Indiana State (10-5) at Southern Illinois (7-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 12, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SIU Arena (8,339) -- Carbondale, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: Indiana State 5-1, Southern Illinois 3-1. Away Record: Indiana State 3-3, Southern Illinois 3-6. Neutral Record: Indiana State 2-1, Southern Illinois 1-1. Conference Record: Indiana State 3-1, Southern Illinois 0-4. Series Record: Southern Illinois leads, 77-43.
GAMES NOTES: The Southern Illinois Salukis will attempt to put an end to a losing streak on Saturday night when the Indiana State Sycamores come to SIU Arena for a Missouri Valley Conference matchup.
In recent weeks Indiana State has been playing some of its best basketball of the season with wins in four of its last five contests. Three of those wins came during MVC action. The Sycamores are now 10-5 overall with a 3-3 mark on the road. Indiana State will be back at home on Wednesday against Missouri State for the first of two contests at the Hulman Center.
After an 82-76 loss to No. 23 Wichita State on Wednesday, Southern Illinois has now lost five straight games and six of its last seven. The recent losing streak has dropped the Salukis below .500 (7-8) after the team began the season with wins in six of its first eight. Southern Illinois has also fallen in all four of its conference games during the stretch of setbacks.
The Sycamores have won five of the last six meetings between these programs including a 66-51 victory during the MVC tournament last season. Even with Indiana State's recent success, Southern Illinois has still dominated the all- time series, 77-43.
In their win over Bradley on Wednesday, the Sycamores shot an even 50.0 percent from the field and had a 22-8 edge from the free-throw line. Indiana State limited the Braves to just 31.8 percent shooting which helped it overcome 14 turnovers.
The 68 points Indiana State scored against Bradley was identical to the team's scoring average this season which ranks just seventh in the conference. The Sycamores are also in the bottom half of the league in field goal percentage (.427, ninth) and assists (10.5 pg, 10th). The Sycamores have made up for the less than stellar offensive numbers with some strong defensive showings. Overall Indiana State is letting up 65.8 points per game, while holding teams to just 40.2 percent shooting. Jake Odum (14.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.2 apg) has been producing across the board as the team's leader in scoring, assists and steals. Manny Arop (12.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg) is tied for the team lead in rebounds and the only other player averaging in double figures.
In their third straight game without starting forward Dantiel Daniels, the Salukis failed to keep up with Wichita State. The Salukis shot 47.5 percent from the field in the game but allowed the Shockers to hit 51.9 percent of their shots, while being outscored 20-14 from the free-throw line. The Salukis also had 11 shots blocks and were outrebounded 37-28.
Daniels (10.8 ppg) was one of four players averaging in double figures for the Salukis this season before he injured his right ankle in the beginning of the month. Losing a reliable scoring option was not exactly stellar news for a Southern Illinois team that has not exactly lit it up offensively this season, scoring 67.3 points per game. Southern Illinois does shoot the ball relatively well however, ranking third in field goal percentage (.458). Desmar Jackson (15.9 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Jeff Early (13.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg) are the two top scoring options for the Salukis, while Anthony Beane Jr. (10.1 ppg) has also managed to score with some frequency.
With Daniels still out Southern Illinois is weak along the frontline. While Indiana State won't be able to totally take advantage with its lack of production from up front, the Sycamores should have enough to earn a road win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Indiana State 69, Southern Illinois 67
01/12 10:32:03 ET