The Braves enter the weekend tied for second place in the MVC standings after winning five of their first seven conference contests. Meanwhile, Indiana State is trying to get back on the winning track after falling below the .500-mark in league play earlier in the week. Can the Sycamores bounce back with a win at home over Bradley on Saturday afternoon?
Braves off to best MVC start since 2009Bradley won for the fourth time in five games on Wednesday night, knocking off Illinois State at home 75-63. Nate Kennell and Ville Yahvanainen scored 18 points apiece while Danya Kingsby chipped in 12 points for the Braves in the win.
"Team First. Self Last." -- Winning the Bradley way against your rival! 🅱️🏀— Bradley Basketball (@bradleyumbb) January 23, 2020
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Brian Wardle and the Braves have been hit hard by the injury bug this season. Darrell Brown, Elijah Childs, and Stephan Gabriel have all missed time due to injury but Bradley has managed to stay afloat during that span. The Braves are off to a strong start to the MVC season and they enter the weekend slotted at No. 96 in the latest KenPom rankings. Bradley has scored 105.6 points per 100 possessions (90th in the NCAA) for the season but that number has jumped to 109.5 points per 100 possessions during conference play (2nd in the MVC). Through seven league games, the Braves have turned the ball over just 15.6 percent of the time (1st in the MVC). They’ve also hauled in an impressive 31.2 percent of their missed field goal attempts (1st in the MVC) during that span.
On defense, the Braves have given up 98.3 points per 100 possessions for the season (104th in the NCAA) and 98.6 points per 100 possessions versus MVC opponents (3rd in the MVC). Bradley has held MVC teams to an effective field goal percentage of just 47.4 percent (1st in the MVC), including only 45.1 percent shooting from 2-point range (1st in the MVC).
Sycamores lose back-to-back conference gamesIndiana State came up short for the second conference game in a row on Wednesday night, falling 75-55 on the road against Loyola Chicago. Jordan Barnes was the only Sycamores player to finish in double-figures on the night with 18 points, as Indiana State fell behind by as many as 27 points in the second half.
Greg Lansing is trying to get the Sycamores back on the right track after dropping four of their last six conference games. Indiana State enters the weekend slotted at No. 124 in the latest KenPom rankings following its 3-4 start to the conference season. The Sycamores have scored 106.3 points per 100 possessions (78th in the NCAA) while shooting a healthy 39.1 percent from long-range (9th in the NCAA) for the season. However, both of those numbers have been trending in the wrong direction since the start of conference play. Through seven league games, Indiana State has scored just 101.3 points per 100 possessions (5th in the MVC) and shot 36.5 percent from 3-point range (4th in the MVC). However, a lack of free-throw attempts and poor free-throw shooting has held the Sycamores back offensively. They sport a free-throw rate of just 24.3 percent (8th in the MVC) and have shot just 57.4 percent from the charity stripe as a team during conference play (10th in the MVC).
On defense, Indiana State has surrendered 102.3 points per 100 possessions (178th in the NCAA) despite ranking among the worst 2-point shooting defenses in the nation. They have allowed opponents to shoot 53.6 percent from inside the arc on the year (308th in the NCAA) for the season and that number hasn’t budged versus MVC opponents, who have hit 53.0 percent of their shots from 2-point range against the Sycamores defense (10th in the MVC).