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 gameMissouri 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, WilliamsEvansville 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.
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.