The Drake Bulldogs will take on the Southern Illinois Salukis this Sunday afternoon. Both teams have played five games in the Missouri Valley Conference. Drake managed a 3-2 record while Southern Illinois s down at 2-3. Drake comes into this one off a win over Illinois St. while winning three of their last four appearances. Southern Illinois has not been as lucky, losing two in a row. Both of those losses came by over 15 points. The Salukis will look to pull it together at home while Drake will aim to keep rolling with the momentum.
Drake takes on the challenge of the roadDrake is coming into this one riding a bit of momentum with three wins in their last four. The biggest challenge for the Bulldogs has been their performance on the road. While they have an undefeated mark of 10-0 at home, Drake is just 1-4 in away games. With that being said, their competition has been slightly tougher on the road with losses against teams like Cincinnati and Dayton. They have held onto a consistent record through a solid defense. Drake allows an average of just 66.5 points per game. Perhaps most impressively, their opponents shoot 42 percent from the field. This will be huge against a Southern Illinois team that has some fairly inconsistent shooting at 43 percent.
As far as their offense goes, Drake thrives through depth and consistency. Eight different players average five or more points per game on the year. Liam Robbins leads the way with an average of 13.4 points per game. The seven-foot forward is nothing short of dominant down low. He also adds 6.1 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. Perhaps best of all against a team like Southern Illinois, Robbins shoots 53 percent from the field. He has been the most dominant player for the Bulldogs on the glass as well. If Drake can get extra possessions, they are likely to run away with this one.
SIU looks to stay hot at homeMuch like their opponent, it has been a tale of two seasons with a 7-1 record at home compared to their 0-7 mark on the road. Despite their confidence at home, there is no way the Salukis can feel confident in their offense right now. In their losses to Loyola and Bradley, they managed to score just 48 points both times. In those two games, only two players total have managed to reach double figures. With Aaron Cook out with a broken hand, Marcus Domask will have to take on the brunt of the scoring. He put up double figures in both of those poor offensive performances but will likely have trouble with Robbins down low, especially with a massive height disadvantage.
To give Southern Illinois hope in this one, they will need to keep the scoring as low as possible. They allow their opponents to score just 60.8 points per game with a shooting percentage of 42 percent. They are especially good at defending the three, an area where opponents shoot just 29 percent. Unfortunately for Southern Illinois, most of the scoring from Drake has been coming down low. The post game will also be an issue in terms of rebounding for the Salukis. They have been outrebounded massively this season, pulling in 30.2 boards per game while their opponents average 35.1. Giving up extra possessions will be a death sentence for this team that cannot score.
- Drake is 16-5-1 ATS in their last 22 games against losing teams
Trends from DonBest:
- Southern Illinois is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games against winning teams