Head coach Dan Muller owned a 5-3 record against Bradley as a player from 1994-98.
WHERE TO WATCH VALLEY-TV: ISU AT BRADLEY
Comcast SportsNet Chicago: Comcast Ch. 56, DirecTV Ch. 665, Dish Ch. 429, AT&T U-Verse Ch. 1741
Fox Sports Midwest: Comcast Ch. 57, DirecTV Ch. 671, Dish Ch. 418
Alt. Sports Channels: DirecTV Ch. 671, Dish Ch. 418, AT&T U-Verse Ch. 748
ESPN3.com (outside the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska)
CARMICHAEL NAMED VALLEY PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Illinois State senior forward Jackie Carmichael is the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week, as announced by the league office Monday, Jan. 28. Carmichael received the honor for the third time this season and the fifth time in his career, after averaging 20.0 points and 11.5 rebounds in wins against Indiana State and Evansville last week. The Manhattan, Kan., native earned his 30th-career double-double and 10th of the season during ISU's victory over Evansville on Jan. 26. Against the Purple Aces, Carmichael was 8-for-10 from the field (80.0 percent) and 8-for-12 at the free throw line (66.7 percent), as he netted a game-high 24 points and 14 rebounds, with three blocked shots and one assist. In Illinois State's win against Indiana State on Jan. 23, Carmichael scored 16 points with nine rebounds, three blocks, two assists and one steal. Carmichael has now netted double figures in 19 out of 21 games this year.
Illinois State has won three-straight Missouri Valley Conference games after dropping its first six to start league play. So, why are the Redbirds winning? ISU's defense is allowing just 58.7 points per game during the winning streak, compared to 74.0 points allowed in the six-game losing stretch (a difference of 15.3 points). The Redbirds have also limited their last three opponents to an average of 40.0 percent from the field, compared to a 47.5 percent opponent average during ISU's first six conference games.
GUARDING THE STREAK
The Redbirds are averaging 6.3 steals, 4.3 blocks and 13.0 forced turnovers during the last three contests, compared to 5.6 steals, 3.2 blocks and 11.8 forced turnovers in their six-consecutive losses. ISU's offense has remained consistent, with the Redbirds averaging 65.7 points over the last three wins, compared to 66.8 in the six losses (a difference of 1.1 points).
DRIVING UP IN THE STANDINGS
Along with Illinois State's improved defense over the last three games, the Redbirds have also been driving the ball more and relying less on scoring from beyond the arc. During the three-game winning streak, ISU has averaged 27.3 points in the paint compared to 24.0 throughout the six-game skid. The Redbirds have also upped their fast-break points from 5.2 to 7.3. Meanwhile, Illinois State's three-point attempts have decreased from 23.2 in the losing stretch to 15.3 over the last three victories.
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 recently snapped a six-game Valley skid. ISU is now on a three-game winning streak. Illinois State is 9-2 when coming off of a win and 2-7 when coming off of a loss this season.
WILKINS STEPS UP
Senior guard/forward John Wilkins made his first start of the season in Illinois State's win at Southern Illinois on Jan. 20. He started again in the Redbirds' victory over Indiana State on Jan. 23 followed by ISU's win against Evansville on Jan. 26. Wilkins has averaged 7.0 points and 4.0 points per contest during the three-game winning streak. He has also shot 56.3 percent from the field during the last three contests.
GETTING IT DONE AT THE LINE
Illinois State made a season-high 21 free throws in a 21-for-31 (67.7 percent) effort from the charity stripe in the Redbirds' win over Evansville Jan. 26. The Purple Aces were held to 11 made free throws on 13 attempts. ISU is now 9-1 when the Redbirds shoot more free throws than their opponent.
Illinois State is 9-2 overall, and 3-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference, when the Redbirds hold the opposition below 70 points. ISU has accomplished this defensive feat in its last three wins (Jan. 20: Illinois State 70, Southern Illinois 56) (Jan. 23: Illinois State 60, Indiana State 58) (Jan. 26: Illinois State 67, Evansville 62). ISU is also 10-3 overall, but 1-3 in the Valley, when the Redbirds score 70 or more points in a game. Illinois State's wins against Indiana State and Evansville marked the first time that ISU has been held below 70 points, and still won.
The Redbirds have generally held their leads this season, especially when they jump ahead early. Illinois State is 6-3 when scoring first and 11-4 when leading at halftime. The Redbirds are also 11-1 when leading with five minutes remaining in regulation.
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 14.6 points below their non-conference average. ISU is averaging 66.4 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 68.9 points per game in league play compared to 67.5 points per game in the non-conference season, a difference of 1.4 points.
With 11 steals recorded during Illinois State's win over Indiana State on Jan. 23, the Redbirds improved to 6-0 this season when they record 10 or more steals in a game. It marked the first time that ISU has collected double-digit steals in a Missouri Valley Conference game this year.
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 27.1 percent of the Redbirds' league points, and 32.1 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 4.6 percent increase in his offensive contribution and a 9.9 percent increase in rebounding.
Redbird senior forward Jackie Carmichael earned his 30th-career double-double and 10th of the season during Illinois State's victory against Evansville on Jan. 26. He 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 eight out of the last 11 games, including six out of nine Valley games.
At least three Redbirds have netted double-figures in 15 of Illinois State's 21 games this season, including five out of Illinois State's nine 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 (Jan. 16). Jackie Carmichael has netted double-digits 19 times this year, and 13-consecutive times. Only two Redbirds have reached double-figures in their last three games, all wins.
NO THREES, NO PROBLEM
Illinois State was 0-for-13 from beyond the arc in the Redbirds' win over Indiana State (Jan. 23). It snapped an ISU streak of 417 games with at least one three-pointer. The last time Illinois State did not sink a trey was an 82-43 loss at Creighton, Dec. 12, 1999.
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, averaging 24.6 minutes of action per contest this year. After point guard Kaza Keane was hindered with an ankle injury, Hill stepped up to make his first 14 career starts. He amassed career highs in points (24) and rebounds (9) in the loss to Drake on Jan. 12. He is averaging 9.4 points and 4.2 rebounds over the last four games, and 7.1 points and 3.4 rebounds this season.
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 were held to a season-low 60 points in the win over Indiana State (Jan. 23). ISU has also scored 70 or less in all three of its Valley wins so far this season.
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 on Jan. 20. 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. ISU went on to hold Evansville to 22 first-half points on Jan. 26.
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.
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.