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Missouri State Bears vs. Southern Illinois Salukis - 1/25/14

Southern Illinois Salukis (6-14) at Missouri State Bears (13-6)

College Basketball: Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 8:00 pm (JQH Arena)

The Line: Missouri State Bears -7.5 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds


The Missouri State Bears try to stay ahead of the visiting Southern Illinois Saluikis in an MVC battle on Saturday night in Springfield, Missouri.

Missouri State has been battling injuries all season and have been without arguably their top 2 players for a week now. They came out with a 3-point win against Evansville in their last home game as Jarmar Gulley continued to put up monster numbers to make up for his missing teammates. He tallied 26 points and 12 boards, which has been about typical for him in the last couple weeks. The downside is that they are relying too heavily on him for scoring and outside of him, there is no real threat to score. 7 players average between 5 and 8 points, but their field goal percentage is steadily falling. In his third full season at the helm at Missouri State, head coach Paul Lusk has found the right combinations to keep this team together amidst adversity. They almost pulled off one of the biggest upsets in college baskbetball 2 weeks ago vs. Wichita State, as they had a 19-point lead with 12 minutes left in the game, but couldn’t pull through. A nice addition to the team’s rotation is sophomore point guard Dorian Williams, who has 62 assists and just 19 turnovers.

Missouri State Bears vs. Southern Illinois Salukis - 1/25/14

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Salukis of Southern Illinois have had a season to pretty much forget about and their goal now is likely to stay out of the basement in the league. Head coach Barry Hinson has been harping on his guys to play more focused and smarter, but that is game to game really, and only when he implodes to the media do his players respond in a positive way. They carry a 2-5 MVC record (the Bears sit at 3-4) and senior Desmar Jackson has been the team’s go-to-guy and without him, there’s no telling how this team would even compete. He averages 21 ppg and about 5 rebounds per game. Overall, the Salukis are a decent shooting team (46%), which is even higher than the Valley’s leader – Wichita St. The Salukis are still pretty raw, but have a couple good-looking sophomores in Jalen Pendleton (11.8 ppg) and Anthony Beane (10.7 ppg).

With the spread where it’s at now, I have a hard time which way to go with this one honestly. I have little doubt that Missouri State will find a way to win and are 9-1 at home, but every once in a while, the Salukis will play much better. If I had to make a call though, I’m going with Missouri State, but I certainly don’t see a blowout with 2 stars missing.

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