Photo: flickr Writer: Eric Daniel
The Illinois State Redbirds were one of the preseason favorites to win the MVC and this group should compete right near the top of the league leaning on their defense which ranks an impressive 35th in the nation in points allowed. Illinois State has put together some decent results so far this season standing 9-4 overall and 1-0 in the MVC with their conference opening win coming the other day against Evansville by a final of 62-50. The Redbirds have been building some momentum winning 5 of their last 6 and this group brings a lot of confidence into what should be a great road test. Illinois State spreads the ball around with 4 players averaging in double figures scoring and Deontae Hawkins leads the way averaging 14.3 points per game.
Loyola Chicago vastly underperformed their expectations a season ago, but this group has looked better this year without the spotlight standing 10-4 overall. In their conference opener the Ramblers fell to Drake on the road in a high scoring affair losing to the Bulldogs by a final of 98-102 and Loyola will try to bounce back today after coming off back to back defeats. The Ramblers have been bringing effort on both sides of the ball this season ranking around 80th in the nation in both scoring average and total defense, but these numbers are partially inflated by some easier nonconference matchups. Loyola Chicago has been led by Aundre Jackson who’s stepped averaging 15.9 points per game.
This should be a great matchup between two MVC squad that want to finish in the upper tier of the Valley. Illinois State is clearly more of a threat on the defensive side of the ball and we like that to be a difference maker in this matchup as the Redbirds go on to cover this spread against their in-state foe.
Illinois State -1 -110