MVC Tournament Quarterfinals - Illinois State Redbirds vs. Evansville Purple Aces - 3/6/15 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Evansville Purple Aces (19-11) at Illinois State Redbirds (19-11)
College Basketball: Friday, March 6, 2015 at 3:30 pm (Scottrade Center)
The Line: Illinois State Redbirds -3 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
TV: The Valley / Fox Sports Atlantic / ESPN 3
The Evansville Purple Aces and Illinois State Redbirds will face off in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament this Friday night at the Scottrade Center.
The Evansville Purple Aces finished the season with a 19-11 record and earned the 5th seed in the MVC tournament with a 9-9 conference record. Evansville was projected to make some noise this year as they returned all five starters from last year and although they finished 19-11, they have to be a bit disappointed that they finished only .500 in the conference. Evansville was a solid team on both sides of the ball and do much of their damage on offensive inside the arc as they average only 4.0 three-pointers per game. Evansville is ranked 107th in the RPI Standings and has played the 131st ranked SOS. Evansville biggest win of the season was they defeated the 10th ranked Northern Iowa Panthers 52-49 to kick off conference play this year.
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On the season, Evansville averaged 69.4 ppg (ranked 1236th) on 48.0% shooting (ranked 21st). The Purple Aces shoot 74.6% from the free-throw line (ranked 25th) and average 15.5 apg (ranked 26th). Evansville averages 12.9 turnovers per game (ranked 207th) and pull down just 8.0 offensive rpg (ranked 324th). Defensively, Evansville is holding their opponents to 64.4 ppg (ranked 119th) on 42.9% shooting (ranked 179th). The Purple Aces average 3.7 bpg (ranked 135th) and commit 17.0 personal fouls per game (ranked 78th). Evansville has been led by D.J. Balentine (19.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.1 apg) and Egidijus Mockevicius (12.0 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 2.3 bpg).
The Illinois State Redbirds finished the season with a 19-11 record and earned the 4th seed in the MVC tournament with an 11-7 conference record. Illinois State returned four starters from a team that went 9-9 in the MVC the year before, and displayed one of the better defenses in the MVC this year. Illinois State is ranked 77th in the RPI Standings and has played the 93rd ranked SOS. Illinois State was able to beat DePaul on the road early in the season, however, wasn’t able to knock off any of the MVC heavyweights and ended the season 0-5 against the RPI top-50.
On the season, Illinois State averaged 69.0 ppg (ranked 135th) on 43.7% shooting (ranked 161st). The Redbirds averaged 6.0 three-pointers per game (ranked 206th) and shot 71.8% from the free-throw line (ranked 80th). Illinois State average just 11.7 apg (ranked 242nd) and committed 13.0 turnovers per game (ranked 215th). Defensively, Illinois State is holding their opponents to an average of 62.2 ppg (ranked 69th) on 41.8% shooting (ranked 113th). The Redbirds commit 19.0 personal fouls per game (ranked 233rd) and average 7.6 spg (ranked 47th). Leading the way for Illinois State was Daishon Knight (13.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.0 spg) and DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell (13.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.1 spg).
Evansville lost their last three regular season games and has lost 6 of their last 9 games of the season. Illinois State enters the conference tournament on a four game winning streak as they’ve been holding their opponents to just 57.5 ppg during their streak. Illinois State was able to go 2-0 against Evansville during the regular season with a 77-51 blow at home and a 69-67 OT win at Evansville this past Saturday. Evansville has a great duo in D.J Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius however, Illinois State is a better overall team and I think their defensive will cause Evansville all sorts of problems in this one. Outside of Wichita State and Evansville, I feel that Illinois State has the best chance to make a run for the conference title and they are the non-powerhouse team no one wants to play right now. Take Illinois State to cover.