunday. The Redbirds hit on 51.4 percent of their shots in the first 20 minutes including a 7-of-14 effort from beyond the arc to get out to a 47-21 lead at the break, In all the team shot 45 percent while hitting 9-of-24 from long range.
In the contest, Jackie Carmichael had another big game as he posted yet another double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds. The effort was the seventh double-double in the last nine games for the 6-foot-9 forward who is second in the conference in scoring (17.9 ppg) while ranking first in rebounding (9.2 pg). Carmichael is also a force defensively as he blocks the second most shots per game in the MVC (2.1 pg). Tyler Brown (15.6 ppg) provides a more than capable second option for the Redbirds who also get double figure efforts on average from BRyant Allen (10.2 ppg). Powered by Carmichael and Brown the Redbirds are the second-highest scoring team in the conference (75.9 ppg) as well as the second best in shooting (.470).
Although Doug McDermott of Creighton likely has the inside track for Player of the Year honors in the MVC, Carmichael could certainly give him a run for his money. Powered by Carmichael the Redbirds should be able to get past Indiana State and continue to rekindle the season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois State 73, Indiana State 67
01/23 10:43:04 ET