It’s a battle of Missouri Valley Conference teams on the hardwood. The Valparaiso Crusaders make the trip to face the Southern Illinois Salukis Saturday afternoon. Valparaiso comes in off a 61-50 win over Bradley at home Tuesday night in their last game. Southern Illinois lost 82-70 on the road to Drake Tuesday night in their last contest. The Salukis own a 3-1 edge in the all-time series, including a 65-59 home win in the last matchup on February 3, 2018.
Valparaiso Crusaders Shoot for Fifth Straight Win
Valparaiso rung up their fourth straight victory as they came up with the triumph over Bradley in their last contest. The Crusaders look to make it five straight wins as they continue conference play here. Valparaiso led by 13 at the half and didn’t let Bradley get closer than five with 2:43 remaining in the game. The Crusaders shot 49 percent from the field, including eight of 22 from three point range, and controlled the glass by a 38-29 margin. Javon Freeman led Valparaiso with 17 points in the contest as the lone player in double figures.
— MVC Basketball (@ValleyHoops) January 3, 2019
The Crusaders are scoring an average of 72.9 points per game so far this season. Valparaiso pulls down 35.3 rebounds per contest while dishing out an average of 15.9 assists a night. The Crusaders are above average on the defensive end of the floor as they tied for 85th in scoring defense by allowing 67.5 points per game. Ryan Fazekas leads the team with 12.7 points per game this season. Derrik Smits (11.9 points, 6.4 rebounds), Bakari Evelyn (10.5 points, 3.1 assists) and Markus Golder (10.3 points) all average in double figures this season. Deion Lavender is the only other player that averages better than 3.8 points per game. Valparaiso shoots 46.9 percent from the field this season. The Crusaders sink 7.2 three pointers a game while hitting 34.3 percent from beyond the arc. Valparaiso has struggled at times at the charity stripe as they convert 69.1 percent as a team this season.
Southern Illinois Salukis Try to Regroup in Conference Play
Southern Illinois suffered their fourth loss in six games as they were defeated on the road by Drake. The Salukis look to get back in the win column here as they try to avoid falling to .500 in conference play. Southern Illinois fell behind 10-0 and couldn’t dig their way out of that hole. The Salukis trailed by 21 at the half and couldn’t get closer than nine the rest of the way. Southern Illinois shot 46 percent from the field, including six of 19 from three point range, and missed half of their 12 free throw attempts in the game. Eric McGill led the way for the Salukis with 17 points in the loss.
— Saluki Basketball (@SIU_Basketball) January 9, 2019
The Salukis put up an average of 69.6 points a night on the season. Southern Illinois grabs 33.7 rebounds per contest and hands out 14.9 assists a contest. The Salukis are solid on the defensive end of the floor as they are 106th by allowing 68.4 points per contest. Armon Fletcher leads the team with 14.6 points plus 5.6 rebounds per contest. Aaron Cook chips in 11.2 points a night, Eric McGill adds 11.7 points per contest, Kavion Pippen chips in 11.9 points a night and Sean Lloyd Jr. contributes 11.6 points a game. Marcus Bartley, Thik Bol, Rudy Stradnieks, Darius Beane and Brendon Gooch all are locked into hefty minutes a night to help the Salukis. Southern Illinois cashes in on 47.2 percent of their shots from the floor. The Salukis drain seven triples a night but shoot only 38.2 percent from beyond the arc as a team. Southern Illinois is mediocre at the free throw line as they hit 70.4 percent of their attempts.
- Salukis are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games
- Salukis are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. Missouri Valley foes
- Salukis are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
- Crusaders are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 Saturday games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Valparaiso has reeled off four straight wins and they’ve found ways to win games despite a lack of offensive assault this season. The Crusaders are average on the offensive end: they’ve gotten timely buckets in key situations and they play tough defense. Valparaiso has held eight opponents to 66 points or fewer this season. Southern Illinois is less efficient on both ends compared to the Crusaders. While the Salukis have the advantage of being at home here, Valparaiso’s defense carries the day. Take the points and the Crusaders in this contest.
Prediction: Valparaiso Crusaders +6
Full-Game Total Pick
We’re looking at a pair of tough defensive teams in this one as the Crusaders are shutting teams down. Southern Illinois is above average on the defensive end of the floor and it’s going to be a challenge for both teams on the offensive end of the floor. The Salukis have had some tough non-conference matchups, including a home and home set with a ranked Buffalo team. Southern Illinois has their work cut out for them here: can they find a way to come up with the home win.
The under is 4-1 in the Crusaders’ last 5 overall, 4-1 in their last 5 games following a straight up win and 14-6 in their last 20 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Southern Illinois has seen the under go 4-0 in their last 4 home games, 5-1 in their last six overall and 13-3 in their last 16 games following a straight up loss. This one ends up under the total with both teams playing tough defense to make points hard to come by.
Prediction: Under 129