Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#645 Missouri State -3 vs.
#646 Evansville 131.5
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 2:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul

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#645 Missouri State University
#646 University of Evansville
8-10
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67
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The Missouri State Bears will head to the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana on Saturday afternoon as they prepare for a Missouri Valley Conference clas versus the Evansville Purple Aces.

Evansville took the college basketball world by storm with a win over No. 1-ranked Kentucky in early November but they’ve hit a snag as of late, dropping each of their past five games to enter with a 9-9 overall record. Meanwhile, Missouri State has fallen below the .500-mark after losing five of their previous seven contests. Can the Purple Aces get back on the winning track at home against a struggling Missouri State team on Saturday?

Bears drop second straight conference game

Missouri State came up short at home for the second consecutive contest on Wednesday night, losing to Bradley 91-78. Keandre Cook scored a team-high 22 points while senior Lamont West chipped in 14 points off of the bench for the Bears, who erased a 16-point first-half deficit to take a double-digit lead before Bradley closed the game on a 33 to 10 run.

Dana Ford’s squad comes into the weekend slotted at No. 173 in the latest KenPom rankings after losing back-to-back conference games. The Bears have scored only 99.6 points per 100 possessions for the season (195th in the NCAA) and they’ve turned the ball over a whopping 21.1 percent of the time on offense (274th in the NCAA). However, they’ve been much more careful with the basketball during league play, cutting their turnover rate to just 16.6 percent (3rd in the MVC). The Bears do most of their damage from inside the arc but they have shot just 47.3 percent from 2-point range for the season (242nd in the NCAA) and 42.7 percent from inside the arc during conference play (10th in the MVC).

On defense, the Bears have surrendered only 99.9 points per 100 possessions on the year (151st in the NCAA) and that number has jumped to 105.2 points per 100 possessions during conference play (8th in the MVC).

Evansville still without McCarty, Williams

Evansville extended its current slide to a season-long six games on Wednesday night with a 65-42 loss on the road against Indiana State. Sam Cunliffe was the only Purple Aces player to score in double-figures on the night with 12 points, as Evansville shot just 5-for-23 from beyond the arc and turned the ball over 16 times in the loss.

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Walter McCarty’s squad enters the weekend slotted at No. 259 in the latest KenPom rankings after getting out to an 0-5 start in MVC play. Evansville has scored 96.8 points per 100 possessions for the season (255th in the NCAA) but that number has dipped considerably since the start of league play. Through five MVC contests, the Purple Aces rank dead-last in the conference with an offensive rating of only 81.0 points per 100 possessions (10th in the MVC) and an effective field goal percentage of 42.3 percent (10th in the MVC) They have also shot just 23.9 percent from deep (10th in the MVC) and turned the ball over on 20.2 percent of their offensive possessions during conference play (9th in the MVC).

On defense, the Purple Aces have surrendered 104.4 points per 100 possessions (248th in the NCAA) and an effective field goal percentage of 52.1 percent (273rd in the NCAA). Both of those numbers have also been trending in the wrong direction during the MVC season. Evansville has given up 108.6 points per 100 possessions (10th in the MVC) and an effective field goal percentage of 54.3 percent (9th in the MVC) versus MVC opponents.

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The Purple Aces have dropped five in a row but you have to believe that streak is going to come to an end eventually. Evansville has been missing star DeAndre Williams as of late with a lingering back injury but they are hoping that he will be able to return soon. He currently leads the team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. They’ve also been without Walter McCarty through their five-game slide but he could be re-instated as early as today. With that being said, this looks like a good spot for the Purple Aces, who have shot 42.9 percent of their total attempts from 3-point range. Missouri State comes in allowing opponents to shoot a red-hot 39.6 percent from distance during conference play. Take the Purple Aces to cover the number at home in this MVC clash on Saturday. 

Prediction: Evansville Purple Aces

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It’s hard to believe that we’re going to get a high-scoring game here. Evansville doesn’t play particularly fast and they rank as the worst team in the conference on both ends of the floor. Meanwhile, Missouri State ranks 312th in adjusted tempo and 318th in average possession length on offense, so we should be treated to a slow-paced game in this one. The Bears do most of their damage from inside the arc, where they’ve shot just 42.8 percent during conference play. Take this game to stay under the projected total on Saturday afternoon. 

Prediction: Under
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.