Drake (6-5, 0-0) at Bradley (8-4, 0-0)
Dec. 29, 2012 - 7 p.m. (CST)
Peoria, Ill. – Carver Arena (11,168)
TV: Mediacom 22 (Tape Delay) – Brian Bedo (pbp) and Danny Adams (analyst)
Radio: 1470 WMBD - Dave Snell (pbp), Chad Kleine (analyst) and Dan DiOrio (pregame)
Twitter: @BPtheBrave - #BRADvDU
Promotion: Holiday Sweater Night (wear your favorite holiday sweater for a chance to win prizes) and Braves Club Early Bird Raffle Drawing
• Two teams with momentum heading in opposite directions will meet Saturday night in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both teams.
• Though Bradley (8-4) already has won more games than all of last season (7-25), the Braves have suffered consecutive losses for the first time this year, while Drake (6-5) comes to Peoria having won consecutive games for the first time this season.
• Drake enters Saturday’s game as perhaps the best 3-point shooting team in the country - the Bulldogs rank second nationally in 3-point field goal percentage (.435) and fourth with 9.5 treys per game.
• Drake’s perimeter assault will be a challenge for Bradley, which enters the weekend ranked ninth of 10 Valley teams in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.344) while surrendering 6.3 treys per game.
136th Meeting | Bradley leads 79-56
• Though Bradley owns a 79-56 lead in the all-time series against Drake, the Bulldogs have had the upper hand of late.
• Drake has won three straight and 11 of the last 20 since the start of the 2003-04 season.
• Bradley is 47-18 all-time at home against Drake and the Braves will be trying to avoid dropping consecutive home games to the Bulldogs for just the fifth time in series history.
Valley’s Two Winningest
• Saturday’s conference opener features the two winningest programs in Valley play in league history.
• Tipping off its 101st season as a MVC member, Drake tops The Valley with 535 all-time league wins.
• Bradley is playing its 61st MVC season and the Braves are second only to Drake with 516 all-time Valley wins.
Last Time Out
Portland 57, Bradley 55 | Dec. 23, 2012 | Orleans Arena in Las Vegas
• Dyricus Simms-Edwards scored a game-high 15 points, but while the senior guard hit 6-of-12 field goal attempts, the rest of the Bradley team combined to shoot just 11-for-42 (.262) in the consolation final of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.
• Senior center Will Egolf got a clean look from 3-point range at the buzzer, but his shot hit off the front iron as the Braves dropped consecutive games for the first time this season.
• Bradley shot a season-low 31.5 percent from the field and the Braves were outrebounded, 42-31 in their fourth game of the week.
• Despite its current two-game slide, Bradley completed the bulk of its non-conference schedule with an 8-4 record.
• The Braves won eight games before Christmas for just the ninth time in program history and the first time since 2006-07.
• Each of the previous eight teams to win at least eight games before Christmas ended the year with at least a .629 winning percentage.
• Bradley’s 35-point margin of victory Dec. 19 versus Mississippi Valley State was the team’s widest since an 88-49 (+39) win over Wright State Dec. 5, 1996.
• The Braves now have won six games by at least 17 points and enjoy an overall +9.6 points-per-game scoring margin for the season.
• Bradley had not won as many as six games in a season by at least 17 points since also earning six such wide-margined victories in 2006-07.
• Bradley has not won as many as seven games by at least 17 points since 2005-06 (8).
That 70’s Show
• Bradley has scored at least 72 points in seven of its first eight wins and is averaging 71.2 ppg through the first 12 games of the season.
• The Braves, which are 10-1 the last two years when scoring at least 70 points, reached that plateau just four times during all of 2011-12.
• Bradley has limited each of its last four opponents to fewer than 60 points in regulation.
• Bradley had not held four straight opponents to fewer than 60 points in regulation since a 6-game streak from Nov. 29, 1997-Jan. 3, 1998.
• Bradley currently is allowing 61.7 points per game on 39.8 percent opponent shooting.
• During last year’s 7-25 season, the Braves surrendered 70.5 points per game on 45.4 percent field goal shooting.
• The defensive scoring average is Bradley’s best since allowing 61.2 ppg in 1998-99.
Record Steals Pace
• Bradley enters the weekend ranked fourth nationally by averaging 11.33 steals per game.
• By valuing the ball on the offensive end with just 12.0 turnovers per game, the Braves rank second nationally with 0.94 steals per turnover.
• Bradley averaged 12.8 steals during the four games last week in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic, including 12 steals against Virginia Tech and 15 thefts against Portland.
• The Braves are on pace to finish the year with 362 steals, 59 more than the school record (303 in 1986 and 1982) and 17 more than the MVC record (345 by Tulsa in 1984).
Defending the Paint
• Bradley is allowing the opposition only 23.0 ppg in the paint and opponents are shooting just 42.6 percent (182-427) from inside the arc.
Spreading the Wealth
• Bradley boasts six players who average at better than 8.0 points per game.
• Not since the re-instatement of Bradley Athletics in 1945 has such a small gap separated Bradley’s leading scorer from its sixth-leading scorer.
It’s Warm Inside
• Bradley is shooting 51.1 percent (264-517) from inside the arc and the Braves are averaging 37.4 points per game in the paint.
• The Braves have outscored their opponents in the paint in each of their eight wins and boast an overall 449-276 scoring advantage in the paint.
• Bradley is averaging a +14.4 points-per-game scoring advantage in the paint.
• While Bradley’s defense has been turning over the opposition with success, the Braves are averaging only 12.0 turnovers per game.
• Through games of Dec. 27, Bradley ranked second nationally with a 0.94 steals/turnover ratio (VCU was first at 1.03).
• Bradley ranked 289th last season with a 0.79 assists-to-turnover ratio, but the Braves have improved that ratio to 1.19 this year, which was tied for 56th nationally through games of Dec. 27.
• Bradley has committed fewer than 10 turnovers four times this season, including a season-low five turnovers Dec. 17 versus Georgia Southern.
• Senior guard Dyricus Simms-Edwards ranks eighth nationally by averaging 3.00 steals per game through games of Dec. 27.
• Many of Simms-Edwards’ 36 steals to date have happened by simply ripping the ball away from the player he has been guarding, a play described as an “hombre play” by head coach Geno Ford.
• Simms-Edwards currently is on pace for 96 steals this season, which would eclipse the school record (83) and tie the Valley mark.
• Simms-Edwards has committed only 17 turnovers during his 32.9 mpg.
• Not only does Dyricus Simms-Edwards rank eighth nationally with 3.0 steals per game, but he also ranks fifth nationally by averaging 2.12 steals per turnover.
• Simms-Edwards boasts 36 steals against just 17 turnovers while playing 32.9 minutes per game, easily the best ratio among Bradley players since steal and turnover records were routinely kept starting in 1980-81.
• Senior forward Jake Eastman also makes the list of best steals-to-turnover ratio at 1.50 through this season’s first 12 games.
• The last Brave to play at least 10 minutes per game with more steals than turnovers was Chris Roberts in 2009-10 (47 steals, 44 turnovers).
• Senior guard Dyricus Simms-Edwards is Bradley’s active career scoring leader with 946 career points.
• Averaging 10.2 points per game this year, Simms-Edwards currently is on pace to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau Jan. 15 versus Southern Illinois.
• Junior guard Walt Lemon, Jr. enters Saturday’s game with 750 career points.
• Currently averaging a team-best 112.4 ppg, Lemon would need the Braves to play beyond one MVC Tournament game to reach 1,000 points this season.
Big Media Numbers
• Dave Snell is in his 34th season as the radio Voice of the Braves and has participated in 1,028 Bradley Basketball game broadcasts, all in succession, on 1470 WMBD since taking over play-by-play duties for the 1979-80 season.
• Peoria Journal Star beat writer Dave Reynolds has covered 690 consecutive Bradley games since taking over the beat for the start of the 1990-91 season.
• In addition, public address announcer Paul Herzog has announced 532 Bradley Basketball home games.
• Bradley will open the league season by playing two of its first three games at home.
• The Braves will visit Southern Illinois Wednesday, then will return home to host defending league champion Wichita State Jan. 6 in a 4:30 p.m. game to be televised nationally on ESPNU.
• The first 2,000 in attendance Jan. 6 will receive free State Farm fan scrolls, Josh Horton the Juggler will perform at halftime and a quartet of Braves - Jake Eastman, Anthony Fields, Walt Lemon, Jr. and Nate Wells - will be available for postgame autographs.