Coming off a pair of close losses, UIC (3-6) has another tough matchup at Southeast Missouri State (7-2) tonight.
Southeast Missouri State, meanwhile, has been red hot with wins in its last five games, with the last four coming away from home. This month, the Redhawks have racked up wins against Texas State and Southeastern Louisiana.
The Redhawks, led by senior forward Tyler Stone and junior wing Jarekious Bradley, have been gelling offensively this season.
They rank No. 71 in offensive efficiency and No. 12 with 87.4 points per game, confirming that they are the favorite in the Ohio Valley Conference’s West Division. Their effective field-goal percentage also ranks No. 15 in the nation.
UIC will have trouble finding an answer for Stone and Bradley.
At 6’9″, Stone will be taller than everyone in the Flames’ rotation. Even against teams that do not have a size advantage over them, the Flames have struggled to limit baskets inside.
According to KenPom, they rank in the nation’s bottom third in two-point field-goal percentage defense.
Stone has been a dominant force, averaging 19.3 points and 9.6 rebounds while shooting 53.7% from the field. His last time out against Southeastern Louisiana he posted 20 points and nine boards.
Bradley, who shoots the ball extremely well from the outside, also does a ton of damage from two-point range. The junior college transfer averages 18.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, and he shoots 62.1% inside the arc.
Bradley has been on a tear the last three games, averaging 21 points with an effective field-goal percentage of 75%.
UIC will need a big effort from Marc Brown, the Flames’ 6’4″ wing. Brown, who began the season with three straight 20-point outings, had his best performance in a while against Loyola with 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting and three steals.
Brown is also UIC’s best backcourt defender, and he matches up well with Bradley.
At point guard, UIC’s Kelsey Barlow goes up against Southeast Missouri State’s Lucas Nutt.
Barlow, a senior who transferred from Purdue, leads the Flames with 16.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. He was sluggish against Loyola, finishing with 10 points, five assists and three steals, but he has shown the ability to dominate a game.
Against Wagner, Barlow scored 38 points, and against Southern Methodist he scored 31.
Nutt, who gives up four inches to Barlow, is also a senior in the midst of the best season of his career. Nutt is averaging 9.4 points and 6.1 assists while shooting career-highs of 46.3% from the field and 40.9% from beyond the arc.
With his 3.44 assist to turnover ratio, Nutt is among the nation’s leaders.
Tip if set for 7 p.m. CT at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau, MO.
All advanced statistics are courtesy of KenPom.