Local Sports

Illinois State will open Missouri Valley Conference tournament play tonight when they take on Evansville (11-20, 5-13) from the Enterprise Center in St. Louis as a part of Arch Madness.


In the regular season, the seventh seeded Redbirds (16-15, 9-9) won both of the head-to-head matchups. The teams last went at it on Jan. 19, when the Redbirds shot 51.9 percent from the field while holding tenth seeded Evansville to just 38.2 percent en route to an eight-point victory.


Illinois State has relied heavily on its seniors this year. Milik Yarbrough, Phil Fayne, Zach Copeland, Keyshawn Evans and William Tinsley have collectively accounted for 79 percent of the team’s scoring this year and 83 percent of all Redbirds points over the last five games.


The Purple Aces have recently created baskets via assists more often than the Redbirds. Illinois State has 25 assists on 70 field goals (35.7 percent) across its previous three matchups while Evansville has assists on 33 of 73 field goals (45.2 percent) during its past three games.


Evansville is rated second among MVC teams with an average of 70.1 points per game.


Game time tonight is 8:30 pm local time.

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