Missouri State Bears vs. Drake Bulldogs - 2/12/14
Drake Bulldogs (12-12) at Missouri State Bears (16-8)
College Basketball: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 8:00 pm (JQH Arena)
The Line: Missouri State Bears -6 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds
The Missouri State Bears look to break a 4-way tie in the MVC as they host the Drake Bulldogs at JQH Arena in Springfield, Missouri on Wednesday night.
Missouri State has won 4 of its last 6 games and split a pair of road games recently. They got crushed by Southern Illinois by 18, as SIU is now one of those teams locked for 3rd place in the conference. The Bears trailed by just 2 at the half, but hit a major funk in the second half and couldn’t stop SIU from making big shots. The team only tallied 4 assists to the Salukis’ 13. With season-ending injuries to 2 key players, they look to forward Jarmar Gulley (Sr.) as their primary offensive weapon and force inside. He has led the Bears in scoring in 5 of their last 6 games and comes in with a 15 ppg average and 6 boards per game, which leads the team. 5 other players score between 5 and 9 points, so it is crucial that they work as a team to get multiple players involved on offense. They shoot 44% from the field and 37% on 3-pointers. Their road woes have been evident this year at 4-6, while they are a totally different team at home (10-1).
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Drake has really hit a wall in conference play and finds themselves at the bottom of the Valley standings. They have lost 9 of 11 and with just 1 road win, they are looking for something to feel good about. One good thing is that they played hard and lost by just 4 points at Indiana State over the weekend. They shot well from beyond the arc (8-17). Senior Richard Carter (16.8 ppg) has been tailing off since he was getting nearly 20 per game in December and January. Perhaps that is due to him feeling that he needs to carry the load offensively after senior Gary Ricks was lost for the season due to injury and was at the time the leading scorer for the Bulldogs. This is head coach Ray Giacoletti’s first season as head coach in the league and he may be experiencing growing pains much like other head coaches who start out in the Valley. Right now I think they’re a bit fatigued and don’t have a whole lot to play for other than to stay out of the play-in game of the tournament in St. Louis in early March. Drake is shooting 40% on 3-pointers, which ranks among the best in the league. They have not stopped the opposition from having their way scoring lately though, so that needs to be addressed. Jordan Daniels (11.7 ppg), Aaron Hawley (9.8 ppg), and Chris Caird (9.6 ppg) are behind Carter in scoring.
Drake won the first meeting between these teams 84-74 in late January, so I look for a little payback here, especially with the big home advantage that Missouri State has had this year. Their only loss was to #2 Wichita State about a month ago in which they had a comfy 19-point lead well into the 2nd half, but things fell apart. I want to look at Drake’s last road game in which they hung in there with Indiana St, the 2nd place team in the league, but I think the Sycamores were dragging a little after their effort to upset Wichita State, in which they failed to do. I like Missouri State to win by close to double-digits with their 10-1 home record to Drake’s 1-5 road record, and the fact that the Bears have a lot more on the line.