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It’s a battle from the Missouri Valley Conference on the college hardwood. The Bradley Braves are on the road as they travel to face the Illinois State Redbirds Saturday night. Bradley comes in off an upset win, 61-54, over Loyola-Chicago at home Wednesday night. Illinois State was dropped 77-64 on the road by Northern Iowa on the road Wednesday night in their previous contest. The Redbirds leads the all-time series 48-40 but Bradley has won the last two meetings, including an 85-68 home win in the first matchup this season on January 23.
Bradley Braves Seek Fourth Straight Win
Bradley earned their third straight victory as they upended the top team in the conference by downing Loyola-Chicago. The Braves improved to 6-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference, leaving them fifth in the standings, three games behind the Ramblers. Bradley trailed by four at the half and rallied by outscoring Loyola-Chicago 39-28 in the second half to get the win. The Braves shot 46 percent from the field, including five of 16 from three-point range, and won the rebounding battle 31-27. Darrell Brown led Bradley with 21 points in the win.
We told you not to let us get going… 🅱️🏀 pic.twitter.com/mdl2L3Gv8Q
— Bradley Basketball (@bradleyumbb) February 14, 2019
The Braves put up an average of 67.8 points per game this season. Bradley pulls down an average of 34.8 rebounds a night while dishing out 11.9 assists per game. The Braves are very good defensively, ranking 50th in scoring defense by allowing 66.4 points per game. Darrell Brown leads the team with 15.3 points plus three assists per game. Elijah Childs is the only other player averaging in double figures with 11.9 points plus 7.8 rebounds a night. Nate Kennell, Koch Bar, Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye and Luuk van Bree all average at least 6.7 points per game this season. Bradley shoots 43.8 percent from the field as a team this season. The Braves knock down an average of 6.8 triples a night while shooting 36.3 percent from beyond the arc. Bradley is mediocre at the free throw line as they shoot 68.3 percent from the stripe this season.
Illinois State Redbirds Hope to Snap Skid at Three
Illinois State suffered their third straight defeat as they were dropped by Northern Iowa in their last contest. The Redbirds fell to 7-6 in the Missouri Valley Conference, leaving them fourth in the standings, two games behind Loyola-Chicago. Illinois State trailed by 12 at the half and couldn’t make a sustained push the rest of the way as they didn’t draw closer than seven. The Redbirds shot 39.3 percent from the field, including eight of 28 from three-point range, and allowed Northern Iowa to drain 16 of 31 three-point attempts. Phil Fayne paced Illinois State with 21 points and eight rebounds in the loss.
.@philly_f_baby_ is successful under the rim, battling through for ✌️ points. He improves to 15 points on the night while pulling down six rebounds.
— Illinois State MBB (@Redbird_MBB) February 14, 2019
The Redbirds put up 70.2 points a night so far this season. Illinois State collects 34.3 rebounds and dishes out 13.8 assists per game this season. The Redbirds are an average team on the defensive end of the floor this season, ranking 175th in scoring defense by allowing 71.1 points per game. Milik Yarbrough leads the team with 16.4 points, seven rebounds and 3.3 assists per contest. Phil Fayne puts up 15.5 points plus 6.1 boards a night, Josh Jefferson puts up 9.4 points per contest and Zach Copeland adds 10.8 points plus 3.3 assists a night. Keyshawn Evans, William Tinsley, Matt Hein, Rey Idowu, Matt Chastain and Isaac Gassman are all looked to for solid minutes this season. The Redbirds shoot 44 percent from the field as a team this season. Illinois State connects on 8.2 three pointers a night while shooting 35.1 percent from beyond the arc. The Redbirds struggle at the charity stripe, hitting 70.6 percent of their chances this season.
- Redbirds are 8-20 ATS in the last 28 meetings
- Braves are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall
- Braves are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. Missouri Valley Conference foes
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Bradley started conference play 0-5 but has won six of their last eight games coming into this contest. The Braves are playing solid basketball and are making a charge up the standings in the Missouri Valley. Illinois State, on the other hand, has lost three straight games coming into this one. The Redbirds have work to do and they’re going to have a challenge here against Bradley’s tough defense. Bradley rolled to the win at home in the first meeting this season. Playing on the road, it may be a closer game but the Braves get the upper hand here to make it four straight wins.
Prediction: Bradley Braves +4
Full-Game Total Pick
Bradley is playing tough defense this season, which helps offset the fact that their offensive production leaves something to be desired. The Braves are just 299th in scoring offense this season. The Braves are facing an Illinois State team that is just 254th in scoring offense. The Redbirds are 205th in field goal percentage and 142nd in three-point percentage. Bradley’s defense is 93rd in field goal percentage defense (42.2 percent) and 151st in three-point percentage defense (33.8 percent) on the year. Will the Braves’ edge on the defensive end of the floor help them earn a fourth straight win?
The under is 11-4 in the Braves’ last 15 vs. a team with a winning straight up record, 5-2-1 in their last 8 road games and 7-3-1 in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. Illinois State has seen the under go 4-0 in the Redbirds’ last 4 home games and 4-1 in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning straight up record. The teams have stayed under the total in four of the last five meetings and in seven of the last nine meetings at Illinois State. This one falls short as defense carries the day in this one.
Prediction: Under 132