On the brink of week 10 of the regular season and week three of the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) slate, the Truman State University men's basketball team has won eight of its last 10 games, but is coming off its first league loss. Last week, the Bulldogs made it a 3-0 conference start with a 75-66 win at Lewis before falling to Indianapolis by four, 83-79, both of which were on the road. The road trip continues this week at Southern Indiana and at No. 1 Bellarmine.
The Purple and White are one of three GLVC teams with three in-league wins along with Bellarmine (3-0) and Rockhurst (3-1). It's very early, but Truman is currently the top-ranked team according to the GLVC Point Rating System. With that being said, the Bulldogs still have 14 conference games left in the regular season including seven at home and seven away from Pershing Arena.
Truman continues to be led by a trio of scorers averaging double-figures including Brodric Thomas (19.5), Cade McKnight (13.0) and Turner Scott (12.6). Taurin Hughes and Nathan Messer are also on the cusp of that list with marks of 9.9 and 9.7, respectively. Thomas also paces the taem in rebounding with 6.6 per game while McKnight is averaging 5.8.
Scouting Southern Indiana
If not for Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) play, Southern Indiana would be 8-2 with a pair of losses that came by seven points or less including an overtime defeat. Instead, the Screaming Eagles are 9-4 overall and 1-2 in league action. Southern Indiana was forced to open conference play with Bellarmine (80-92) on the first of December before continuing it with Maryville (80-75) and Missouri-St. Louis (61-73) this past week. Not to mention the fact that the Screaming Eagles have already lost two home games, which is as many as they lost in the last two seasons combined.
The Rodney Watson era has reached double-digits as the Illinois native is in season No. 10 at the helm of Southern Indiana. In that time, Watson has racked up a record of 212-69 (.754 winning percentage) including 116-79 (.595) in GLVC competition. In year 10, the Screaming Eagles continue to be led by Alex Stein, the league's foruth-leading scorer at 20.5 points per game. Also averaging double-figures are Kobe Caldwell (13.3), Josh Price (11.0) and Emmanuel Little (10.5). Little is also the team's leading rebounder at 7.3 per game.
Scouting No. 1 Bellarmine
The train keeps on chugging in Louisville as Bellarmine enters this week as the unanimous No. 1 team in the nation according to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). The Knights were tabbed first in the preseason poll and haven't budged since then. Leading that charge is 14th-year head coach, Scott Davenport. In those 13+ seasons, Davenport has gone 328-96 (.774 winning percentage) overall and 168-54 (.757) within the GLVC.
Just like Southern Indiana, Bellarmine has a familiar face leading the way in senior, Adam Eberhard. The four-time GLVC Player of the Week is first on the nights and third in the league in scoring at 20.8 points per game. He is joined in double-figures by Chivarsky Corbett (14.1) and Ben Weyer (12.4). Eberhard is also the team leader in assists per game (5.7), minutes per game (29.9), field goal percentage (.658), and free throw percentage (.876).
It's hard to believe Truman stepping onto the court without redshirt junior guard, Brodric Thomas. Thomas missed the team's first six games of the season and after a couple games to warm up, has really begun to assert himself. In his last six games, Thomas is averaging 22.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.3 blocks, and nearly a steal per game. That stretch includes five 20-point games, three 26-point games in a row and the team's first double-double of the year with 28 points and 10 rebounds at Lewis.
Bellarmine has won 63 games in a row on its home court inside Knights Hall. The Knights last home loss came on Dec. 13, 2014, a 101-96 overtime loss to No. 3 Florida Southern. The last time Bellarmine dropped a GLVC game at home was the season before on Jan. 20, 2014 against No. 10 Southern Indiana, 68-66, also in overtime. Bellarmine leads the all-time series with Truman, 5-3, and the Bulldogs have dropped their only two matchups on the Knights' court on Feb. 5, 2015 (89-73) and Jan. 14, 2016 (86-57).
Strength of Schedule
When it faces off against No. 1 Bellarmine on Saturday, Truman will have faced a team that was either ranked in the NABC top 25 or receiving votes for the seventh time this season. Those previous six meetings included No. 23 (ranking at the time) Findlay in the season opener, No. 5 Northwest Missouri State on Nov. 16, No. 18 Northern State on Nov. 23, Sioux Falls the next night (receiving votes), Missouri Southern on Dec. 4 (RV), and Lewis on Jan. 3 (RV). When the Bulldogs and Knights meet, the Purple and White will be facing the top team in the country for the second time in as many season
Courtesy Truman State University