Valparaiso (19-8, 11-4) vs. Missouri State (21-6, 13-3)
ARC; Valparaiso, IN
Valparaiso is currently sitting in second place in the Horizon League behind Cleveland State and could really use a win against a top 100 RPI team for their resume. They will be coming off a loss to Wisconsin-Milwaukee 79-76, a team that they probably should have been able to handle.
Missouri State, who is currently in a tie for first place in the Valley with Wichita State, will also be lloking to use this game as a resume builder. Witht he hopes of getting tweo into the dance from the MVC, MSU will want to pick of this win to build their resume.
Indiana State (15-12, 10-6) vs. Morehead State (20-8, 12-4)
Hulman Center, Terre Haute, IN
The Sycamores are coming off a big win over SIU 77-72 that guaranteed that they would not be playing in the dreadful Thursday session of the MVC Tournament. The Sycamores have been very up and down this season, as most young teams are. They will look to use today’s game as a building block to their future success and an experience to keep some momentum into the final two games of the regular season.
Morehead State, who is currently in the Ohio Valley Conference, will be coming off a big overtime win over Eastern Kentucky, 76-68 in overtime. With little shot outside of an automatic bid to get into the dance, I would have to guess this game is more that a headache than anything else for these two squads.
Western Michigan (14-10, 7-4) vs. Illinois State (11-16, 3-13)
University Arena; Kalamazoo, MI
Well, I guess they let anyone play in the BracketBuster now. Illinois State is coming off a whipping by Creighton 75-59 this past week and are currently tied for dead last in the Valley. Despite great effort by Austin Hill, who dropped 27 on CU by cutting to through the lane with Lawson and GE on the bench, the Redbirds returned to their ways in the loss.
The Broncos of Western Michigan will be a fair oppont for the Redbirds, and I am shocked this one is not on television. At 14-10 overall and a 7-4 conference record, you have to wonder who benefits from a game like this.
Tennessee-Martin (10-18, 5-11) vs. Bradley (9-18, 3-13)
Elam Center; Martin, TN
The Skyhawks have struggled this season. Sitting at 8th ion the Ohio Valley conference, they are far from a shot at any post season play. They will be coming off a win over Eastern Illinois, 73-54, and will hope to carry that into today’s home game against the Bradley Braves of the MVC.
The Braves, a beacon of success in the Valley this season, will be coming off yet another loss in conference play as they fell to UNI earlier in the week 70-80. Could a win tonight save Jim’s job, no. This will be a game between two teams that have struggled all season and will be looking for any bright spot as the season goes concludes.
Southern Illinois (11-16, 5-11) vs. Green Bay (12-15, 6-9)
SIU Arena; Carbondale, IL
The return of the three suspended players were not enough to get past Indiana St. in SIU’s last game. Hosting the Sycamores, the Salukis fell by 5. This afternoon’s game may be their best chance to pick up a win before a Thursday night play-in game. Their final two conference games they host Missouri St. and travel to Indiana St.
Green Bay currently sits in seventh in the Horizon League. Having lost four games in a row, traveling to SIU won’t be easy. The Phoenix do offer a couple challenges. Gene Teague will be battling 7-ft Alec Brown who averages 9.4 ppg. The Phoenix are lead in scoring by Rahmon Fletcher. The point guard shoots 38% from 3 and averages 3 assists per game.
Northern Iowa (19-9, 10-6) vs. George Mason (22-5, 14-2)
McLeod Center; Cedar Falls, IA
George Mason comes in a top the Colonial Athletic Conference. They dropped a couple conference games early and have gone on a 12-game win streak in the mean time and hold a 2-game lead in the CAA standings. With non-conference losses against NC State and Dayton, there aren’t any marquee wins but their at-large chances look good sitting at #20. The Patriots have three players averaging double figures; Cam Long (15.3) Ryan Pearson (14.5), and Luke Hancock (11.4).
UNI finally picked up a win without Lucas O’Rear on Tuesday against Bradley. Their first win in four games. Have the Panthers figured out how to play without him? If the Panthers continue to shoot well from the outside, they can fill the void. On the defensive end of the court, the Panthers need to continue to find a way to guard the interior.
Murray St. (20-7, 12-4) vs. Evansville (14-12, 8-8)
CFSC Center; Murray, KY
The Racers sit a top the Ohio Valley Conference. With an RPI of 127, winning the Ohio Valley tournament is their only hope for making the NCAA tournament. Former Creighton guard Isacc Miles is one of three players in double figures for the Racers. Miles scores 10.2 ppg, Isaiah Canaan 12.3 leads the team, and B.J. Jenkins rounds out the top three at 10.3. The Racers have won eight of their last nine.
Evansville comes in losing three of their last four. Last time out, they hung with Wichita St. before falling by 6. In a non-conference game, Colt Ryan should be able to have more freedom against a team that is not familiar with him. With a favorable conference schedule the rest of the way out, the Purple Aces can get on track tonight with a win tonight.
Drake (11-16, 6-10) vs. Detroit (15-14, 9-8)
Knapp Center; Des Moines, IA
Two evenly matched teams square off in Des Moines. The Detroit Titans are 6th in the Horizon League. The Titans have lost four of their last seven. Like the Bluejays, the Titans are lead by a freshman, who came to school to be coached by his dad. For the Titans, Ray McCallum leads them in scoring at 14 points and 5 assists per game. Their coach, Ray McCallum, is in his third season at Detroit. He got his son to pass up scholarships to Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma, and UCLA to stay home. McCallum, the player, will be a tough match-up for the Bulldogs.
Drake has lost their last two and five of their last eight. They take on Detroit today for the 20th time in school history. The last meeting, November 20, 2005, was a Drake win and the first ever college basketball game at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. A win here and the Bulldogs build momentum the rest of the way out when they take on Evansville and Bradley, both winnable games. With a group of young players, coach Mark Phelps needs his team to improve each time out.