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Indiana State Sycamores vs. Belmont Bruins - 12/28/13

Belmont Bruins (8-5) at Indiana State Sycamores (8-3)

College Basketball: Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 1:05 pm (Hulman Center)

The Line: Indiana State Sycamores -5.5 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds


The Indiana State Sycamores conclude their non-conference slate with a visit by the Belmont Bruins on Saturday at noon in Terre Haute, Indiana.

In their last game, Belmont raced off to a strong start over #2 Kentucky and led by 2 at the break. They were still within striking distance in the final 5 minutes before Kentucky pulled away for a 13-point win at Rupp Arena. The Bruins are very balanced in scoring – at the top is JJ Mann, a senior, who is averaging 17 points per game. They have shot 49% from the field, but surrender about that same percentage to opponents (48%). Their biggest win of the season was by 3 over the ranked UNC Tarheels (#12) in mid-November. They probably didn’t forget their incredible comeback win over Indiana State - a game in which they trailed by nearly 20 points in the 2nd half, but scored 63 points to win by 1.

Indiana State Sycamores vs. Belmont Bruins - 12/28/13

Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

I can assure you the Sycamores didn’t forget about that game either, as they seek revenge on that heartbreaking loss which might come back to haunt them come March if they continue to pick up quality wins in the MVC. ISU is led by All-Valley senior Jake Odum, who is the heart and soul of this team, and really has been since he took the starting PG role as a freshman. He ranks 2nd on the team in scoring just behind junior-mate Justin Gant (13.1 ppg), 1st in assists, and 1st in rebounding (4.5 reb per game) Surprisingly, the Sycamores have outrebounded their opponents while nobody  averages 5 or more rebounds per game. The leading scorer is unpredictable, which makes this team difficult to defend. They are shooting better than 50% from the field on the season and can score from downtown at a good clip (45%).

These 2 teams are truly comprised of role players who understand that’s what it takes to win. They both take care of the ball. If their 96-95 game is any indication, the rematch should be fun to watch as both rank in the Top 30 nationally in field goal percentage. Look for Indiana State to be a little more defensive-minded though. That loss by 1 is a bad taste that the Sycamores hope to get rid of. And that loss will only hurt in March if they don’t take care of business on Saturday, and I think they will. But the line might be tough to carry as I see it as being a tight game throughout.

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