Missouri Valley Conference Championship Game
Indiana St Sycamores vs Missouri St Bears, Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO
Sunday, March 6, 2011, 2:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Missouri St -4
Current Line: Missouri St -5
Opening Total: 129
Current Total: 127 1/2
Money Line: Missouri St -220 / Indiana St +180
Most people expected Missouri st and Wichita St to be playing in this championship game as the Bears and Shockers were the class of the league all year. Missouri St lived up to their expectations but Wichita St was upset by Indiana St in the semifinals. Missouri St is 25-7 overall and 15-3 in conference. They won the regular season title with a home victory over Wichita St 69-64 the last day of the regular season when both teams were tied or the lead. In the MVC tournament, Missouri St has had to make two comebacks. In the quarterfinals Southern Illinois led by double digits for most of the game, and were up 9 with about a minute to go. Missouri St went on an 11-0 run to win the game including a beautiful one handed jumper from MVC player of the year Kyle Weems with a second left to win the game 58-56 with a second to go. In the semifinals, the Bears were down by 5 points at halftime to Creighton before rallying to win 60-50. Indiana St is 19-13 overall and 12-6 in conference. The Sycamores have won 7 of their last 8 games, the only loss coming at home to Morehead St in ESPn’s Bracket Buster games last month. The Sycamores lost 5 in a row immediately before the 7-1 run started. In the MVC tournament Indiana St hit a buzzer beater of their own against Evansville in the quarterfinals to win 52-50. Jake Odum hit a pull up jumper as time expired to give Indiana St the win. In the semifinals Indiana St was down by 5 at halftime but went on a 33-13 run in the second half to win 61-54. Indiana St has advanced to the MVC title game for only the third time in history. Indiana St won the title in 1979 and 2001.
The two teams split the regular season series with each winning on their own home court. Indiana St won in Terre Haute 70-69 January 18. Missouri St won in Springfield 73-66 February 5. The loss to the Bears was the last game in the five game losing streak for Indiana St. Indiana St has won 4 of the last 6 games against Missouri St and covered all 6 as well. Five of those six have gone over the total as well.
Indiana St has no significant injuries right now. Indiana St is led by guard Dwayne Lathan, who averages 11.2 points to lead the team, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists a game. Guard/forward Carl Richard averages 9.8 points, 6.7 rebounds to lead the team, and 1.5 assists a game. Guard Odum averages 9.3 points 3.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals a game. Odum leads the team in assists and steals. Myles Walker averages 5.3 rebounds and leads the team in blocks with 0.9 a game. Indiana St is outscoring opponents 67-64 on the season. The Sycamores are shooting 42.8% from the field and 36.2% from 3-point range. Indiana St opponents are shooting 40.7% from the field. The Sycamores shoot 71.4% from the free throw line. They average 34.9 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +1.8. Indiana St averages 12.9 assists and 14.1 turnovers a game. The Sycamores force 13.1 turnovers a game on defense. ISU averages 6.3 steals and 4.3 blocks a game.
Missouri St has no significant injuries right now. The Bears are outscoring opponents 70-63 on the season. The Bears shoot 46.1% from the field and 37.6% from 3-point range. MSU opponents are shooting 44.5% from the field. Missouri St shoots 73.1% from the free throw line. The Bears average 33 rebounds a game and have a rebounding margin of +3.3. They average 13.87assists a game and 10.7 turnovers a game. They force 11.1 turnovers a game on defense. MSU averages 4.8 steals and 3 blocks a game. The Bears are led by junior forward Kyle Weems, who leads the team or is tied for the team lead in every statistical category except assists. Weems averages 16.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.9 blocks a game. He is also shooting 39.7% from 3-point range. Center Will Creekmore averages 11.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 0.8 blocks a game. Guard Jermaine Mallett averages 11.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3 assists, Guard Nafis Ricks averages 9.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3 assists a game. Guard Nafis Ricks leads the team in assists with 3.9 a game.
Missouri St might get an at large bid for winning the Missouri Valley regular season title but can’t take any chances, For Indiana St, the Sycamores are shaky to even make the NIT. Both of these teams need a win to make sure they go to the NCAA tournament. I think it will be a close game throughoutas these teams usually play each other pretty tough.
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