Illinois State Game Notes in PDF Format
Jan. 18, 2008
Illinois State Redbirds (14-3, 6-0 MVC) at Drake Bulldogs (15-1, 6-0 MVC)
Des Moines, Iowa Knapp Center
Radio: Redbird Radio Network
Dick Luedke (Play-by-play), Mike Matthews (Color)
Flagship WJBC 1230 AM
TV: MediaCom in Des Moines (Larry Morgan/Al Lorenzen)
► Illinois State is 6-0 in Missouri Valley Conference play for the first time since the 1997-98 season, when the Redbirds started the league slate 6-0. That team advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after going 25-6 (16-2 MVC) and winning the MVC regular-season and tournament titles.
► The Redbirds are on a nine-game winning streak, which is the longest such stretch by Illinois State since the 1982-83 season, when the `Birds rattled off 11-consecutive victories, including nine-straight in Missouri Valley Conference play.
► Illinois State's six Missouri Valley Conference wins this season already equal last season's league victory total. The Redbirds' next win would be their 15th, and would equal ISU's entire win total from the 2006-07 season.
► The Redbirds are 4-1 on the road this season, including a 2-0 mark in Valley road games. Illinois State has not played a contest away from Redbird Arena since Jan. 1, when the `Birds defeated host Wichita State, 49-46.
ABOUT DRAKE UNIVERSITY
► Drake University is located in Des Moines, Iowa, and has an enrollment of 5,617. The Bulldogs are members of the NCAA Division I and the Missouri Valley Conference.
► The Bulldogs finished the 2006-07 campaign with a 17-15 record overall and a 6-12 record in The Valley. Drake finished tied for seventh place in the league standings, and was eliminated by Southern Illinois in the second round of the State Farm MVC Tournament.
► Head coach Keno Davis (Iowa `95) is in his first year at the helm of the Bulldog program, after spending the previous four seasons as Dr. Tom Davis' (Keno's father) top assistant at Drake. He also served six years as an assistant coach under former Drake head coach Gary Garner at Southeast Missouri State. Davis is assisted by Chris Davis, Rodell Davis and Justin Ohl.
► Drake returns seven lettermen from the 2006-07 squad, which achieved the most victories (17) at the school since the 1986-87 season. Five of those returnees saw starting action last season. Graduation claimed starting forward Ajay Calvin, who earned honorable mention All-MVC honors last year, while being just the third player to rank in the top seven in the league in both scoring and rebounding.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Drake is tied atop the Missouri Valley Conference standings with Illinois State. The Bulldogs own the nation's sixth-longest winning streak at 13 games. Drake leads the Valley in scoring margin (+16.7) and is ranked second in scoring offense (74.1 ppg) and scoring defense (57.4). Drake also tops the league in turnover margin (+4.88) and is second in steals (9.38). The Bulldogs' 1.10 assist/turnover ratio ranks second only to Illinois State. Drake is averaging 9.19 made three-point field goals per game, the second-highest in the Valley this season.
Sophomore guard Josh Young is the Valley's leading scorer, averaging 16.3 points per game. Leonard Houston closely follows with 14.9 points per contest, ranking fourth overall in the MVC. Klayton Korver, the brother of Utah Jazz forward and former Creighton standout Kyle Korver, averages 9.0 points per game. On the glass, the Bulldogs are paced by Jonathon Cox, who's 8.5 rebounds per game rank second overall in the Valley. Cox's .519 field goal percentage is also the seventh-best league mark.
NEXT UP: REDBIRDS TRAVEL TO RIVAL BRADLEY WEDNESDAY
Illinois State will travel to Peoria, Ill., to take on in-state and Missouri Valley Conference rival Bradley (8-10, 1-5 MVC) Wednesday (7:07 p.m.) at Carver Arena. The Braves have played all six of their Valley contests without the services of injured All-MVC point guard Daniel Ruffin. Bradley's lone win in league play came at Northern Iowa on Jan. 12. The Braves were edged by Drake, 69-68, Wednesday night at Carver Arena after Adam Emmenecker's rebound layup just before the buzzer sounded lifted the Bulldogs to a come-from-behind win. Bradley is 4-5 at home this season.
FOUR ISU BASKETBALL GAMES TO AIR ON COMCAST SPOTLIGHT
As Illinois State sits atop the Missouri Valley Conference standings, fans of the Redbirds in the central Illinois area will be able to see more games in their living rooms as a result of a new four-game agreement between the Illinois State Athletics Department and Comcast Spotlight, formerly Insight Cable. Comcast Spotlight will televise two road games live as part of the agreement, including the Jan. 30 game at Northern Iowa and the Feb. 20 contest at Evansville. In addition, ISU home games against Wichita State (Jan. 16), and the Feb. 27 game against Creighton will be available live. WMBD sports director Kurt Pegler and former ISU assistant men's basketball coach Bob Morris will serve as the broadcast team on all four telecasts.
The respective successes of both Illinois State and Drake have been well-documented, but one element that has not been touched on is the similarity of the paths that each team took to get to this point. The Redbirds and Bulldogs both won six Missouri Valley Conference contests last season, and tied for seventh in the league standings at the end of the regular season. ISU is just one win away from equaling its entire win total from last season (15), while Drake is just two victories away from accomplishing the same feat (17). Both Illinois State and Drake defeated the other team on their respective home floor last season.
HISTORIC NIGHT IN VALLEY HISTORY
Tonight's game between Illinois State and Drake will be a historic contest in the Missouri Valley Conference annals. The Redbirds and Bulldogs are believed to be the first teams to match 6-0 Valley records in the league's 101-year history.
WHAT PRESEASON POLL?!?
When examining the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll through six conference games, it becomes evident that very few voters had a grasp on what would unfold in the league this season. Three of the top four teams in the poll (Southern Illinois, Bradley and Missouri State) find themselves in the bottom-five of the league, and three of the top-four teams (Drake, Illinois State and Indiana State) were picked ninth, fifth and eighth, respectively.
CARRYING THE LOAD
The Missouri Valley Conference's top-two scorers will be on display Saturday night, when Illinois State's Osiris Eldridge and Drake's Josh Young take the court. Young leads the Valley with 16.3 points per game, and Eldridge ranks second overall, averaging 15.6 points per contest. Young has missed the past two games due to injury, while Eldridge has led the Redbirds in scoring in the past three games, and nine times this season.
REDBIRDS RECEIVE SEVEN AP TOP-25 VOTES
After defeating both Northern Iowa and Evansville to improve to 5-0 in Missouri Valley Conference play last week, Illinois State collected six more votes in the updated Associated Press Top-25 poll, released Monday afternoon. The Redbirds garnered one vote last week, and had a total of seven Monday. Last week and today's poll marked the first two times Illinois State had received votes or been ranked in the AP Top-25 poll since the 1997-98 season, when the Redbirds were ranked No. 24 on Nov. 18, 1997.
DOM, LEVI ACHIEVE MILESTONES
Seniors Levi Dyer and Dom Johnson each set rebounding milestones Wednesday against visiting Wichita State. Dyer passed the 200-career rebound plateau with his four caroms, and now has 202 career rebounds, while Johnson equaled 100 career caroms in his one-plus-year career with two defensive rebounds against the Shockers.
CAREER RECORDS WATCH
Levi Dyer is 10th all-time in career three-point field goals (129), and is eight treys away from tying Vince Greene (2001-05) for the ninth position ... Dom Johnson's 72 made threes ranks 17th all-time, and he trails Chad Altadonna (1991-95) by four three-pointers for the 16th spot ... Dyer has attempted 290 three-pointers in his career, the 13th-best mark in the Illinois State annals ... Johnson's 216 three-point attempts rank 16th, and Osiris Eldridge's 218 attempted threes ranks 15th ... Dyer's 44.5 career three-point percentage ranks third all-time ... Eldridge (38.5) ranks 13th in career three-point field goal percentage, and Johnson (33.3) is 20th all-time ... Boo Richardson's 219 career assists is tied for 21st in the career category, and he is just one assist away from moving into the top-20 ... Anthony Slack has 64 career blocks, good for eighth in ISU history ... Richardson and Johnson are each averaging 31.4 minutes per game in their respective careers, tied for the fourth-highest individual mark in program history.
TRENDS IN CURRENT NINE-GAME WINNING STREAK
In its current nine-game winning streak, Illinois State is outscoring its opponents by a 10.7 point margin, while shooting at a 45.4 percent clip.
Opponents are shooting just 37.5 percent (28.7 percent from three-point range), and averaging just 53.6 points per game.
The Redbirds have averaged 7.2 made three-point field goals per game, and allowed their opponents to connect on just 5.0 treys per contest.
Seven players (Osiris Eldridge, Levi Dyer, Boo Richardson, Dom Johnson, Anthony Slack, Dinma Odiakosa and Brandon Sampay) are averaging five or more points per game.
Eldridge (44.1), Dyer (43.1), Slack (65.2), Richardson (45.5), Johnson (40.7) and Odiakosa (46.3) are all shooting over 40 percent from the field.
Eldridge (16), Dyer (20) and Johnson (12) have combined for 48 of ISU's 65 three-point field goals in the stretch.
Richardson has collected 19 steals (2.1 spg) in the stretch.
The Redbirds have averaged just 11.4 turnovers per game, and forced their opponents into 15.6 (4.1 turnover margin).
Illinois State has tallied 3.2 blocks per game over the past nine contests.
ISU is averaging 31.8 points per game in the first half over the past nine games, compared to just 20.2 points for its opponents.
The Redbirds have 138 assists (15.3 apg) in the stretch ... opponents have tallied just 10.9 assists per game.
The Redbirds are 4-1 on the road season, with a four-game road winning streak.
ISU is averaging 65.2 points per game on the road, compared to just 58.4 points per contest for its opponents (+6.8 scoring margin).
The Redbirds are shooting nearly 43 percent (.428) in away games.
ISU is out-rebounding its foes by two caroms per game (35.4-33.4) on the road.
The Redbirds are averaging nearly three more assists per game than its road opponents (14.0-11.2).
ISU is averaging just 11.8 turnovers per road game.
The Redbirds are averaging nearly five (4.8) blocks per game on the road this season.
88.1 percent of ISU's total road attendance has come in the Redbirds' two MVC road games at Creighton and Wichita State. The other combined 11.9 percent came on the road against Mid-American Conference foes Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green and Ball State.
Seven players (Osiris Eldridge, Boo Richardson, Levi Dyer, Dom Johnson, Emmanuel Holloway, Anthony Slack and Dinma Odiakosa) are averaging six or more points per game in road games.
Holloway is shooting 50 percent (6-of-12) from three-point range on the road.
Brandon Sampay has played an average of just 8.8 minutes per game in road contests.
Osiris Eldridge is averaging 8.4 rebounds per road game.
Boo Richardson has snagged 11 steals on the road, an average of 2.2 steals per game.
Three players (Eldridge, Richardson and Johnson) are averaging 30 or more minutes per game on the road this season.
BOO'S RATIO AMONG NATION'S BEST
Boo Richardson's 3.44 assist/turnover through 16 games ranked third in the nation in the latest version of the NCAA Individual Statistics (through games Jan. 13, 2008). Richardson, who's average is now 3.47 (after Wednesday's game against Wichita State) trails just Michigan State's Drew Neitzel (4.59) and Arkansas State's Ifeanyi Koggu (3.57) in assist/turnover ratio this season.
DYER'S THREE-POINT SUCCESS RECOGNIZED BY NCAA
Through Jan. 13, 2008, Levi Dyer's 50.0 percent three-point field goal percentage (40-80) was tied for the seventh-best mark in the NCAA Division I ranks this season. Dyer went 1-for-3 from beyond the three-point arc against Wichita State Wednesday.
PERCENT AND PROBABILITY
So far this season, when Anthony Slack attempts a field goal there is a high probability it is going in. In fact it is so high, that if he stays on this pace it would be the highest single-season field goal percentage in Illinois State history. Slack is making 67.3 percent of his field goals this season, which ranks first overall in the Missouri Valley Conference. The numbers are somewhat skewed when reviewing how Slack matches up against the rest of the nation. The minimum number of converted field goals to appear on the list for the NCAA Statistics is five; and Slack averages four made field goals per game. In the updated NCAA Statistics (through games of Jan. 13), Slack's current 67.3 field goal percentage would rank second in the NCAA Division I ranks.
OTHER NCAA STATISTICAL NOTABLES
Illinois State had a considerable amount of representation in the updated version of the NCAA Statistics (through games of Jan. 13, 2008). The Redbirds were tied for 11th in scoring defense (57.2 ppg), 13th in field goal percentage defense (37.6), 47th in three-point field goal percentage (39.1) and were tied for 30th in both win-loss percentage (81.3) and assist/turnover ratio (1.21).
VETERANS SHOULDER MOST OF STATISTICAL LOAD
With four starters returning from 2006-07 and five of the team's top-six scorers, the opportunities for this season's newcomers to contribute was somewhat limited. While Emmanuel Holloway, Brandon Sampay and Dinma Odiakosa and Sead Odzic have been valuable additions to the Redbird rotation, it has been the veterans that have carried most of the statistical responsibilities. Levi Dyer, Boo Richardson, Osiris Eldridge, Anthony Slack and Dom Johnson have accounted for 71 percent (.714) of ISU's scoring, 58 percent (.584) of its rebounding, 73 percent (.732) of the Redbirds' assists, 69 percent (.692) of their blocks and 68 percent (.684) of Illinois State's steals.
DOUBLE-DIGITS BECOMING A FAMILIARITY
Against WSU, sophomore guard Osiris Eldridge scored in double figures for the 13th-straight game and for the 15th time this season. He scored a game-high 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting, including a 4-of-10 effort from three-point range.
RUNNING INTO A FIRST HALF LOGJAM
Illinois State hasn't wasted any time setting the defensive tone early in the game in the Redbirds' recent Missouri Valley Conference contests. ISU held Wichita State without a field goal for the first 8:55 of the first half Wednesday, just 11 days after holding in-state rival Southern Illinois field goal-less for the opening 16:02. In Missouri Valley Conference play, only Creighton (Dec. 29) has tallied a first half shooting percentage above 40 percent against Illinois State. The Redbirds have held the halftime lead in nine of the last 10 games.
PRESERVING A LEAD
Illinois State's second-half strength this season has been well-documented, but one aspect that hasn't been further examined is the Redbirds' ability to put the clamps down on opponents in "winning time." ISU is 14-0 this season when leading with 5:00 remaining in the game. Last season, when the Redbirds were within one possession with 5:00 left (whether winning, losing or tied), ISU was just 4-4.
HOW DO YOU WANT TO WIN?
Illinois State has proven that it can win in many ways through its 14 victories this season. The Redbirds have captured wins when scoring in the 40s (at Wichita State), 50s (Southern Illinois) 60s (Cincinnati, Bowling Green and Ball State), 70s (Missouri-St. Louis, Illinois-Chicago, Evansville and vs. Wichita State), 80s (UNC-Wilmington, Chicago State and Creighton) and 90s (Southeast Missouri State).
Anthony Slack (6.2 rpg), Dinma Odiakosa (5.4) and Osiris Eldridge (5.8) are all averaging more than five rebounds per game through 17 games this season. The last time Illinois State had three players average at least five rebounds per game in a single season was during the 1998-99 campaign, when L. Dee Murdock (6.1 rpg), Sean Riley (5.3) and LeRoy Watkins (5.5) all grabbed more than five caroms per outing.