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Bradley Braves vs. Drake Bulldogs - 1/4/14

Drake Bulldogs (10-3) at Bradley Braves (5-9)

College Basketball: Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 8:00 pm (Carver Arena)

The Line: Bradley Braves +3.5 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds

TV: None

The Bradley Braves will host the Drake Bulldogs in the second game of the MVC schedule on Saturday night at Carver Arena.

The Bulldogs have played well so far and are currently on their second 4-game winning streak of the season. They are particularly strong at home (5-1), but have gone 4-2 away from their gym, which hasn’t been the case in recent years. But 1st year head coach Ray Giacoletti has his team clicking on all cylinders right now with pretty much the entire roster contributing a little of everything right now. In their first Missouri Valley game, they took control in the second half to cruise to a 28-point romp over Evansville, who is a middle-pack conference team. Sophomore guard Jordan Daniels was the sparkplug that ignited the Bulldogs and has led to a nice 1-2 punch to complement leading scorer Richard Carter (18.5 ppg). But the production does not stop there, as Drake has plenty of scoring punch from the other 4 starters and the 5 off the bench who see 10+ minutes per game.

Bradley Braves vs. Drake Bulldogs - 1/4/14

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Bradley Braves are a team that looks pretty lost right now and looking for anybody to step up and get this team going. There seems to be some apathy going on right now – just an observation. It’s up to Coach Geno Ford to find an answer to their lack of scoring and competitiveness. The Braves got thrashed by an average Northern Iowa team on Wednesday and things have headed downwards since they got off to a nice 4-0 start to the season. Senior All-Valley candidate Walt Lemon Jr. has struggled since the beginning of the season to find his rhythm and is taking it on himself too much as a one-man show to try and turn things around. This team, when at its best and in games, have worked the ball around and had a focus on getting everyone on the floor involved. But that has not been the case in the majority of the games. They are a very poor shooting team, connecting on just 42% field goals and 26% from three point range.

If the last game that these two teams played is any indication of how the Valley season will go for both, then the Braves are in for another rough game and a long season. But they know that they can’t wait until the midway point of the Valley season to turn things around. This is an important game for Bradley if they are going to make any noise in the conference, and the fans are getting restless at a school with a pretty rich basketball history. Coach Ford knows his team needs this one and the mild-mannered coach perhaps put a fire under his team after such a poor showing at Northern Iowa. Drake gets the win here, and I’m surprised that the line is actually this small.

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Drake -3.5

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