Illinois Wesleyan Titans (16-3, 8-0) at Augustana Vikings (15-4, 5-3)|
Tonight: The Augustana Vikings (15-4, 5-3 CCIW), and ranked No. 26 in the latest D3hoops.com poll, host No. 12 Illinois Wesleyan (16-3, 8-0 CCIW) at The Carver Center at 7:30 p.m.
Tuning in: Can be heard on the web at www.augustana.edu/vikingsvideo. Twitter updates: @TJ_DA.
IWU starters: F: Andrew Ziemnik, 6-4, Jr. (10.6 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game); Victor Davis, 6-5, Jr. (8.2, 4.8); C: Kevin Reed, 6-6, Sr. (9.5, 7.4); G: Dylan Overstreet, 6-3, Soph. (8.8, 3.0) & Pat Sodemann, 6-3, Soph. (12.1, 3.4).
Augie starters: F: Ben Ryan, 6-5, Fr. (11.8 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game) & George Dexter, 6-7, Sr. (3.0, 1.9); C: Brandon Kunz, 6-7, Sr. (11.8, 6.8); G: Dan Jurgutis, 6-0, Soph. (10.6, 2.5) & Brandon Thompson, 6-1, Soph. (7.9, 2.7).
The series: The rivals have alternated wins in the last seven games in the series. If that holds true tonight, it would bode well for the Vikings, who dropped a 63-60 decision in Bloomington earlier this month. IWU is the only team in the CCIW with an all-time advantage over Augustana in a series, leading 89-63.
By the numbers: Augie comes in averaging 73.7 points per game and allowing 61.3. IWU averages 71.9 points per game and allows 61.6. Augie is out-rebounding foes 38.7-26.9. Its +11.79 differential ranks No. 3 among all NCAA Div. III schools. IWU is a +9.6 rebounding. … IWU is shooting 39-percent (138-354) from the 3-point line this season.
Game notes: The Vikings come into this game in a logjam with North Central (16-3), Wheaton (15-4) and Carthage (10-9) tied for second behind the Titans. "If we win, it would be really big,'' said Augie coach Grey Giovanine. "If we lose, we move on. A win over the league leader would really give us a bump in the standings, though.'' … Giovanine feels as if his team is better than it was when the two met on Jan. 9. It is definitely healthier than it was then, playing without senior George Dexter and with a hobbled Dan Jurgutis. The sophomore point guard, Jurgutis, sprained his ankle in the game prior to the first meeting with IWU and didn't practice either day before taking the court for warmups. Finally healthy, he popped for 17 points in last Saturday's win at North Park "and is ready to go again,'' said the coach. … IWU does not have an individual among the Top 15 scorers in the CCIW, relying on balance and the reserves averaging roughly 25 points. … IWU's Reed is No. 4 in the league in rebounding.
Coaches comments: "The reason they are undefeated in the conference is because they have great front-line strength and they have very skilled perimeter players. So they can really pound it inside and they are a terrific 3-point shooting team. The challenge is to win that turf war inside and not concede open looks on the 3. … Our next step is to beat a Top 20 team; that's something we haven't done yet with this group. We've won a lot of great road games, we've been good at home. The only thing we haven't done is beat a Top 20 team and that would be a big step for this team.'' — Augie coach Grey Giovanine
-- By Tom Johnston, email@example.com