Bradley and Illinois State Have Solid Rivalry
On Wednesday night, we will be treated to the battle of I-74, when the Illinois State Redbirds head to Peoria to take on the Bradley Braves.
There has been an unusual amount of parity in the college basketball season this year. It really is unclear who the favorite is.
Now more than ever, the mid-major schools may have a chance to make noise during the postseason.
With the lack of a clear favorite, who says one of the smaller schools can’t make their Cinderella story this year?
Some say Peoria was the birthplace of March Madness, and we saw the Braves make the NCAA Tournament last year, losing a close game to Michigan State.
The Missouri Valley is full of history from all of its teams, and it had Loyola (Chicago) make it all the way to the Final Four a couple of seasons ago.
Maybe one of these teams can make the magic happen again this year.
Rivalry Game For Bradley and Illinois State
Before we worry about March Madness or the Final Four, let’s worry about the game coming your way on Wednesday night.
Illinois State has been tragic this season and even worse in conference play. The Redbirds are 1-5 in the Missouri Valley and 6-12 overall.
The good news is that the Redbirds do have a pretty strong offense. The bad news is that their defense has been catastrophic, and the Braves have a better offense.
The Redbirds are led by senior guard Zach Copeland, a junior-college transfer two seasons ago who is their leading scorer at 15 points per game.
Standing at 6-4, he has a bigger frame and can really assert his dominance against smaller guards in the same position.
Bradley is led by senior guard Darrell Brown, who is only 5-10, so Copeland might have a chance to assert himself in that matchup and make some noise there.
The Braves used to be the laughingstock of the Missouri Valley, but since head coach Brian Wardle took over the program, they have been flat out good.
They present a fluid chemistry between all of their players and a balanced attack overall. They boast two 7-footers down low, and have great ball-handling and scoring from Brown and Nate Kennell.
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This, That and a College Basketball Dart Throw
The X-factor for Bradley in this game has got to be forward Elijah Childs, who stands at 6-7 and is one of the leading scorers and rebounders for this Braves team.
Everything Childs does tends to be a positive outcome for the Braves, and if Illinois State wants to stop him, it is going to have to try and keep him outside the paint.
The unfortunate thing for the Redbirds is that Bradley has been nearly perfect on its home court this season.
The Braves lost their most recent game against Northern Iowa but still boast a 10-1 overall home record.
That is a scary sight for the Redbirds coming into Peoria. If Illinois State can get out and up ahead early, the Braves do struggle playing from behind.
Though for this game, it seems like the Redbirds are outclassed on every area of the floor.
This is why it makes sense that our friends over at VietBet have Bradley favored in this contest at -10 and the total is at 136.5. All U.S. players are accepted at VietBet.
There isn’t much more to say about this matchup. Bradley has improved consistently season after season, and it is going to be able to make some noise in this game.
I’m all in on the Braves even with it seeming like it is the safe pick. They should have no trouble walking away with this one.
The Dart Throw: Bradley Braves -10