|Southern Illinois||D Jackson 15.2||J Early 7.4||K Brown-Surles 2.3|
|Missouri State||A Downing 13.7||K Pickens 4.8||A Downing 2.7|
Southern Illinois battles Missouri State in the first round of the Missouri Valley Tournament at Scottrade Center on Thursday. It gets started at 9:35 p.m. EST and you can see it on MVC Network. The Salukis defeated the Bears 62-54 on Feb. 16 and are 4-7 against them over the past four years.
The 26 points and six rebounds by Jeff Early helped the Salukis to a 66-63 victory over Drake on Mar. 2. He is averaging 13.1 points per game and leads the team in rebounds with 7.4 per game. For the Bears, Christian Kirk finished with 15 points and six rebounds in the 64-56 win over Bradley on Mar. 2. He contributes 4.0 rebounds per game in addition to his 8.8 points per game. One category in which Missouri State is especially proficient is turnover percentage at 16.3, ranking first in their conference (and 12th nationally).
Missouri State StatSmack
- That must sting. Southern Illinois has blown out Missouri State by 20 points or more on three occasions since 1997.
- Southern Illinois has a better record in close games than Missouri State this season (6-4 vs. 3-4).
- AP voters think more highly of Southern Illinois and ranked them in the AP Top 25 more often over the past 10 years than Missouri State (17 vs. zero).
- Carbondale isn't as congested as Springfield (population is significantly lower).
- The Southern Illinois rebounding leader (Jeff Early, 214 rebounds) has more rebounds than the Missouri State rebounding leader (Anthony Downing, 138 rebounds).
- Southern Illinois has an average margin of victory of 7 over Missouri State in 30 wins since 1984.
- Southern Illinois has a better record at home than Missouri State this season (9-4 vs. 8-7).
- Desmar Jackson is ranked 6th in the Missouri Valley in points and 4th in the Missouri Valley in steals.
- Jeff Early is ranked 5th in the Missouri Valley in rebounds and 5th in the Missouri Valley in steals.
- Southern Illinois is better under pressure, and has defeated Missouri State in eight out of the last 15 games decided by five points or fewer.
- Southern Illinois players are more experienced than Missouri State players (13,332 minutes played vs. 10,099 minutes played).
|C||A. Beane Jr.||29||9||3||1||1||0||2|