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Evansville Purple Aces vs. Bradley Braves - 1/26/14

Bradley Braves (8-12) at Evansville Purple Aces (9-11)

College Basketball: Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 2:00 pm (Ford Center)

The Line: Evansville Purple Aces -5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN3

Just when Bradley puts together a two-game winning streak, it’s forced to go on the road and play an Evansville team that has lost five of its last seven. Well, I guess it could always be worse.

Anyway, the Braves are one of the lowest scoring teams in the country, shooting just 42.8 percent from the field and averaging 64.2 points. Besides senior guard Walt Lemon Jr., there isn’t anybody on the team who is a consistent scoring threat. Bradley usually relies on defense, but even that has dipped a little, as opponents are shooting 44 percent from the field during the last five games.

Evansville Purple Aces vs. Bradley Braves - 1/26/14

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Evansville has lost two of its last three but both of those games were decided by a combined four points. It’s one of the best shooting teams in the country at 46.4 percent and sophomore D.J. Balentine continues to do most of the heavy lifting scoring wise.

This is really a matchup between both starting guards and which one can lead his team to victory. Will it be the senior for Bradley, who is coming off a 28-point performance against Northern Iowa, or the sophomore for Evansville, who is shooting 42 percent from downtown and has scored no less than 18 points in four straight games?

The Missouri Valley showdown is a real toss-up between two teams that haven’t played well all season long. When you really can pinpoint a clear edge, you have to go with the home team that is hungry for a victory.

The Purple Aces are 3-0-1 against the spread in their last four games and the Braves are 5-12-1 against the spread in their last 18. You have to like those odds.

Evansville will do just enough offensively to get the job done. 

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Evansville Purple Aces -5

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