Valpo meets Missouri St. in MVC semis

Valparaiso (18-15, 11-9) vs. Missouri State (16-16, 10-9)

Missouri Valley Conference Tourney Semifinals, Enterprise Center, St. Louis; Saturday, 6 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: Missouri State is ready to take on Valparaiso with a spot in the MVC championship game on the line. The teams split the regular season series at one win apiece. The teams last played each other on Feb. 25, when the Crusaders shot 58.6 percent from the field while holding Missouri State’s shooters to just 39.7 percent en route to an 89-74 victory.

SAVVY SENIORS: Valparaiso’s Javon Freeman-Liberty, John Kiser and Ryan Fazekas have collectively scored 40 percent of all Crusaders points this season, although that trio’s output has decreased to 28 percent over the last five games.JUMPING FOR JAVON: Freeman-Liberty has connected on 29.2 percent of the 168 3-pointers he’s attempted. He’s also made 75 percent of his foul shots this season.

SLIPPING AT 71: Missouri State is 0-11 this year when it allows 71 points or more and 16-5 when holding opponents to fewer than 71.

PASSING FOR POINTS: The Crusaders have recently used assists to create baskets more often than the Bears. Missouri State has 33 assists on 84 field goals (39.3 percent) across its past three outings while Valparaiso has assists on 42 of 76 field goals (55.3 percent) during its past three games.

DID YOU KNOW: Missouri State is ranked second among MVC teams with an offensive rebound percentage of 32 percent. The Bears have averaged 10.9 offensive boards per game and 13.8 per game over their last five games.