Drake Cracks Top 25, Favored Monday Vs. Illinois St.

Posted By Russ Mitchell on February 1, 2021

Drake had to survive an overtime scare, but the Bulldogs got past Illinois State 78-76 and are favored to keep their undefeated streak going in tonight’s rematch against the Redbirds.

Iowa sportsbooks are still high on the Bulldogs as the 6 p.m. tipoff approaches in Des Moines. The game is available on Mediacom’s MC22 channel and can be streamed on ESPN3.

Illinois St. vs. Drake odds

 

Three undefeated teams left

No. 1 Gonzaga (17-0) and No. 2 Baylor (16-0) have been camped out at the top of the Associated Press poll all season, but Drake’s 16-0 mark allowed the Bulldogs to crack the top 25 for the first time Monday.

Illinois State almost tripped up the poll debut for coach Darian DeVries‘ squad with an outright win. The Bulldogs are No. 25 in the AP poll. It’s their first ranking since the 2007-08 season. Iowa slipped one spot — from No. 7 to No. 8 — after its road loss Friday night to Illinois.

Drake missed five of its first six shots and trailed Illinois State by 11 early on Sunday afternoon. A 12-3 run helped the Bulldogs catch the Redbirds for a 22-21 lead. Drake went to halftime with a 38-32 advantage.

Redbirds almost crash Drake’s top 25 debut

Drake was 13-0 against the spread and were favored by 18 going into Sunday afternoon’s game. The Bulldogs looked like they might move to 14-0 ATS when a 17-0 run gave the Bulldogs a 55-40 lead. Illinois State sophomore Antonio Reeves scored 23 of his career-high 27 points in the second half to keep the game close and ultimately force overtime. DeVries said:

“Illinois State is a young team but very talented. Once they cut into that 15-point lead, you could feel their energy change.”

Drake had trouble solving the Redbird 2-3 zone. The Bulldogs made just 4-of-30 shots from three-point range. Darnell Brodie‘s interior play helped save the Bulldogs and their perfect season. His 10-for-10 day was a relief to coach DeVries:

“I’m happy to come away with a win in a hard-fought Valley game with some big swings. It’s league play, you have to find a way sometimes. (Sunday) was one of them and we were able to survive it and get the win.”

Drake outscored Illinois State 7-5 in the five-minute overtime to seal the win. At 7-0, Drake is off to its best start in Missouri Valley Conference play since the 2007-08 season.

Photo by Jeff Roberson / AP
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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell has been covering news and sports in northwest Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most acclaimed community newspapers in the state. He looks forward to keeping readers up to date on the growing sportsbook industry in Iowa.

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