Two middle tier Missouri Valley teams face off in what looks to be a defensive minded affair between the Bradley Braves and the Valparaiso Crusaders.
The Bradley Braves enter this contest on a 3-game conference losing streak, falling short of taking down conference favorite Loyola-Chicago in a two game set and dropping a shocking game to Illinois State in a spot where they were clearly looking ahead. They have had time to process the loss and now get a matchup with a low scoring Valpo team. Bradley ranks 81st in defensive efficiency in the country and will stifle a Valpo offense that has scored under 69 points in 4 of 5 games.
On the offensive side of the ball Bradley will have the best player on the court in Senior forward Elijah Childs averagin 14 points and 7 rebounds per game. He is a do it all player on the offensive end and should be able to carry the load for the Braves. The emergence of Junior guard Terry Nolan Jr. has been a big part of establishing the Braves offense along with Childs, Nolan has been shooting a respectable 35% from three for the season. Bradley hopes to have Ja’Shon Henry backin the lineup, his 11 ppg and 60% shooting have been missed over the last three games. If he is not able to go they should still be able to muster enough offense to grab an early lead and utilize their defense to hold down a Valpo team that has no one outside of Sophmore forward Ben Krikke that has been reliable on offense.
Bradley’s defense will be too much for the struggling Crusader offense. Bradley doesn’t allow you to score inside and their perimeter athletes are just better than what Valpo can bring to the table. If you like a low scoring affair this one will be for you, I would think this game is going to stay under the 130 point mark but I feel more confident in a dominant effort from a Bradley squad looking to reestablish themselves in the Missouri Valley.
Play of the day: Bradley Braves -5.5