The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 3:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SIU Arena (8,339) -- Carbondale, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: Miami-Ohio 5-7, SIU 7-4. Away Record: SE Louisiana 3-11, Miami-Ohio 3-9. Neutral Record: SE Louisiana 0-0, Miami-Ohio 0-0. Conference Record: SE Louisiana 8-6, Miami-Ohio 3-9. Series Record: Miami-Ohio leads, 1-0.
GAMES NOTES: The Miami-Ohio RedHawks will try to dig out of a recent rut when they meet up with the Southern Illinois Salukis as part of BracketBusters weekend at SIU Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The RedHawks have had a week off since a 79-71 loss at home to Buffalo last Saturday. The setback was the fourth straight for Miami which has dropped to 8-16 overall and 3-9 in contests against MAC opponents. On the road the RedHawks have managed just three wins in 12 trips as they prepare to play four of their final five regular season contests away from Oxford.
For the Salukis, a 59-45 loss to Creighton ended a brief two-game winning streak. Southern Illinois is just 11-16 overall on the campaign, while having won back-to-back games only three times all season. At home the Salukis have not been overly successful, fighting to a 7-4 ledger at SIU Arena where they will be again on Wednesday against Northern Iowa.
Miami-Ohio won the only previous meeting between these two teams.
Despite shooting 50 percent from the floor against Buffalo, the RedHawks still couldn't get the better of the Bulls. Shooting from beyond the arc was a major reason for the loss as the Bulls outscored the RedHawks 21-9 from 3-point range. Miami moved the ball well though, assisting on 17 of 23 field goals.
In the loss to Buffalo, the RedHawks were yet again on the short end of the glass (30-24). Miami has been one of the worst rebounding teams in the country this year. Not only do the RedHawks rank at the bottom of the MAC on the boards (28.9 pg), but among the bottom 15 teams among Division I teams. Offensively the RedHawks score just 65.1 points per game while allowing teams to shoot just under 48 percent on defense. Allen Roberts (12.8 ppg) is the top corer while shooting less than 40 percent from the field, while Will Felder (11.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg) has been more consistent finishing 51.4 percent from the floor as he carries the weak frontcourt for the RedHawks.
Against Creighton, SIU didn't play particularly well on the offensive end of the floor en route to tying its season low for points in a game. The Salukis shot just 35.3 percent in the contest and got to the free-throw line just 10 times. Southern Illinois was beat up inside in the contest with a 34-18 deficit on points in the paint.
For SIU, which is actually in dead last in the Missouri Valley Conference (4-12), Desmar Jackson (15.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg) has proven to be one of few productive commodities. Jeff Early (11.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg) shoots an even 50 percent from the field and cleans the glass better than any other player on the roster. Scoring options are rather limited from there though with Anthony Beane Jr. (9.6 ppg) one of only two other players putting in more than six points per game. As a team SIU is scoring just 63.3 points per game, while shooting just under 45 percent from the field.
With Jackson, SIU has the best offensive player on the floor in this non- conference bout. That could be enough for the Salukis at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern Illinois 65, Miami-Ohio 62
02/23 10:45:22 ET