With just two games remaining on the regular-season schedule, Bradley is still fighting for positioning in the MVC Tournament. The Braves enter tied for third place in the MVC Standings with a 10-6 overall record and they sit just one game back of Loyola Chicago for the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. Meanwhile, the Redbirds have won just four of their first 16 conference games but three of those wins have come in the past month. Can the Redbirds pull off the upset at home against Bradley on Wednesday evening?
Bradley's winning streak ends at four gamesBradley snapped a four-game winning streak on Saturday with a 90-78 loss on the road versus Valparaiso. The Braves led by 13 points midway through the first half but went cold from the field thereafter and trailed by as many as 15 points in the loss. Elijah Childs led three Braves players in double-figures with 19 points while Nate Kennell added 16 in a losing effort for Bradley.
Hear what Coach Wardle had to say after tonight’s game versus Valparaiso pic.twitter.com/B3TveJwqd6— Bradley Basketball (@bradleyumbb) February 23, 2020
Brian Wardle’s squad comes into the weekend slotted at No. 117 in the latest KenPom rankings after snapping their season-high four-game winning streak. The Braves have scored 105.6 points per 100 possessions for the season (100th in the NCAA) and 106.2 points per 100 possessions versus league opponents (2nd in the MVC). Bradley ranks near the top of the conference in several offensive categories. The Braves have turned the ball over just 17.5 percent of the time during league play (3rd in the MVC) while sporting an effective field goal percentage of 51.6 percent (4th in the MVC) and an offensive rebounding rate of 28.8 percent (2nd in the MVC).
On defense, Bradley has allowed 100.5 points per 100 possessions for the season (148th in the NCAA) and 101.8 points per 100 possessions during conference play (7th in the MVC). Bradley owns the best effective field goal percentage defense in the conference at 47.6 percent but too many offensive rebounds and trips to the free throw line have limited its ability to string together stops defensively.
Illinois State snaps three-game slide versus DrakeIllinois State snapped a three-game slide on Saturday, knocking off Drake 57-53 behind 21 points from Keith Fisher. Antonio Reeves added 16 off of the bench of the Redbirds, who shot 11-for-30 from 3-point range on the night.
Antonio Reeves slashed and shot his way to 16 points tonight in the team's win over Drake! pic.twitter.com/hDho51gkRz— Illinois State MBB (@Redbird_MBB) February 23, 2020
Dan Muller’s squad comes into Wednesday’s matchup ranked No. 225 in the latest KenPom rankings after stumbling through much of the conference season. The Redbirds have scored 98.2 points per 100 possessions for the season (238th in the NCAA) but that number has dropped to just 94.8 points per 100 possessions versus MVC opponents (9th in the MVC). Illinois State turns the ball over a league-high 21.0 percent of the time (10th in the MVC) and it gets to the free throw line at a meager 24.4 percent clip (10th in the MVC). The Redbirds aren’t shy about letting it fly from long-range, where they’ve attempted 45.8 percent of their total field goal attempts during conference play (1st in the MVC). Illinois State has sot a healthy 36.2 percent from deep (4th in the MVC) but only 45.5 percent from 2-point range during league play (10th in the MVC).
Things haven’t been much better for the Redbirds on the other end of the floor either. On defense, Muller’s squad has given up 103.1 points per 100 possessions for the season (200th in the NCAA) and 103.6 points per 100 possessions versus league opponents. Illinois State has forced MVC teams to turn the ball over 19.2 percent of the time (4th in the MVC) but it has allowed teams to shoot a red-hot 52.2 percent from 2-point range during the conference season (9th in the MVC).
- Redbirds are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight-up win.
- Redbirds are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS win.
- Braves are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight-up loss.