Head coach Dan Muller owned a 11-0 record against Indiana State as a player from 1994-98.
LAST MEETING: REDBIRDS DROP VALLEY OPENER AT INDIANA STATE
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - A last second, potential game-winning three-point attempt by Nick Zeisloft rimmed out, and Indiana State held off Illinois State, 77-75, in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both teams Dec. 30, 2012. The Redbirds were led by Jackie Carmichael's double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds. Zeke Upshaw matched a career high at the time with nine points on three three-pointers for the Redbirds, while Justin Gant paced Indiana State with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
REDBIRDS FLY AWAY WITH FIRST VALLEY WIN
Illinois State earned its first Missouri Valley Conference victory with a 70-56 win at Southern Illinois Jan. 20. The Redbirds (1-6 MVC) experienced their slowest start since going 0-8 to begin the 2010-11 Valley season.
Only three Redbirds - Bryant Allen, Johnny Hill and Zeke Upshaw are averaging more points per game in Valley play compared to the non-conference season (Allen 11.7 vs. 9.4, Hill 8.4 vs. 5.8, Upshaw 4.4 vs. 1.7).
A WIDE MARGIN
After trailing in five out of their first six Valley games at halftime, the Redbirds established a commanding 47-21 (26-point) halftime advantage at Southern Illinois Sunday night. The Salukis' discrepancy was their largest at the intermission in SIU Arena history. Southern Illinois' 21 first-half points were the fewest allowed by ISU this season, and the 26-point lead was ISU's second-largest halftime advantage of the year. The Redbirds held the Salukis to 33.3 percent from the field, while Illinois State shot 51.4 percent in the first half.
Illinois State has been a team of streaks this season. The Redbirds opened the year on a six-game winning streak before later putting together a four-game winning stretch. However, ISU also suffered through a three-game losing streak during the non-conference season, and the Redbirds just snapped a six-game Valley skid. Illinois State is 7-2 when coming off of a win and 2-7 when coming off of a loss this season.
Redbird senior forward Jackie Carmichael earned his 29th-career double-double and ninth of the season during Illinois State's victory at Southern Illinois Sunday night. He now ranks fourth on the Redbird career double-doubles list behind Billy Lewis (31), Jeff Wilkins (42) and Ron DeVries (50). Carmichael has recorded a double-double in seven out of the last nine games, including five out of seven Valley games.
CARMICHAEL LEADS REDBIRDS, AGAIN
Jackie Carmichael averaged a team-best 20.0 points and 11.5 rebounds during Illinois State's games last week at Wichita State and at Southern Illinois. Against the Salukis, Carmichael netted 18 points with 14 rebounds, three blocked shots, two steals and one assist. At Wichita State Wednesday night, Carmichael scored 22 points with nine rebounds. He also had one steal, one block and one assist. He netted five of ISU's six first-half field goals and finished the opening period with 12 points.
A SHINY QUARTER
In Missouri Valley Conference Play, Jackie Carmichael has accounted for more than a quarter of Illinois State's total offense and nearly a third of ISU's rebounds. The senior forward is credited with 25.9 percent of the Redbirds' league points, and 32.4 percent of their conference rebounds. During non-conference play, Carmichael was responsible for 22.5 percent of Illinois State's offense and 22.2 percent of ISU's rebounding, representing a 3.4 percent increase in his offensive contribution and a 10.2 percent increase in rebounding.
DEFENSE WINS GAMES
The old adage, "defense wins championships" might be cliché, but it is true when describing the Redbirds this season. ISU is 7-2 when Illinois State holds opponents under 70 points. The Redbirds are also 6-0 when they record 10-plus steals, 4-3 when they block five-plus shots and 8-4 when they force more turnovers than their opponent.
NON-CONFERENCE VS. VALLEY SEASON
Whereas Illinois State featured one of the top-scoring offenses in the nation during the non-conference schedule, that has not been the case in Missouri Valley Conference play, where the Redbirds have been held 13.7 points below their non-conference average. ISU is averaging 67.3 points per game in the Valley compared to 81.0 points per game versus non-conference opponents. The Redbirds are also allowing an average of 71.4 points per game in league play compared to 67.5 points per game in the non-conference season, a difference of 3.9 points.
While Illinois State typically dominated the first half of its non-conference games, that has not always been the case for the Redbirds in Valley play. ISU led in 11 out of 12 non-conference games and outscored the opposition in the first half, 534 to 392 (44.5 points averaged, compared to 32.7). In contrast, the Redbirds have trailed in five out of seven league contests at halftime. ISU faced its largest halftime deficit, 31-20, in the loss at Wichita State on Jan. 16.
At least three Redbirds have netted double-figures in 15 of Illinois State's 19 games this season, including five out of Illinois State's six Valley matchups. Three reached double figures at Indiana State (Dec. 30), four earned double-figures against No. 16 Creighton (Jan. 2), three recorded double-figures versus Northern Iowa (Jan. 5), three earned double-figures versus Drake (Jan. 12), and four scored double-figures at Wichita State (Feb. 17). Jackie Carmichael has netted double-digit efforts 17 times this year to lead the way for ISU.
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 12 career starts. He amassed career highs in points (24) and rebounds (9) in the loss to Drake on Jan. 12. He is averaging 10.0 points and 4.3 rebounds over the last four games.
Through ISU's first seven Valley games, the Redbirds have utilized five different starting lineups. While the combination of Johnny Hill, Bryant Allen, Tyler Brown, Jon Ekey and Jackie Carmichael started the first two Valley games at Indiana State and versus Creighton, the next three starting lineups were different. Redshirt freshman Nick Zeisloft received the first start of his career in place of the injured Allen during the game against Northern Iowa. Jordan Threloff then started in place of Ekey in the game at Missouri State. It was Threloff's second-career start, and his first-ever with Carmichael. During ISU's game against Drake and at Wichita State, Ekey, Carmichael, Kaza Keane, Allen and Hill started, in place of Brown. John Wilkins then earned his first start of the year at Southern Illinois (with Hill, Allen, Brown and Carmichael).
THE MAGIC NUMBER WAS 70
Illinois State's success during the non-conference season was based on 70 points. If the Redbirds reached 70, they won. If not, they lost. ISU was 9-0 when scoring 70 or more and 0-3 when scoring less than 70 prior to Valley play. However, Illinois State's 77-75 loss at Indiana State (Dec. 30), the 79-72 loss to No. 16 Creighton (Jan. 2) and the 82-77 loss to Drake (Jan. 12) indicate that reaching 70 does not guarantee a Redbird victory in the Valley. The Redbirds have been held to a season-low 62 points twice this season.
CARMICHAEL BLOCKS OFF A SPOT IN THE RECORD BOOK
With a powerful block at the 16:26 mark in the second half of the Jan. 2 game against No. 16 Creighton, Jackie Carmichael broke the Illinois State career-blocked shots record. Carmichael now has 167 blocks, which surpassed the record of 160 set by Greg Dilligard, who played from 2003-07.
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 (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. ISU has now shot under 50 percent in the Redbirds' last seven games.
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.
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. In doing so, Allen became the first Redbird since 2010 to score 30 points in a game. Brown accomplished the feat 24 hours later 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.
Illinois State features an experienced team, including four seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and just two freshmen - with only one true-freshman (Kaza Keane). ISU welcomes back four out of five starters. from last year's team and returns 84.5 percent of offense (2,062/2,439), 92.4 percent of rebounding (1,135/1,229), 100 percent of shot blocking (118/118) and 69.1 percent of assists (317/459).
IT'S MULLER TIME
The last time the Illinois State men's basketball team participated in the NCAA Tournament, Dan Muller was the leader on the floor. He hopes to repeat that accomplishment, this time from the sideline, as ISU's head coach. Muller was named the 19th men's basketball coach in school history May 8, 2012.
417-STRAIGHT GAMES WITH A TREY
Illinois State enters the game with at least one made three in 417-straight games.