The Valparaiso Crusaders and the Missouri State Bears meet in Missouri Valley Conference college basketball action from the JQH Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The Valparaiso Crusaders come into this game looking to build on back-to-back wins after a 58-56 buzzer-beating win over Illinois State in their last outing. Ryan Fazekas led the Crusaders with 14 points including 4 threes while Derrik Smits and Markus Golder each had 10 points to round out the trio of double-digit scorers for Valparaiso in the win with Smits pulling down a team-high 9 rebounds while Golder added 7 rebounds and nailed the game-winning half-court buzzer beater to give Valparaiso the win. Fazekas leads the Crusaders in scoring with 13 points per game while Smits leads Valparaiso on the glass with 6.7 rebounds per game and Deion Lavender leads Valpo in assists with 5.2 assists per game this season. As a team, Valparaiso is scoring 73.1 points per game on 46.5% shooting from the field, 32.9% from behind the arc and 69.7% from the foul line this season.
The Missouri State Bears will look to bounce back after a 75-70 loss to Southern Illinois in their last outing. Ryan Kreklow and Keandre Cook tied for the team lead with 15 points with Kreklow adding 5 threes, 5 rebounds and 3 steals while Cook added 3 triples. Tulio Da Silva added 13 points and a team-high 7 rebounds while Josh Webster chipped in 11 points and a team-high 6 assists to round out the group of double-digit scorers for Missouri State in the win. Cook leads the Bears with an average of 13.9 points and 4.5 rebounds per game while Webster leads Missouri State in assists with 5.9 assists per game this season. As a team, Missouri State is averaging 77.3 points per game on 46.8% shooting from the field, 34.7% from behind the arc and 71.9% from the foul line this season.
Valparaiso is 0-6 ATS in their last 5 games overall and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games against a team with a losing record while the under is 14-5 in their last 19 road games against a team with a winning home record. Missouri State is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home games and 5-13 ATS in their last 18 conference games while the over is 8-3 in their last 11 games overall. Valparaiso is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings between these two teams.
I’ll admit that Missouri State should probably be favored here, given that the Bears have been solid at home this season. However, Missouri State has struggled against the rest of the MVC and while their record ATS leaves a lot to be desired, Valparaiso has to be feeling pretty good about escaping with the win against Illinois State even though it took a half-court buzzer beater to do so. It sounds weird but I simply trust the Crusaders more than I do Missouri State right now, so I’ll take the points with Valparaiso here.