Drake Bulldogs vs. Indiana State Sycamores - 1/8/14
Indiana State Sycamores (11-3) at Drake Bulldogs (10-4)
College Basketball: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 8:05 pm (Knapp Center)
The Line: Drake Bulldogs 0 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds
The Indiana State Sycamore will attempt to win their first 2 league road games for the first time since the year Larry Bird carried the Sycamores to the national title game in 1979. They will travel to the Knapp Center in Des Moines, Iowa to face the Drake Bulldogs on Wednesday night.
The Sycamores have raced off to a good start in the Valley (2-0) after finishing the non-conference schedule off strong. With wins over Loyola (IL) and Evansville, they are hoping to stay in the MVC race with the 6th ranked WSU Shockers. Perhaps more realistic is their chance to finish with a nice record in conference to boost their chances of an NCAA appearance. They already knocked off Notre Dame on the road, a strong mid-major team in Belmont, and have taken care of the games they were supposed to win. They have stayed hot from the field all season, netting 50% of their field goals and most times forcing more turnovers than committing. Lately they have drained a high percent from 3-point range too – last game at Evansville, they hit 8 of 16 from there. Once again, another leading scorer emerged from their well-balanced roster as Khristian Smith scored 27 for the Sycamores. You won’t find many teams as unselfish as Indiana State and they really do a nice job working the ball around for high percentage shots. All-Valley point guard Jake Odum (Senior) has steadily made a case for MVC player of the year, but that’s not his ultimate goal, as it’s been all about making the players around him better to get wins.
Drake will try to get back into the win column after being outplayed by a hungry Bradley team who had been slumping, but played a complete game to cool down the dogs. Senior Richard Carter leads them in scoring at over 18 points per contest, but struggled his last time out. Drake lost for the first time in a true road game, but have played slightly better at home – their only defeat at the hands of New Mexico State in overtime. First year head coach Ray Giacoletti continues to find combinations on the court that work, as he gets 10 guys at least 10 minutes of playing time per game. The Bulldogs will need to match the Sycamores shot for shot, as they are capable of shooting well too, and have for the most part all season.
I look for Drake to rebound on their homecourt. Although it would be nice to see Indiana State getting off to their best start in the Valley in some time, Drake has been able to get it done in the league at home against the high caliber teams in the Valley. This should be a tight game throughout, but I see Drake coming away with a big MVC win in the young league season.