The Valparaiso Crusaders (12-12, 3-8 MVC) will attempt to end a six-game road losing streak when they square off against the Southern Illinois Salukis (15-9, 7-4 MVC) at SIU Arena. The Over/Under (O/U) for the game has been set at 142 points with Southern Illinois opening as a 6-point favorite. Action gets underway at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 3, 2018.
Valparaiso Crusaders vs. Southern Illinois Salukis Free Preview
In the Crusaders last contest, they beat the Indiana State Sycamores, 69-63. Bakari Evelyn was Valparaiso’s leading scorer with 20 points on 6-for-12 shooting. The Crusaders had a fantastic free throw rate of 0.449 (above their season average of 0.277), while the Sycamores had a turnover percentage of 27.1 (above their season average of 18.0).
The Salukis will look to maintain momentum after beating the Drake Bulldogs in their last outing, 78-67. With 18 points on 5-for-14 shooting, Aaron Cook was Southern Illinois leading scorer. Southern Illinois played a nearly perfect game. They had a fantastic offensive rebounding percentage of 37.9 (above their season average of 26.1) and an effective field goal percentage of 0.570 (above their season average of 0.528). Drake was 20.6 and 0.471, respectively, for those same stats.
The offense of Southern Illinois will face off against the top-notch defense of Valparaiso. The Salukis currently rank 171st in offensive efficiency, while the Crusaders are 47th in defensive efficiency. The Crusaders should have the advantage on that side of the ball.
These teams have already met once this season. The Crusaders won 83-72. The Crusaders played a nearly perfect game. They had a phenomenal free throw rate of 0.345 and a great effective field goal percentage of 0.582. The Salukis were 0.213 and 0.484, respectively, for those same stats. Armon Fletcher recorded a double-double in the loss, with 32 points and 14 rebounds.
Valparaiso Crusaders at Southern Illinois Salukis Free Prediction
Prediction: SU Winner – Southern Illinois, ATS Winner – Valparaiso, O/U – Under
- The Salukis are 29th in the NCAA with 2.5 blocks allowed per game while the Crusaders are 44th with 2.7 blocks allowed per game.
- Southern Illinois ranks 103rd in assists per game (14.5) while Valparaiso ranks 109th in assists allowed per game (13.0).
- Valparaiso averages 8.0 steals per game, which ranks 23rd in the NCAA. Southern Illinois ranks 141st in steals allowed per game (6.7).
- The Crusaders rank 140th in rebounds per game (35.8) while the Salukis rank 231st (33.4).
- Valparaiso ranks 200th in three pointers attempted per game (20.0) while Southern Illinois ranks 246th (18.3).
- The Salukis average margin of victory in their last five games has been 3.0, up from 2.6 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Crusaders have scored an average of 62.0 points per game (8.9 below their season average) and allowed an average of 69.6 points per game (1.4 above their season average).