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Indiana State Sycamores vs. Southern Illinois Salukis - 2/15/14

Southern Illinois Salukis (10-16) at Indiana State Sycamores (19-6)

College Basketball: Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 1:05 pm (Hulman Center)

The Line: Indiana State Sycamores -8.5 -- Over/Under: TBA See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN3, ESPN FullCourt

The Indiana State Sycamores try to reach 20 wins as they host the Southern Illinois Salukis at noon in Terre, Haute, Indiana.

Indiana State is primed to finish 2nd in the Valley as they hold a 3-game lead over the 3rd place team in the conference, Missouri State. The Sycamores are led by senior Jake Odum with 12.5 ppg and has 119  assists to just 49 turnovers. He was the man last game as they beat the Bradley Braves in a grind-it-out road game, but then again, this is that kind of team and their games are not the prettiest, but that’s how they get it done. There are 4 others who average 10+ points per game, which include Manny Arop (11.7 ppg), Khristian Smith (11.4 ppg), Dawon Cummings (10.4 ppg), and Justin Gant (10.4 ppg), who all shoot at 36% or better on three-pointers. The Sycamores are looking to reach the 20 win plateau quicker than any season since the great team from 1978-’79, who went all the way to the national championship game. When holding opponents to under 63 points during head coach Greg Lansing’s tenure, they are 51-4. I see this game being fairly low scoring, so that stat bodes well for them.

Indiana State Sycamores vs. Southern Illinois Salukis - 2/15/14

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Salukis of Southern Illinois have been playing well lately and gave #2 ranked Wichita State a run for their money, having the lead for more than half the game, but eventually running out of steam late. They had won 4 straight games, shooting the ball close to 50% from the field during that span. Sophomore guard Anthony Beane has been outstanding in the last 2 weeks and nabbed the MVC player of the week award for the last 2 weeks. He tallied 25 in a losing effort to the Shockers and has averaged 24 ppg over the last 5 games, hitting 20 or more in each game. Senior Desmar Jackson has tailed off in scoring production lately, but still is a threat to score, averaging 19.4 ppg and 5.5 rebounds. Overall, the Salukis are a decent shooting team (46.4%), which among tops in the conference, right along with Indiana State. They have a +1.5 rebounding margin over opponents and just about matched the Shockers in the last game, who are one of the best rebounding teams in the nation.

Head coach Barry Hinson has to be proud of his guys for responding to his negative comments toward his team, which is likely a tactic to them to play with more pride and passion. They certainly are playing competitively and are a team you have to watch out for these days to pull off an upset. I don’t see them getting the win here as Indiana State can clinch a 2nd place seed with a win and get to 20 wins overall. But it may be close at times and I think SIU will keep it within the spread (like they have done lately) by the time the final buzzer sounds.

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