Saint Louis Billikens vs. Indiana State Sycamores - 12/18/13
Indiana State Sycamores (7-2) at Saint Louis Billikens (9-2)
College Basketball: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 at 8:00 pm (Chaifetz Arena)
The Line: Saint Louis Billikens -8 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds
TV: Fox Sports Midwest
The Sycamores of Indiana State will visit the Saint Louis Billikens on Wednesday night at the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Missouri.
Maybe one of the biggest mid-major upsets in the early season was Indiana State knocking off previously ranked Notre Dame (#19) on their home court by 13 points. When the Sycamores are shooting well, they are really tough to stop. They shoot an even 50% from the field and have some long-distance bombers that hit at a 45% clip from downtown. This is nothing new to the Sycamores, who hold the NCAA record for highest three point shooting percentage in a single game when they hit 12 of 12 a couple seasons ago. The team has a few new faces since then, but they carry the same trend of making the outside shots. The key to their success in doing so is Senior All-Valley point guard Jake Odum. He does a little bit of everything, and has done it consistently since his freshman season. He leads the team in scoring, rebounding, and assists per game. He is accompanied by Justin Gant (12.7 ppg) and Manny Arop (10.9 ppg). They have also been successful at limiting their opponents to a low 3-point field goal percentage (35%).
Paul Halfacre-USA TODAY Sports
The Saint Louis Billikens will likely contend for the Atlantic 10 title, and have played strong competition early on to prepare for the rigor of conference play. With 6 point losses to top ranked opponents Wisconsin and Wichita State, they proved they can hang with similar talent. Senior Dwayne Evans is the leading scorer(14.6 ppg), but he has help from others like Jordair Jett.
What separates the Billikens from other teams is their staunch defense, which has been a point of emphasis in head coach Jim Crews’ era. Crews has coached in the Valley (Evansville for 17 seasons) so he is familiar with the style of play, which is pretty much modeled by Indiana State.
Both teams don’t make many mistakes and this could be an ugly game due to the physical nature these teams play with. I wouldn’t immediately count Indiana State out of this one for a possible upset, but I think Saint Louis is more physical and will make the Sycamores work for every shot. They also need to make more of their own perimeter shots to beat the better teams. This would be a quality win for either team – more so for Indiana State to add another team onto their resume.
I believe the Billikens hold on for a win, but won't be easy as Indiana State has lots of fight in them.