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CBB Handicapping Preview: Missouri State at Bradley

01.16.2011     08:47 AM     Teddy Covers     Printer Friendly

Submitted by Teddy Covers blog entry.
Missouri State -10 at Bradley O/U 130 
Recommendation: Missouri State

Bradley head coach Jim Les couldn’t have been more enthusiastic with his praise of senior leader, combo guard Sam Maniscalco.  “He’s the consummate winner.  He’s going to do whatever it takes and compete as hard as anyone I’ve ever coached to try to help us win.  That’s his only motivation…He’s the leader and the heart and soul of this team.”

Maniscalco ripped up his ankle in November.  Bradley opened the season 4-0 with him on the floor, including an impressive upset win over USC in the Hall of Fame Tip-off back in November.  Since that time, the Braves are 2-11 SU, 3-9 ATS.  Their home court edge has been virtually non-existent, suffering losses in Peoria to Indiana State, Southern Illinois, Wichita State, Utah, and Eastern Illinois. 

Maniscalco was absolutely the guy that the Braves relied on late in close games; the kid with ice water running through his veins during crunch time.  Without him, they’ve lost every close game, including four consecutive defeats by eight points or less in Missouri Valley play; the type of losses that turn a bad season into an unmitigated disaster. 

While Bradley is falling apart, Missouri State is crushing teams and winning by margin on the highway.  They’ve already notched SU and ATS wins on the road against MVC heavyweights Wichita State, Creighton and Northern Iowa – the three other ‘contenders’ in the conference.  When Cuonzo Martin’s deep team has faced off against lesser competition, they’ve absolutely dominated; notching double digit wins against Southern Illinois, Evansville, Illinois State, St Louis, Central Arkansas, Arkansas – Little Rock, Pacific, Oral Roberts and Pepperdine.

Missouri State has a nice track record thusfar; cashing at a 70% clip as chalk this season, including a 4-2 mark laying double-digits like they are tonight.  The Bears enjoyed a 19-point win over Bradley with a healthy Maniscalco last year; absolutely running them out of the gym.  Expect more of the same today.

Tags: Missouri State Bears Bradley Braves Missouri Valley Teddy Covers College Basketball

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