Valparaiso (3-9, 0-3) vs. Illinois State (5-8, 2-5)
Redbird Arena, Normal, Illinois; Saturday, 6 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: Valparaiso looks for its sixth straight win in the head-to-head series over Illinois State. Valparaiso has won by an average of 9 points in its last five wins over the Redbirds. Illinois State’s last win in the series came on Jan. 27, 2018, a 76-65 win.
TEAM LEADERSHIP: The Crusaders are led by sophomores Donovan Clay and Ben Krikke. Clay is averaging 10.8 points and 4.6 rebounds while Krikke is putting up 11.7 points and four rebounds per game. The Redbirds have been led by DJ Horne and Josiah Strong, who are scoring 13.8 and 12.2 per game, respectively.
DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENTS: The Redbirds have allowed only 72 points per game to conference opponents thus far, an improvement from the 77.2 per game they allowed to non-conference foes.DOMINANT DONOVAN: Clay has connected on 23.4 percent of the 47 3-pointers he’s attempted and has made 6 of 22 over the last five games. He’s also converted 64.5 percent of his foul shots this season.
SUCCESS AT 71: Illinois State is a perfect 5-0 when scoring at least 71 points and 0-8 when scoring 68 points or fewer.
WINNING WHEN: Illinois State is a perfect 5-0 when it scores at least 71 points. The Redbirds are 0-8 when scoring any fewer than that.
DID YOU KNOW: Valparaiso and Illinois State are the class of the MVC when it comes to pace. The Crusaders are ranked second in the conference with 71.5 possessions per game this season while the Redbirds are ranked first at 72.6 possessions per game.
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