The Illinois State Redbirds (7-6) will be at the Athletics-Recreation Center to go head-to-head against the Valparaiso Crusaders (7-6) in a MVC matchup. Action starts at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, January 2, 2019.
Illinois State Redbirds at Valparaiso Crusaders ATS Odds
Both teams were victorious in their last game. The Crusaders dismantled the Concordia University (IL) Cougars 121-65, while the Redbirds defeated the FGCU Eagles 74-66.
The Redbirds had a much better free throw rate (0.298 vs. 0.111) and had a much better turnover percentage (15.1 vs. 27.1). The Crusaders, on the other hand, had a much better free throw rate (0.424 vs. 0.151) and had a much better effective field goal percentage (0.705 vs. 0.370). Javon Freeman-Liberty was a key piece for Valparaiso with 22 points. Meanwhile, Phil Fayne had a solid performance for Illinois State, putting up 17 points and 11 rebounds.
This series was highly competitive last year. Each won one of the two games played against each other last season. The Crusaders won the last contest 74-58. Valparaiso’s free throw rate was their biggest strength over Illinois State. The Crusaders had a rate of 0.200, while the Redbirds posted a mark of 0.103. This is the first time these teams will clash this year.
The physical Valparaiso offense might be living from the charity stripe in this matchup. The Crusaders currently rank 95th in the NCAA with a free throw attempt (FTA) rate of 0.240, while Illinois State ranks 243rd in FTA rate allowed (0.251).
Illinois State Redbirds at Valparaiso Crusaders Betting Pick
Prediction: SU Winner – Illinois State, ATS Winner – Valparaiso, O/U – Over
- Valparaiso ranks 34th in three pointers allowed per game (19.8) while Illinois State ranks 225th (25.6).
- The Crusaders average 34.6 rebounds per game, which ranks 187th in the nation. The Redbirds rank 222nd in rebounds allowed per game (39.0).
- Illinois State is 11th in the country with 2.1 blocks allowed per game while Valparaiso is 33rd with 2.2 blocks allowed per game.
- The Crusaders average 16.0 assists per game, which ranks 134th in the nation. The Redbirds rank 189th in assists allowed per game (15.5).
- Valparaiso averages 6.4 steals per game, which ranks 79th in the nation. Illinois State ranks 117th in steals allowed per game (6.6).
- The Crusaders’ average margin of victory in their last five games has been 10.8, up from 4.5 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Redbirds have scored an average of 75.8 points per game (0.3 above their season average) and allowed an average of 77.0 points per game (0.7 below their season average).