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Illinois State Redbirds vs. Tennessee State Tigers - 12/19/13

Tennessee State Tigers (1-10) at Illinois State Redbirds (5-5)

College Basketball: Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 8:05 pm (Redbird Arena)

The Line: Illinois State Redbirds -10.5 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds

TV: None

The Illinois State Redbirds take on the Tennessee State Tigers at Redbird Arena in Normal, Illinois on Thursday night.

Illinois State could not hang with Oakland, Michigan in a 15 point loss on Monday. They built a 12 point lead early on, but got outplayed and seemed to lose steam after Oakland got rolling. They were outrebounded by 15+, which can be attributed to Junior Michael Middlebrooks being out for a fifth straight game due to suspension. His return is pending. The Redbirds got a little perimeter happy and chucked up 36 of them, but still shot at a 41% clip for the game. But they couldn’t stop Oakland from scoring at will in the paint. That needs to be addressed, but shouldn’t be as big an issue against their opponent, Tennessee State, who scores more from the outside.

Illinois State Redbirds vs. Tennessee State Tigers - 12/19/13

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee State was relieved to finally get into the win column after beating Fisk in dominant fashion. They also outmuscled the Bulldogs on the boards as the Tigers are usually the team being outrebounded. Senior guard Patrick Miller has been hot all season, netting 21.2 points and dishing out 4 assists per game. Junior forward M.J. Rhett fills some gaps on offensive production, as it tapers off considerably with the 3rd leading scorer at just over 6 ppg. The Tigers may have scratched and clawed with teams like Wichita St. and Auburn on the road, but they can’t prowl about their shooting (23.8% - 3 point FG % / 41.8% FG %), and for that, they have only come up with one win on the season.

The Redbirds will look to get back on track with some home cooking before the holidays, and Coach Dan Muller should have them focused after a lackluster showing on the road. If they can contain Miller and disallow easy points in the paint, they should come up with a convincing win. Junior Daishon Knight has led the Redbirds in scoring and rebounding and has been about the only thing consistent with this team so far. The Redbirds are tough to figure out with mostly all newcomers. I am staying away from this one but do as you please. I could see a 20 point win or a game where the Birds flock around the perimeter and rely on 3-point jumpers, which could make the game close.

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