Junior guard Anthony James was named to the Preseason All-Valley Honorable Mention Team.
ANYONE FOR A GAME OF QUARTERS?
In previous tournaments, Illinois State has fared well in the quarterfinals. The Redbirds boast a 19-7 (.731) record when playing in the quarterfinals of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
THE ALLEN BENCH
Since becoming eligible on Dec. 18, sophomore Bryant Allen has been a key component of the Redbird bench. Seeing action in 19 games, all as a reserve, Allen has posted seven double-digit scoring games this season off the bench. In Valley games, Allen is Illinois State's third-leading scorer with 9.9 points per game, in 20.6 minutes per contest.
ANOTHER REDBIRD REBOUNDING KING
With 9.4 rebounds per game, Illinois State's Jackie Carmichael is the top rebounder in the Missouri Valley Conference. With the rebounding title, Carmichael became only the second Redbird to lead the Valley in rebounding, joining Dinma Odiakosa, who averaged 8.7 rebounds during the 2009-10 season.
35 YEARS IN THE MAKING
Illinois State's Jackie Carmichael enters the game with a 9.4 rebounding average this season, including a 9.6 rebound per game mark in Valley contests. If Carmichael is able to keep his average above 9.0 rebounds per game for the season, he would be the first Redbird to do so in 35 seasons. Jeff Wilkins, the father of current Redbird John Wilkins, averaged 11.1 rebounds per game during the 1976-77 season.
Sophomore Bryant Allen arrived on campus as a member of the Redbird football team. After his 29-point outburst against Creighton, Allen is proving himself as a legitimate threat on the hardwood. Allen's 29 tallies were the most scored by a Redbird this season and the most since Dinma Odiakosa poured in 30 points against Missouri State on Feb. 17, 2010.
20 REBOUNDS AT ISU - A RARITY
Jackie Carmichael's career-best 20 rebounds against Drake equaled the most rebounds by a Redbird in the history of Redbird Arena. Carmichael's effort matched Anthony Slack's 20-rebound effort against Creighton on Feb. 27, 2008. Prior to Slack, Illinois State had not had an individual 20-rebound performance since Del Yarbrough grabbed 20 caroms against Northern Illinois, Dec. 22, 1978. Ten days later against Oakland, Carmichael hauled in 19 rebounds to pace the Redbirds.
394-STRAIGHT GAMES WITH A TREY
Illinois State enters the Northern Iowa game with at least one made three in 394-straight games. The last time ISU didn't sink a trey was an 82-43 loss at Creighton, Dec. 12, 1999.
AMONG THE REDBIRD ELITE
Head coach Tim Jankovich posted his 100th victory at Illinois State in the 79-75 win over Oakland. With now 101 victories, Jankovich is only the second coach in ISU history to post at least 100 wins in five seasons at the helm. Jankovich joins Kevin Stallings, who won 107 games in his first five seasons at ISU.
Entering the game, sophomore Bryant Allen leads the Redbirds with a 45.2 three-point field goal percentage. If the season were complete, Allen's shooting prowess from beyond the arc would rank No. 8 among the best three-point goal percentages in Illinois State history. In league games, Allen is even better. He shoots 48.5 percent from three in Valley contests.
CONSISTENT CARMICHAEL = CONSISTENT WINNING
In 19 games this season, Jackie Carmichael has scored in double-figures. In those contests, the Redbirds have posted a 13-6 record. Carmichael has also collected 13 double-digit rebound games this season, resulting in a 10-3 Redbird mark. When he posts a double-double, ISU is 9-2 this season.
MOORE TO COME
Valley All-Freshman Team honoree Nic Moore has dished out at least three assists in 20 games this season. He leads the team with 114 dimes and boasts a 1.78 assist-to-turnover ratio. Moore has dished out five or more assists in a game nine different times this season, with seven being ISU wins. Moore collected more assists this season, through 19 games, than any Redbird did last season in 31 games.
With five assists at Northern Iowa, Nic Moore became the first Illinois State freshman to post 100 assists in a single season since Victor Williams during the 1998-99 season. Williams finished with 103 assists that season and was named the 1999 Valley Freshman of the Year. Moore has 114 assists, which is the most by an ISU freshman since Ron Jones (212) during the 1976-77 season.
After Bryant Allen's career-high 29 points against Creighton, ISU now has eight players on the roster who have scored at least 20 points in an NCAA Division I game. The eight Redbird players is the most by any team in the Valley. Jackie Carmichael has nine 20-point efforts in his career, including five this season, while Tyler Brown also has five 20-point games this season and Anthony Cousin, John Wilkins, Nic Moore and Jon Ekey have each posted one. Trey Blue had a 20-point effort while playing at Fordham.
TOEING THE LINE
Illinois State Jackie Carmichael has made 122 free throws this season on 174 attempts, both of which lead the Redbirds. Carmichael's 122 charity tosses are the most made by a Redbird in a single season since Tarise Bryson converted 207 free throws during the 2000-01 campaign.
Junior John Wilkins bears the nickname "Frenchy" from his teammates, being born on French soil. Wilkins is also being called on to be the Redbird stopper this year by the ISU coaching staff. Boasting similar traits used to describe the "French Defence," Wilkins brings solidarity and resilience to the Redbird defensive game plan. Already this season, Wilkins has proven to be a challenge against some of the Valley's best.
IT'S ALL DEFENSE AND REBOUNDING
It sounds a little cliché, but for ISU it is a reality. When comparing the Redbirds' stats in wins and losses, the variances on defensive field goal percentage and rebounding margin is astounding. In victory, Illinois State is holding its opponents to 37.2 percent shooting, while losses have had Redbird foes shooting 47.6 percent. In wins, the Redbirds own a +8.0 rebounding margin, but have a -5.2 margin in defeat.
THE PROOF IS IN THE NUMBERS
Jackie Carmichael was named to the 2012 All-Missouri Valley Conference Second Team, despite putting up first-team type numbers, especially in league play. Carmichael is averaging 13.6 points and a league-best 9.4 rebounds this season, which is coincidently right in line with Dinma Odiakosa's numbers following the 2009-10 season. Odiakosa, who is the last Redbird post player to earn first-team all-league honors, averaged 12.8 points and 8.7 rebounds that season. In league play, Carmichael is averaging 13.2 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.
WHAT BROWN CAN DO FOR YOU
Valley All-Newcomer Team selection Tyler Brown can hit the outside shot. The junior college transfer paces Illinois State with 61 made three-pointers on the season. With five more makes, Brown would crack the top-10 for most threes in a season at Illinois State.
ON THE REBOUND
A lot has been made of Jackie Carmichael's rebound numbers this season. His 281 boards currently rank No. 17 on Illinois State's all-time single-season best list. With 25 more caroms, Carmichael would take over the No. 10 spot, which is really impressive since no Redbird has cracked the top-10 in single-season rebounding since the 1976-77 campaign.
When the Redbird defense is clicking, Illinois State has held 13 opponents this season to under 40 percent shooting, including seven Valley games, and four teams have shot under 30 percent.
BETTER THAN HALF
That's the chance of a Bryant Allen three-point field goal going in on the road. In eight-road contests this season, Allen is shooting 18-for-35 (.514) from three-point range. As a result, he is averaging 10.9 points per game in road contests.
DON'T LET THE NAME FOOL YOU
ISU has had six different players account for this season's starting lineup, yet none of them are from the state of Illinois. The 'Birds have started players from Kansas (Jackie Carmichael), Missouri (Jon Ekey), Alaska (Anthony Cousin), Indiana (Nic Moore), Kentucky (Tyler Brown) and France (John Wilkins).
ISU's Jon Ekey is elevating his game during league play. In non-conference games, Ekey averaged 4.1 rebounds per contest, but in Valley play, Ekey is collecting 5.5 boards per game. Ekey's Valley average is second on the team, only trailing Jackie Carmichael's 9.6 rebounds per contest.
JUST THE HALF OF IT
The fate of Illinois State's basketball team can pretty much be decided by only 20 minutes of play. In the Tim Jankovich-era, the Redbirds boast a 72-11 (.867) mark when leading at the half. In addition, ISU owns a 87-8 mark (.916) under Jankovich when leading with five minutes remaining in regulation.
THE NEXT BEST THING
Illinois State has a pair of players this season who were runner-up for Mr. Basketball in their respective home state. Junior Anthony Cousin was runner-up for Mr. Basketball in Alaska in 2008, while in 2011, Nic Moore was runner-up for Mr. Basketball in Indiana.
THAT 70's SHOW
ISU's success during the Tim Jankovich-era has been pretty much based on 70 points. When the Redbirds score 70 or more points, Illinois State owns a 56-15 record (.789) in his five seasons. When ISU opponent's score less than 70 points, the Redbirds are 85-30 (.739) during that span.
TWO GUARDS SIGN FOR 2012-13 SEASON
North Chicago High School point guard Aaron Simpson and Anthony Beane Jr., a product of Normal Community High School and the son of Illinois State assistant basketball coach Anthony Beane Sr., will continue their collegiate and basketball careers at Illinois State, after each signed National Letters of Intent (NLI) during the NCAA early signing period. Last season, Simpson averaged 22.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, while sinking 71 three-point field goals. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior also led North Chicago to a fourth-place finish at the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Class 3A State Tournament. Beane, who was named the 2011 Big 12 Conference Player of the Year, started the last two seasons at NCHS and averaged 14.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game last year. He led the Ironmen to a fourth-place finish at the IHSA Class 4A State Tournament.