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Valparaiso at Missouri State
When and Where: Saturday, Jan. 5, JQH Arena, Springfield, Mo., 2 p.m. EST.
After a dramatic rally and victory, Valparaiso looks to sustain its momentum for a 2-0 start in Missouri Valley Conference play on Saturday when it faces Missouri State on the road.
Crusaders riding high after taking down Redbirds
Valparaiso (8-6, 1-0 MVC) pulled off an improbable comeback at home versus Illinois State on Wednesday night, overturning a 10-point deficit in the final 2:07 to win 58-56 on Markus Golder‘s 50-foot heave at the buzzer.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 3, 2019
The shot was sweet redemption for Golder, who had missed a potential game-tying free throw with five seconds left after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt. Golder finished with 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting, with his only 3-pointer the winner.
“There have been times throughout last year when I’d get down on myself,” Golder told the Northwest Indiana Times. “After missing that third (free throw), I was down on myself. But my brothers picked me up, and that’s what they’re there for.”
Ryan Fazekas scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half as the Crusaders overcame shooting 37.7 percent and a 13:50 stretch without a basket by forcing 17 turnovers and scoring 11 second-chance points on 10 offensive rebounds.
Fazekas leads the Crusaders in scoring at 13.0 points per game and is shooting 42.0 percent from 3-point range after making 9 of 17 from beyond the arc in his last two contests.
Valparaiso had a rough go of it on the road in its first season in the Valley in 2017-18, with its lone victory in nine road conference games coming in the last one at Drake.
Poor defense costs Bears in Valley opener
Missouri State (6-8, 0-1) hit 11 of 25 from 3-point range and forced 17 turnovers Wednesday night at Southern Illinois, but it was not enough to prevent a 75-70 defeat.
That was partly because the Bears allowed the Salukis to shoot 50 percent and shot only 37.5 percent themselves inside the arc (12 for 32). Ryan Kreklow scored all 15 of his points from 3-point range, going 5 of 6, and Keandre Cook added 15 off the bench while hitting 3 of 7 from long range.
— Missouri State Athletics (@MissouriStBears) January 4, 2019
First-year coach Dana Ford has gotten Missouri State to play well at home, with the Bears going 6-0 there while averaging 88.0 points and shooting 52.0 percent. Kreklow is fourth on the team in scoring at 9.4 points per game but has hit 23 of 44 3-pointers (52.3 percent) and averaged 10.8 points in eight games since being inserted into the starting lineup.
Junior forward Tulio Da Silva leads Missouri State in scoring at 15.7 points per game while shooting 60.7 percent. Cook and Jarred Dixon are tied for second, averaging 13.9 points apiece, as the Bears are scoring 77.3 points per game but giving up 75.4.
Missouri State has won 25 of its 28 Valley home openers and posted a 9-1 mark in those games at JQH Arena. The Bears won three games between the teams last season, sweeping the regular-season series and recording an 83-79 victory in the first round of the conference tournament.
Missouri State is:
- 5-2 ATS in its last seven home games.
- The favorite is 5-2 ATS in the last seven games.
- The over is 4-0 in its last four home games.
- The over is 8-3 in its last 11 games.
- The over is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games following a straight up loss.
- 3-12-1 ATS in its last 16 games following a straight up win.
- 0-6 ATS in its last six games.
- 0-4 ATS in its last four games vs. sub-.500 teams.
- No trends of note.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
For one game, Valparaiso proved it is better to be lucky than good, but having that momentum carry over to this game feels like a stretch. The Crusaders were a team that could not get over the hump on the road in the Valley last season — seven of the eight losses were by single digits, but the spread is narrow enough where Missouri State can still cover.
Prediction: Pick: Missouri State -4.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Both teams are inconsistent defensively and giving up over 102 points per 100 possessions per KenPom. Valparaiso has a balanced enough offense to believe it will not be held under 60 points again, and with both teams giving up around or over 70 per game, this should be a more up-and-down game in which the over hits.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 141.5 points
Half-Time Side Pick
The Crusaders have not led at halftime in any of their last four games versus Division I opponents and trailed after 20 minutes in two of their three games versus Missouri State last season. The Bears also led at half in four of their five home games this season versus Division I teams.
Prediction: Pick: Missouri State -2
Half-Time Total Bet
Missouri State scored 37 first-half points in two of the three meetings last season and is averaging 40.4 points in the opening 20 minutes this season. Valparaiso may get a momentum bump from its stirring win over the Redbirds in the opening part of this game to help the cause for the over.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 67 points