Evansville vs. Missouri State - 3/4/16 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Missouri State Bears (13-18) at Evansville Purple Aces (23-8)
College Basketball: Friday, March 4, 2016 at 7:00 pm (Scottrade Center)
The Line: Evansville Purple Aces -13.5 -- Over/Under: 139.5 See the Latest Odds
TV: The Valley; Fox Sports-Midwest; Comcast Sportsnet - Chicago; ESPN College Extra
The Missouri State Bears and Evansville Purple Aces will travel to the Scottrade Center to face off in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament this Friday night.
The Evansville Purple Aces has an outstanding season in which they finished their regular season with a 23-8 overall record and earned the 2-seed in the MVC tournament with a 12-6 conference record. Evansville lost their last regular season game at home against Northern Iowa but did win 4 of their last 5 games and has some solid wins against Belmont and at Illinois State. Evansville has been led all season by D.J. Balentine (20.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.4 apg) and double-double machine, Egidijus Mockevicius (16.6 ppg, 14.0 rpg, 2.8 bpg). Also contributing for the Purple Aces was Jaylon Brown (10.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.1 spg) and Adam Wing (7.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.8 apg). Offensively, Evansville averages 75.4 ppg on 49.9% shooting from the field and 35.7% shooting from beyond the arc. The Purple Aces average 4.5 three-pointers per game and have an assist/turnover ratio of 1.38. Defensively, Evansville is holding their opponents to an average of 66.7 ppg on 40.9% shooting. The Purple Aces have a rebound margin of 2.9 and average 4.4 blocks per game.
USA TODAY Sports
The 7-seed Missouri State Bears was able to hold on late to defeat the 10-seed Drake Bulldogs, 69-67, late on Thursday night. Missouri State had a 40-30 halftime lead in this one but allowed Drake to go on a 9-0 run to make it 62-61 game with 4:15 left to play to make it game. Missouri State shot 42.3% from the field and 50.0% (10-20) from beyond the arc but was outrebounded by Drake by a 37-27 margin. The Bears allowed the Bulldogs to shoot 48.1% from the field and won the turnover battle by a 10-6 margin. Leading the way for Missouri State was Chris Kendrix who had 21 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. On the season, the Bears have been led by Dequon Miller (12.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.9 apg), Chris Kendrix (12.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.0 apg, 1.0 spg), and Camyn Boone (11.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.2 apg). Offensively, Missouri State is averaging 67.6 ppg on 41.4% shooting from the field and 31.1% shooting from beyond the arc. The Bears average 5.1 three-pointers per game and have an assist/turnover ratio of 0.93. Defensively, Missouri State is allowing their opponents to average 72.9 ppg on 44.5% shooting. The Bears average 3.9 blocks per game and have a turnover margin of -0.5.
Evansville was able to defeat Missouri State handily in both matchups this season as the Purple Aces won by a 76-59 margin at Missouri State and by an 83-64 margin at home. Evansville has two of the better players in the conference in D.J. Balentine and Egidijus Mockevicius and is a well-rounded team that ranked 5th in the country in FG% and 58th in scoring defense. Missouri State lost 5 of 7 games coming to the MVC tournament and has struggled away from home this season as in conference away games, the Bears have averaged just 65.0 ppg. I expect the line to be pretty big in this one but I’m most likely rolling with the Purple Aces as the Bears just don’t have the offense to keep up with Evansville. Please check back for my official pick once the line is released.
Update: This is a big line, but Evansville has won by at least 14 points in both matchups this season and I don't see any reason why they can't do it again. Take Evansville.