Eastern Illinois opens the season at Missouri State Friday. Here’s a look at some of the important numbers:
6Eastern Illinois turned the ball over just six times in an exhibition win over the University of St. Francis — a fantastic number by any standard. In fact — it’s the smallest turnover total for any OVC exhibition game this year. Making things even better, they forced 15 in the easy win.
83.3%The Panthers hit 15-18 from the free-throw line, with the starters hitting a perfect 8-8. EIU was one of the better free-throw shooting teams in the OVC last year, hitting 71.5% from the charity stripe.
38.5%St. Francis hit 10-26 from three-point range, which isn’t necessilary troubling in itself — they were behind throughout, and as I always caution, it’s just exhibition, and one exhibition game at that. This bigger issue is that last season, EIU was the worst in the OVC at defending the three. If that carries over, EIU, not a great three point shooting team last year, has a bit of an uphill climb.
2In Jay Spoonhour’s two years at the helm, EIU has won just just one road game each season against out-of conference opponents. Both those teams were from the state of Illinois: Chicago State and Illinois-Chicago. EIU is 8-23 in true road games during that span.
2-6The OVC hasn’t historically had a lot of success against Missouri State — with the conference just 2-6 all time against the Bears. Last year, they split, beating Southeast Missouri, but losing to Murray State in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.