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Pregame update: Bradley at No. 15 Wichita State

Wichita State has defeated Bradley nine straight times, its longest win streak in the series.
Wichita State has defeated Bradley nine straight times, its longest win streak in the series. The Wichita Eagle

▪  Travel plans are dramatically different for Wichita State than for the rest of the MVC and Wednesday’s game provides a perfect example. Bradley is playing outside of Illinois for the only time in a 10-game stretch. When it next ventures outside the state’s borders, it is to Indiana State, located just few miles from Illinois.

The Braves won’t take another trip more than 300 miles until Feb. 25 when it travels to Missouri State.

▪  Get ready for a long game. Bradley fouls. A lot. The Braves also get fouled a lot, but don’t take full advantage because they shoot 65.3 percent from the foul line.

Bradley’s opponents, in 15 games, made an MVC-high 246 free throws on an MVC-high 365 attempts. Opponents attempted 61 more free throws than the next highest total, Illinois State. The Braves rank third in the MVC in free throws made (224) and second in attempts (343).

They are one of two teams (Missouri State) outscored at the line. Opponents outscored the Braves by 10 or more at the line in seven of their nine losses. A team must win a lot of other stat battles to overcome deficits like that, and the Braves aren’t that kind of team.

Bradley also leads the MVC with 319 fouls (second is Indiana State with 273) and is second with six disqualifications.

The Braves are solid defensive team, holding opponents to 39.8 percent shooting. They foul a lot to get that accomplished and the Shockers should enjoy an edge at the line. WSU’s accuracy from the line is improving, even after shooting 65.5 percent Sunday. WSU is 82 of 114 (71.9 percent) in its past five games and it outscored its opponents by six points in that span from the line.

▪  Bradley faces a tough schedule while it attempts to recover from injuries. The Braves opened against Loyola, play at WSU and home against Northern Iowa and Evansville before traveling to Illinois State. Five of their first six games appear to be against the top five teams in the MVC.

▪  WSU has won nine in a row in the series, its longest streak in the 135-game rivalry. WSU’s average margin of victory in those nine wins is 22.7 points.

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