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Bradley Braves vs. Missouri State Bears - 1/8/14

Missouri State Bears (11-3) at Bradley Braves (6-9)

College Basketball: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 8:00 pm (Carver Arena)

The Line: Bradley Braves -1 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds

TV: None

The Bradley Braves host the Missouri State Bears in the 3rd Valley game of the season for both squads as they face off at Carver Arena in Peoria, IL.

Missouri State now is able to feel what Bradley has been feeling for about a month, as the Bears lost in a drubbing to Loyola (IL) in their first MVC road game. It was the third loss on the season, and none of them have been close (all 20+ point road losses). That bodes well for the Bears as you wouldn’t think a 20-point loss to Bradley is in the cards unless the last game is a step in the wrong direction for Missouri State. But their hopes should remain high as they’ve been able to bounce back strong with wins after losses.

Bradley Braves vs. Missouri State Bears - 1/8/14

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Bradley Braves had an answer last game to end a dry spell of winning basketball. That came in the form of senior leader Walt Lemon Jr., who poured in a career high 31 against Drake and made the key shots down the stretch (the last 12 for Bradley). It seems that how Walt goes, so goes the team. And that has been the case pretty much the last couple seasons for the transformed point guard. Turnovers have been costly for the Braves, but they were able to limit them last game and work the ball around better to beat the zone. There was an intensity evident that had been lacking in recent games, and head coach Geno Ford must get the guys to match that intensity from here on out, as they are quite capable of scrapping out victories. They are not particularly strong in field goal shooting and need to create opportunities to score in transition. They surprisingly are a decent free throw shooting team (73%) for such a poor three-point shooting team (27%). Even with Lemon’s career game, they should learn that getting other players involved is how they win games.

Third year head coach Paul Lusk will do his part to have his Bears focused in this one, and the nucleus of the team was there to witness a last second 3-point bank shot by Walt Lemon, Jr. to oust the Bears in Peoria. These teams in the last few seasons have played close games with the home team having the slight edge. I’m just looking at who I think will win and the Valley is so crazy that you can’t really base the last game on what will happen next. Bradley has blown some close games late with poor decisions, so I think Missouri State will grab the win with some good late possessions. Both teams really need a win, so nobody will run away in this one, with several lead changes throughout.

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