Head coach Dan Muller owned a 7-1 record against Evansville as a player from 1994-98.
WHERE TO WATCH: ISU AT EVANSVILLE
Live Video Stream (PPV): http://www.gopurpleaces.com/showcase/
LAST MEETING: REDBIRDS WIN THIRD STRAIGHT, TOP ACES 67-62
NORMAL, Ill. (Jan. 26) - Jackie Carmichael and Tyler Brown each scored over 20 points, as Illinois State (12-9, 3-6 MVC at the time) defeated Evansville (12-9, 5-4 MVC at the time) by a score of 67-62 for its third-straight win on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena on Jan. 26. Carmichael led the way with 24 points and tied a season high with 14 rebounds, to record his 10th double-double of the season and the 30th of his career at Illinois State. Brown was the only other Redbird in double figures with 23 points, thanks to a 12-for-17 effort from the free throw line. The duo combined for 47 of ISU's 67 total points on the night.
STANDINGS CRUNCH TIME
Illinois State and Evansville enter Wednesday night's game tied with Bradley for fifth place in the Valley with 7-8 records. No matter what happens in other league games, the Redbirds cannot move above fifth place in the standings Wednesday, because the next two teams (Indiana State and Northern Iowa) begin the week tied for third place, two games ahead of ISU, with 9-6 league marks. However, the Redbirds could fall as low as seventh on Wednesday, if ISU loses at Evansville and Bradley beats Drake.
ONE OF THE HOTTEST TEAMS IN THE LEAGUE
Illinois State is 7-2 in its last nine games, tying the Redbirds with Northern Iowa, also 7-2, for the two winningest teams in the league over the last nine contests. A total of 25 teams in the nation have posted seven victories since Jan. 20. ISU has not won seven out of nine conference games since the Redbirds won seven out of nine during the 2009-10 season, which resulted in an NIT berth.
HEADING THE RIGHT WAY
ISU started the conference season with an 0-6 mark, and the Redbirds have won seven of their last nine. 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 six 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 the Feb. 13 game against BU, 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. The Redbirds were held to their second-lowest Valley shooting percentage in the loss to Wichita State on Feb. 17.
CARMICHAEL CLOSING IN ON 1,500 / 900
Illinois State senior forward Jackie Carmichael needs five points to become the 76th player in MVC history to reach 1,500 career points. He needs 14 rebounds to become just the 28th MVC player with 900 caroms. Only six previous players in MVC history have scored 1,500 career points and added 900 career rebounds. Carmichael currently ranks ninth on the career-points list, with 1,495 and fourth on the career-rebounding list, with 886. He is chasing Jerry McGreal on the scoring list, who is in eighth place with 1,542 points, while Fred Marberry is in third place, ahead of Carmichael, on the rebounding list, with 933.
THE DIFFERENCE IS DEFENSE
Illinois State has won seven out of its last nine 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 75.5 points per game averaged during ISU's Valley losses (a difference of 12.6 points). Illinois State has also limited the opposition to 38.8 percent shooting in league wins, contrasted with a 46.8 percent clip allowed in conference losses (an 8.0 percent difference).
DEFENDING THE SHOCKERS
Illinois State limited Wichita State to 20 first-half points on Sunday night, which was a new season-low for a Redbird opponent. ISU's defense held the Shockers to 0-for-9 shooting from the field during a 7:29 stretch in which the Redbirds outscored Wichita State, 17-0.
REFEREES DISCIPLINED AFTER WICHITA STATE GAME
The Missouri Valley Conference disciplined the basketball game officials Monday for their administration of awarded free throws in the final moments of the Illinois State versus Wichita State game on Sunday night. Following a monitor review with 40 seconds remaining, the officiating crew assessed a Flagrant 1 foul to Illinois State's Jackie Carmichael for kicking Tekele Cotton in the chest while grabbing a defensive rebound. However, the incorrect Wichita State player shot the ensuing free throws. Instead of Cotton (58.6 percent free throw shooter going into Sunday's game), Cleanthony Early (80.9 percent) attempted, and made, both free throws. The Shockers outscored the Redbirds, 8-2, in the final 40 seconds to win.
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 on Feb. 13, 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.
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.
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 1,495-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.
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 13.8 free throws (a difference of 5.2) on 18.4 attempts (a difference of 6.9) during the Redbirds' eight conference losses. Illinois State made a season-high 32 charity shots on 36 attempts in the win at Drake on Feb. 6, 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. Illinois State went 30-for-33 at the line in the loss to Wichita State on Sunday night. ISU is now 12-2 this season when the Redbirds shoot more free throws than their opponent.
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.
LAST WEEK'S CROWN WENT TO BROWN
For the first time in his career, Illinois State senior guard Tyler Brown was the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week (Feb. 11). It was the fourth Valley Player of the Week honor awarded to an Illinois State player this season, after Jackie Carmichael received the award 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 19.3 points per game, plus a team-best 1.4 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 nine, and is averaging 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds during the starting-stretch. He has also shot a team-best 59.5 percent from the field, 45.5 percent from beyond the arc and 94.7 percent from the free throw line during the last nine 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 25.2 percent of the Redbirds' league points, and 29.2 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 2.7 percent increase in his offensive contribution and a 7.0 percent increase in rebounding.
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).