Head coach Dan Muller owned a 1-0 record against Utah State as a player from 1994-98.
WHERE TO WATCH: ISU AT UTAH STATE
Live Video Stream (PPV): http://www.utahstateaggies.com/allaccess/?media=337385
LAST MEETING: REDBIRDS MOVE TO SECOND ROUND OF NIT, DEFEAT UTAH STATE
NORMAL, Ill. (Mar. 19, 2008) - Sophomore Osiris Eldridge poured in a team-high 14 points and sophomore Dinma Odiakosa added 11 points, as the Illinois State men's basketball team defeated Utah State, 61-57, in the first round of the 2008 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) on Mar. 19, 2008, on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. With the win, the Redbirds (25-9 at the time) moved to 16-1 when playing at home this season, and clinched their 12th non-conference win of 2007-08. The Redbirds, who made their first NIT appearance since 2000-01, enjoyed solid play from seniors Anthony Slack and Boo Richardson, who each scored eight points apiece. For the 18th time this season, ISU held its opponent to less than 60 points, and improved to 18-0 in those contests. Utah State (24-11) had four players reach double-figures, and was led by guard Jaycee Carroll, who scored a game-high 15 points.
THE BRACKETBUSTERS FINALE
This is the 11th and final season of the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters series, after it was announced in December that the event would be discontinued following 2013. Illinois State enters the 2013 BracketBusters game against Utah State with a 7-3 record in previous BracketBusters matchups. ISU is 2-3 in BracketBusters road games, with the last Redbird road win occurring in 2005 at UW-Green Bay.
CONFERENCE CRUNCH TIME
Illinois State joins the rest of the Missouri Valley Conference in the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters series this weekend. After the one-game, non-conference break, two Valley games remain, with the Redbirds hosting Missouri State on Wednesday, Feb. 27, followed by the regular-season finale at Northern Iowa on Saturday, Mar. 2. Illinois State (7-9 MVC) is currently tied for sixth place with Bradley. The Redbirds could move into as high as fifth place with a win Wednesday, or as low as seventh place with a loss. ISU currently could finish the season as high as tied for fourth place or as low as ninth place depending on what happens during the next two league games.
HEADING THE RIGHT WAY
ISU started the conference season with an 0-6 mark, and the Redbirds have won seven of their last 10. 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 COOL OFF
After recording their top-five Valley shooting percentages during a five-game stretch (Jan. 29-Feb. 13) in which the Redbirds went 4-1 (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), the Redbirds have cooled off offensively over their last two games against Wichita State (35.4 percent) and Evansville (37.1 percent). The Redbirds were held to their second-lowest Valley shooting percentage against Wichita State. ISU averaged a 47.5 percent shooting percentage during the five-game stretch, contrasted with a 36.4 percent average over the last two contests.
THE DIFFERENCE IS DEFENSE
Illinois State has won seven out of its last 10 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 74.9 points per game averaged during ISU's Valley losses (a difference of 12.0 points). Illinois State has also limited the opposition to 38.8 percent shooting in league wins, contrasted with a 46.3 percent clip allowed in conference losses (a 7.5 percent difference).
CARMICHAEL COLLECTS 1,500 / 900
Illinois State senior forward Jackie Carmichael became the 76th player in MVC history to reach 1,500 career points, and the 28th MVC player with 900 caroms with his seven-point, 14-rebound effort at Evansville on Wednesday night. Only seven previous players in MVC history have scored 1,500 career points and added 900 career rebounds. Carmichael currently ranks ninth on the Illinois State career-points list, with 1,502 and fourth on the career-rebounding list, with 900. 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.
ACES RUN PAST REDBIRDS
After falling behind, 42-33, at halftime, the Redbirds pulled within 47-41 at the 15:41 mark in the second half of Wednesday night's game at Evansville. However, the Purple Aces went on a 13-2 run to permanently put the game out of reach. UE's final 17-point margin was ISU's largest deficit suffered in a loss this season.
UPSHAW STEPS UP
With the bench shortened followed the injury of Nick Zeisloft, Zeke Upshaw stepped up to record seven points on 3-for-7 shooting, plus a career-high five rebounds in Illinois State's loss at Evansville on Wednesday. It was Upshaw's most productive game since scoring 11 points against Creighton (Jan. 2).
DEFENDING THE SHOCKERS
Illinois State limited Wichita State to 20 first-half points on Feb. 17, 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 for their administration of awarded free throws in the final moments of the Illinois State versus Wichita State game on Feb. 17. 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 is now in ninth place with 1,502-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 12.9 free throws (a difference of 6.1) on 17.1 attempts (a difference of 8.2) during the Redbirds' nine 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. ISU then went 30-for-33 at the line in the loss to Wichita State on Feb. 17. The Redbirds' 5-for-7 free throw effort at Evansville on Wednesday night was the second-fewest makes and attempts by Illinois State this season. 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.
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' initial 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 19.5 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 10, and is averaging 8.7 points and 3.9 rebounds during the starting-stretch. He has also shot a team-best 60.4 percent from the field, 45.8 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.