Head coach Dan Muller owned a 9-0 record against Wichita State as a player from 1994-98.
WHERE TO WATCH: ISU VS. WICHITA STATE
ESPNU: Comcast Ch. 511, DirecTV Ch. 208, Dish Ch. 141, AT&T U-Verse Ch. 605
LAST MEETING: Illinois State Falls at Wichita State
WICHITA, Kan. (Jan. 16) - Jackie Carmichael scored 22 points and Tyler Brown grabbed a career-high nine rebounds, but Illinois State fell to Wichita State, 74-62, Jan. 16, at Charles Koch Arena. The Redbirds (9-9, 0-6 Missouri Valley Conference at the time) forced 16 Wichita State turnovers, but the Shockers (16-2, 5-1 MVC at the time) held Illinois State to 32.8 percent shooting in the loss. Four Redbirds reached double figures, including Carmichael (22), Brown (14), Bryant Allen (11) and John Wilkins (11). Cleanthony Early led Wichita State with 16 points. Illinois State trailed at halftime, 31-20, and put together a final 11-2 push to pull within 66-59 with 1:50 remaining. Allen scored two three-pointers, Brown had one three, and Wilkins netted a jumper during the stretch. That was as close as the Redbirds got, as ISU fell, 74-62.
RED OUT WICHITA
Red Out Wichita takes over Redbird Arena as Illinois State takes on Wichita State, presented by Frontier Communications and The Pantagraph. The first 1,200 fans in attendance will receive a complementary Red Out Wichita T-shirt upon entry with a valid game ticket. All shirts will be handed out on a first-come first, served basis, so fans are encouraged to attend early, as the doors will open at 6:05 p.m. All fans are encouraged to wear red to the game to contribute to a great showing on ESPNU.
HOTTEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE
Illinois State is 7-1 in its last eight games, making the Redbirds the winningest team in the league over the last eight contests. ISU has not won seven out of eight conference games since the Redbirds won seven out of eight during the 2009-10 season, which resulted in an NIT berth. ISU has not won nine out of 10 Valley games since the 1997-98 season, when as a player, Dan Muller helped the Redbirds to a stretch of 10 out of 11 conference victories and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
CLIMBING IN THE STANDINGS
While Wichita State enters Sunday's game in first place in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 10-4 league record, the Rebirds would pull within two games of the Shockers with a victory. If ISU wins, the Redbirds would improve to 8-7 in the MVC, and WSU would fall to 10-5. It would mark the first time this season that ISU has been above .500 in the conference. The Redbirds have come a long way since falling as far as six games behind the leader on Jan. 18, when ISU was 0-6 in the Valley and Creighton was 6-0.
HEADING THE RIGHT WAY
ISU started the conference season with an 0-6 mark, and the Redbirds have won seven of their last eight. No team in league history has started league play at 0-6 and then rebounded to finish .500 or better. A total of 53 teams in the league's 106-year history have started 0-6 or worse.
REDBIRDS ARE RED HOT
ISU has recorded its top five Valley shooting percentages over the last five games (45.8 percent at Bradley, 46.2 percent against Southern Illinois, 48.3 percent at Drake, 49.2 percent at No. 16 Creighton and 47.4 percent versus Bradley). ISU shot 59.3 percent in the second half of Wednesday night's game against Braves, which was a Valley-high for the Redbirds. ISU's 54.2 percent (13-for-24) three-point effort at Bradley on Jan. 29, was an overall season high, along with ISU's 54-point second half at Drake on Feb. 6.
CARMICHAEL CLOSING IN ON 1,500
Illinois State senior forward Jackie Carmichael is 17 points away from becoming just the ninth player in program history to finish with 1,500 or more points. Carmichael currently ranks ninth on the career-points list with 1,483. He is chasing Jerry McGreal, who is in eighth place with 1,542 points.
THE DIFFERENCE IS DEFENSE
Illinois State has won seven out of its last eight Missouri Valley Conference games, thanks in large part to improved defense. During ISU's seven Valley victories, the Redbirds have held the opposition to 62.9 points per game, compared to the 75.3 points per game averaged during ISU's Valley losses (a difference of 12.4 points). Illinois State has also limited the opposition to 38.8 percent shooting in league wins, contrasted with a 47.4 percent clip allowed in conference losses (an 8.6 percent difference).
SECOND HALF BLITZ AGAINST THE BRAVES
After Bradley scored 55 second-half points on 64.5 percent shooting (both season worsts, defensively, for ISU) in the first meeting between the two rivals (Jan. 29), the Redbirds returned the favor the second time around. In Illinois State's win over the Braves Wednesday night, ISU limited BU to 28 second-half points, on 29.4 percent shooting (a season-low allowed in the second half by ISU). Meanwhile, the Redbirds shot 59.3 percent in the second half, outscoring the Braves by 19 points, with 47 total in the half.
UPSET IN OMAHA
Senior guard Tyler Brown scored 23 of his 27 points in the second half to lead Illinois State to a 75-72 win at No. 16 Creighton on Feb. 9. The victory was ISU's first over a nationally ranked team on the road since topping No. 17 Tulsa in 1985. It was also ISU's first win in Omaha, Neb., since 2010.
PASSING MULLER'S MILESTONE
Jackie Carmichael moved into 10th place on the Illinois State career-scoring list during the Feb. 9 contest at No. 16 Creighton, surpassing head coach Dan Muller. Carmichael now has 1,483-career points, while Muller scored 1,445 in his four-year career. The Manhattan, Kan., native also made his 100th-career start in ISU's win over the Bluejays.
THE COMEBACK KIDS
Illinois State overcame a 17-point first-half deficit to beat Drake by eight points, 94-86, on Feb. 6. The come-from-behind victory tied for the third-best comeback in Redbird history and the biggest since ISU also overcame a 17-point disadvantage at home against Drake on Mar. 1, 2004. Illinois State beat the Bulldogs, 73-68, with current ISU Associate Head Coach Dana Ford contributing two points, three assists, two rebounds and one steal off of the bench. ISU has now overcome four 17-point deficits, one 18-point deficit and one 21-point deficit (Nov. 27, 1989), which was the largest comeback in program history.
With 10 steals recorded during Illinois State's win at Drake on Feb. 6, the Redbirds improved to 7-0 this season when they record 10 or more steals in a game. It marked the second time that ISU has collected double-digit steals in a Missouri Valley Conference game this year.
The Redbirds scored a scorching 94 points, including 54 in the second half, during the win at Drake on Feb. 6. It marked the first time since 2001 that ISU has netted more than 90 points against a Missouri Valley Conference foe. The last time that happened, ISU won at Evansville, 94-87, in double-overtime on Feb. 12, 2001. Illinois State has now scored 90 or more points three times this season, and 80 or more points nine times. ISU is 9-0 when netting 80 or more.
Part of Illinois State's recent success can be attributed to success at the foul line. In Illinois State's seven Valley victories, the Redbirds have averaged 19.0 free throws on 25.3 attempts. In contrast, ISU averaged 15.4 free throws (a difference of 3.6) on 21.1 attempts (a difference of 4.2) during the Redbirds' seven conference losses. Illinois State made a season-high 32 charity shots on 36 attempts, which was the most by ISU in a game since the Redbirds made 33 versus SIUE on Nov. 14, 2010. It also marked the first time during Illinois State's Valley era (1982-present) that three Redbirds have each netted nine or more free throws in the same game. ISU is now 12-1 this season when the Redbirds shoot more free throws than their opponent.
THIS WEEK'S CROWN GOES TO BROWN
For the first time in his career, Illinois State senior guard Tyler Brown is the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week. It is the fourth Valley Player of the Week honor awarded to an Illinois State player this season, after Jackie Carmichael received the award three times, on Nov. 19, Dec. 27 and Jan. 28.
THE 'BIRDS NEED BROWN
Senior guard Tyler Brown, who averaged 17.3 points per game through the non-conference season, cooled off at the beginning of Illinois State's Valley season. During the Redbirds' six-game losing streak, Brown was held to 10.4 points per game. However, the Owensboro, Ky., native has been instrumental in Illinois State's recent success. Since snapping the skid, Brown has averaged 19.6 points per game, plus a team-best 1.5 steals. He led ISU with 27 points in the win at No. 16 Creighton on Feb. 9.
WILKINS KEYS SUCCESS
Senior guard/forward John Wilkins made his first start of the season in Illinois State's win at Southern Illinois on Jan. 20. He has started every game since, with the Redbirds winning seven of eight, and is averaging 9.1 points and 4.0 rebounds during the starting-stretch. He has also shot a team-best 58.5 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from beyond the arc and 94.1 percent from the free throw line during the last eight contests. The Antibes, France, native recorded a season-high 18 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field in the win at Drake on Feb. 6.
A SHINY QUARTER
In Missouri Valley Conference play, Jackie Carmichael has accounted for more than a quarter of Illinois State's total offense and rebounding. The senior forward is credited with 24.2 percent of the Redbirds' league points, and 26.0 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 1.7 percent increase in his offensive contribution and a 3.8 percent increase in rebounding.
Redbird senior forward Jackie Carmichael earned his 32nd-career double-double and 12th of the season during Illinois State's victory against Bradley on Wednesday night. He is now in third place on the career double-doubles list, behind Jeff Wilkins (42) and Ron DeVries (50).
BROWN FINALIST FOR DUNK COMPETITION
Tyler Brown is one of 16 finalists nominated for the "State Farm Dark Horse Dunker" competition, Intersport announced Monday. The winner will participate in the Denny's Slam Dunk Competition at the State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships in Atlanta at 6 p.m., April 4, on ESPN. Sixteen dunkers have been selected to compete in the "State Farm Dark Horse Dunker" Facebook bracket, which is a five-week knockout competition. Fans will determine the winner by voting during each round at the official Facebook page (facebook.com/CollegeSlam).