No. 10 seed Illinois State (7-17, 4-14) vs. No. 7 seed Northern Iowa (9-15, 7-11)
Missouri Valley Conference Tourney First Round, Enterprise Center, St. Louis; Thursday, 9:08 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: Illinois State is set to match up against Northern Iowa in the opening round of the MVC tournament. Northern Iowa swept the two-game regular season series. The teams last went at it on Feb. 27, when the Panthers created 20 Illinois State turnovers and turned the ball over just 11 times on the way to a 94-87 victory.
FABULOUS FRESHMEN: Northern Iowa’s Austin Phyfe, Bowen Born and Nate Heise have collectively accounted for 45 percent of the team’s scoring this season and have scored 52 percent of all Panthers points over the last five games.DOMINANT DJ: DJ Horne has connected on 43.2 percent of the 139 3-pointers he’s attempted. He’s also converted 83.3 percent of his foul shots this season.
WINLESS WHEN: The Panthers are 0-12 when they score 69 points or fewer and 9-3 when they exceed 69 points. The Redbirds are 0-15 when they fail to score more than 68 points and 7-2 on the season, otherwise.
ASSIST RATIOS: The Panthers have recently used assists to create buckets more often than the Redbirds. Northern Iowa has 49 assists on 87 field goals (56.3 percent) over its previous three contests while Illinois State has assists on 42 of 84 field goals (50 percent) during its past three games.
DID YOU KNOW: Illinois State and Northern Iowa are the class of the MVC when it comes to tempo. The Redbirds are ranked first in the conference with 71.1 possessions per game this season while the Panthers are ranked second at 68.8 possessions per game.
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