ISU's last win against CU occurred on Feb. 13, 2010, with the Redbirds winning, 67-63, in Omaha, Neb. Illinois State's last home victory against the Bluejays was a 71-62 win on Jan. 20, 2010. Head coach Dan Muller never lost to Creighton as a player from 1994-98.
REDBIRD AMBASSADOR - Osiris Eldridge
Osiris Eldridge (2006-10) is scheduled to serve as the Redbird Ambassador for the Jan. 2 game against Creighton. Eldridge ranks fifth on the all-time scoring list (1,838), first on the career three-point field goal list (278) and second in career steals (181). He was a three-time All-Valley selection (2008, '09, '10).
COLD FIRST HALF ICES VALLEY OPENER
Illinois State shot a season-low 25.7 percent from the field in the first half of the Redbirds' Missouri Valley Conference opener at Indiana State on Dec. 30. The Redbirds warmed up in the second half, shooting 51.9 percent, but still fell to the Sycamores, 77-75. Illinois State finished the game with a season-low 37.1 shooting percentage, which was the first time ISU shot under 40 percent this season, and only the fourth time the Redbirds were held under 50 percent in 2012-13.
AN INCH AWAY
Despite Illinois State trailing at Indiana State by 11 with 3:41 to play, the Redbirds rallied to pull within two. With 3.0 seconds left, a three-pointer by Nick Zeisloft was on line, but fell an inch short and rimmed out.
BLOCKING OFF A SPOT IN THE HISTORY BOOK
With two blocked shots in the loss at Indiana State on Dec. 30 Redbird senior forward Jackie Carmichael tied the Illinois State career-blocked shots record. Carmichael now has 160 blocks, which tied the record set by Greg Dilligard, who played from 2003-07. Carmichael already has 28 blocks through the first 13 games (2.2 per contest).
With 13 points and a season-high 14 rebounds in Illinois State's loss at Indiana State on Dec. 30, Jackie Carmichael earned his third-consecutive double-double and fourth of the season. The double-double was Carmichael's fifth of the season and 26th of his career. No other Redbird has earned a double-double during the 2012-13 season. Carmichael has now netted double figures in 11 out of 13 games this year, and 57 total during his career.
ZEKE FOR THREE
Illinois State junior guard Zeke Upshaw matched a career high with nine points on a career-best three three-pointers in the loss at Indiana State (Dec. 30). Upshaw keyed the Redbird comeback effort with back-to-back treys to pull Illinois State within 75-73, with 34.0 seconds remaining, after the Redbirds had trailed by 11 at the 3:41 mark.
It might be cold outside, but Illinois State's offense has been red hot. The Redbirds rank 14th in the nation and second in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 49.7 field goal percentage. ISU's scoring offense also ranks among the nation's best, as Illinois State is 17th nationally and first in the Valley with 80.5 points averaged per contest.
SHARING THE ROCK
Illinois State's offensive success this year is a direct result of unselfish play. Along with boasting the top scoring offense in the Missouri Valley Conference (80.5), the Redbirds also lead the league in assists per game, with 17.9. That mark ranks seventh in the nation. ISU guard Kaza Keane is tied for second in the league with 4.8 assists per game, while Johnny Hill ranks seventh with 4.0.
FORCE TURNOVERS, WIN GAMES
The Redbirds are 8-1 this season when they force more turnovers than their opposition, and 1-3 when they commit more turnovers. The Redbirds won their first game with more turnovers than their opponent in the victory at Dayton on Dec. 19. Illinois State lost at Indiana State on Dec. 30, despite forcing 12 turnovers while committing just 11.
THE MAGIC NUMBER IS 70
Illinois State's success this season has been based on 70 points. Typically, if the Redbirds reach 70, they win. If not, they lose. ISU is 9-1 when scoring 70 or more and 0-3 when scoring less than 70. Illinois State's 77-75 loss at Indiana State (Dec. 30) marked the first time the Redbirds have scored more than 70 without earning a victory this season.
FIRST HALF FRENZY
Illinois State has dominated in the first half of nearly every game this season. ISU has led at halftime in 11 out of their first 13 games, with the only exceptions being a 43-37 deficit at Drexel (Nov. 15) and a 36-27 deficit at Indiana State (Dec. 30). ISU has outscored its opponents in the first half 561-to-428, which breaks down to a game average of 43.2 ISU first-half points compared to 32.9 opponent first-half points.
At least three Redbirds have netted double-figures in 11 of Illinois State's 13 games this season. Four reached double-figures in the opener versus UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 12), five scored double-figures at Drexel, (Nov. 15), three tallied double-figures against Delaware State, (Nov. 18), four reached double-figures versus Fairleigh Dickinson, (Nov. 20), three scored double-figures against UAB, (Nov. 23), three netted double-figures against Wyoming (Dec. 4), three reached double-figures versus Western Michigan (Dec. 8), three scored double-figures against Morgan State (Dec. 16), three netted double figures at Dayton (Dec. 19), four scored double-figures against Austin Peay (Dec. 22), and three reached double-figures at Indiana State (Dec. 30). ISU is 9-2 when three or more players score in double-figures, and 0-2 when less than three net double-figures.
THE 700 CLUB
ISU forward Jackie Carmichael is one of just 11 Redbirds in program history to collect 700 or more rebounds. Carmichael grabbed his 700th board in the win against Western Michigan on Dec. 8.
KING OF THE HILL
Sophomore guard Johnny Hill, who averaged just 7.4 minutes per game last season, has been a vital part of ISU's success this year. After point guard Kaza Keane was hindered with an ankle injury, Hill stepped up to make his first six career starts, and over the last seven games, he has led ISU with 39 assists (5.6 per game), 15 steals (2.1 per game) and an average of 6.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest. Hill has also averaged 27.0 minutes over the past seven games, and 24.2 minutes so far this season.
Senior forward Jackie Carmichael's career-high 30-point performance in Illinois State's win over Morgan State (Dec. 16) marked the third time a Redbird has scored 30 or more points in a single game so far this season. The other 30-plus point efforts were from Bryant Allen (30 points versus UAB on Nov. 23) and Tyler Brown (36 points versus Northwestern on Nov. 24). Illinois State is the only program in the country which has had three different players score 30 or more points this season.
BEATING THE BEST TO BE THE BEST
When Illinois State head coach Dan Muller was first hired in May of 2012, he vowed to improve the Redbirds' non-conference strength of schedule to better prepare ISU for the challenging Missouri Valley Conference. The Redbirds not only gained valuable experience, but also a winning record against added quality road opponents, Drexel, No. 5 Louisville and Dayton. The Redbirds went 2-1 against the three teams, with an 86-84 overtime win at Drexel (Nov. 15), a 69-66 loss at No. 5 Louisville (Dec. 1) and a 74-73 win at Dayton (Dec. 19).
PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARDED TO CARMICHAEL
Jackie Carmichael received the honor for the second time this season and the fourth time in his career, after helping the Redbirds to wins against Dayton (Dec. 19) and Austin Peay (Dec. 22). He averaged a double-double with 21.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game during Illinois State's two wins, including the 74-73 victory at Dayton, followed by the 83-57 win over Austin Peay. Carmichael matched his season high with 12 rebounds at Dayton. He also netted 25 points to tally his sixth 20-plus-point game of the year and the 16th of his career. The Manhattan, Kan., native was 9-for-14 (64.3 percent) from the field and 7-for-9 (77.8 percent) at the free throw line. He also blocked two shots and collected one steal and one assist. In Illinois State's win over Austin Peay, Carmichael earned his 25th-career double-double, and fourth of the season, with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Carmichael set or tied a career high in four categories, including points (27), field goals (13), field goal attempts (20) and assists (3), in Illinois State's season-opening win against UC Santa Barbara Nov. 12, and he then led the Redbirds offensively with a 21-point performance during ISU's overtime win at Drexel Nov. 15. With Drexel leading, 75-73, Carmichael was fouled with 2.0 seconds remaining and proceeded to hit two pressure-packed free throws to send the game into overtime. The Valley Player of the Week award is the first for Illinois State since Carmichael won it Jan. 30, 2012. That was the lone player of the week honor awarded to the Redbirds last season.
BACK-TO-BACK 30-POINT GAMES
Senior guard Tyler Brown and junior guard Bryant Allen each scored 30 or more points in back-to-back games at the South Padre Island Invitational in South Padre Island, Texas. Allen netted a career-high 30 points, on 9-for-15 shooting (60.0 percent), in Illinois State's win over UAB on Nov. 23. In doing so, he became the first Redbird since 2010 to score 30 points in a game. While it previously took two years between 30-point games, Brown accomplished the feat 24 hours after Allen, against Northwestern on Nov. 24. He netted a career-high 36 points on 12-for-20 shooting (60.0 percent), which was the fourth-highest scoring output in the nation this season, and the most points scored by a Redbird since Tarise Bryson tallied 41 against Central Michigan on Dec. 3, 2000.
THE ALLEN WRENCH
Junior Bryant Allen proved to be ISU's most useful tool Nov. 23, in the win over UAB. Allen netted a career-high 30 points and was credited with a career-best six steals. In doing so, he became the first Redbird since Dinma Odiakosa to score 30 points in a game. Odiakosa accomplished the feat Feb. 17, 2010, versus Missouri State. Allen also recorded the first five-plus steal effort since Anthony Cousin had five steals at Bradley, Feb. 26, 2011.