The Missouri Valley Conference quarterfinals take place on Friday afternoon and we will see the Missouri State Bears take on the Wichita State Shockers at the Scottrade Center in St Louis, Missouri. The game has a start time of 2:35 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on ESPN 3. Vegas odds have the Shockers listed as 14.5 point favorites, while the total has yet to be set.
Analysis: Wichita State went a perfect 31-0 this year and earned the top seed in the MVC tournament. The Shockers took out Evansville in the quarterfinals and now will be facing a Missouri State team that they beat in OT at Missouri State and by 23 at home. The Shockers average a solid 75.4 ppg (69th) on 45.6% shooting (105th). Cleanthony Early (15.8 ppg) leads a group of 4 players that average in double figures for the Shockers, while also leading them in rebounding at 5.9 rpg. Ron Baker (13.1 ppg), Fred VanVleet (11.1 ppg) and Tekele Cotton (10.4 ppg) also average in double figures for the Shockers. Wichita State has a solid offense, but this team is really fueled by a defense that allows just 59.9 ppg (13th) on 39.4% shooting (20th).
The Missouri State Bears took out Illinois State to reach the semis. The win gave them a 20-11 mark overall and a 10-9 record in the MVC. This has been a tough series for the Bears of late as they have lost the last 6 meetings between the teams. The Bears average just 69.6 ppg on 43.5% shooting for the year, with both numbers being ranked 224th in the nation. Jarmar Gulley leads the offense with 14.7 ppg, while also leading the team in rebounding, at 6.5 rpg. Marcuse Marshall is second on the team in scoring (14.3 ppg) and is the only other player that averages in double figures for the Bears. The defense for the Bears is above average as they come in allowing just 68.3 ppg on the year.
Pick: I stepped in front of Wichita State yesterday and lost, but I won't do that here. This team just continues to play a few levels above everyone else in the Missouri Valley Conference. Not only is Wichita State 32-0 SU this year, but they are also 22-6-1 ATS. They just don't let u on the gas on who ever they face. Tis is a team on a mission and should win this one by 17+.
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