Indiana State Sycamores vs. Missouri State Bears - 1/15/14
Missouri State Bears (12-4) at Indiana State Sycamores (13-3)
College Basketball: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 7:05 pm (Hulman Center)
The Line: Indiana State Sycamores -10.5 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds
The Indiana State Sycamore are off to their best start (4-0) in league play since the Larry Bird-led Sycamores historic NCAA run in 1979. They will try to improve on that start as they host the Missouri State Bears on Wednesday night.
The Sycamores escaped with a 3-point win over struggling Bradley on Saturday night, but keys plays down the stretch staved off an upset. With wins in 11 of their last 12 contests, they are looking to potentially make the Big Dance in a couple months, but first they are not counting out an MVC championship. They are arguably the 2nd strongest team in the Valley behind #5 Wichita State and have scored a marquee win at Notre Dame, while beating some solid teams like Belmont. They need to win games like this at home and they know that from last season and missed a chance of an At-Large bid because of home losses to teams they should have beaten. They cooled off last game from how they had been shooting for most of the season – they have connected on nearly 50% of their field goals. In addition, Indiana State is the only D-I team that has 5 double-digit scorers who all have better than a 33% average from long range. All-Valley point guard Jake Odum (Senior) has steadily made a case for MVC player of the year and is about as consistent as they come at point guard during his 4-year college career. Not only does he lead the team in scoring average, but also in rebounds (4.6 per game) and has an impressive 2.8:1 assist-turnover ratio.
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Missouri State may be coming into Terre Haute with a crushed spirit as they couldn’t hold onto a 19-point second half lead over Wichita State on Saturday. They played a sensational first half on both ends, but the Shockers’ will to win was too much and the Bears committed too many fouls upon which Wichita State hit 31 free throws to sneak back in the game. This team is led primarily by sophomore star Marcus Marshall, their leading scorer, and senior power forward Jarmar Gulley (Sr.). Gulley had 15 points and 14 rebounds against Wichita State and is averaging about 14 points and 6 boards per game, but has really picked it up lately after the loss of Keith Pickens to injury. The Bears are not a great shooting team at just 43% from the field and under 70% on free throws. They also lack size down low so rebounding is sometimes a liability.
Head coach Paul Lusk will likely get his boys back into the right mindset in this road game as he knows there are games like the last one and you have to be ready for the next game. I will take the 10.5 points here. I think if Bradley – a poor road team – can almost beat Indiana State, then why not Missouri State? I think the Sycamores get it done and play better than they did vs. Bradley, but I see a closer game here and Indiana State is typically not a team that wins by large margins at home. Also going for Missouri State is their ability all season to play well after a disappointing loss. I picked the Bears and the points against Wichita and I will back them here in hopes they are mentally right after their recent collapse in what would have been a monumental upset.
Edit: Missouri State's leading scorer Marcus Marshall was injured late in last Saturday's game. He will miss an extended period of time due to this right knee injury. This is a big blow to the Bears. I think Indiana State wins this by double-digits as they come back with a strong effort after an off game on Saturday versus Bradley, which they pulled out by 3.