UNI has defeated Illinois State eight straight times in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Redbirds are 0-6 all-time in the McLeod Center. ISU has not won at Northern Iowa since Jan. 28, 2004.
Head coach Dan Muller owned a 7-3 record against Northern Iowa as a player from 1994-98.
WHERE TO WATCH: ISU AT NORTHERN IOWA
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LAST MEETING: ISU OFFENSE STRUGGLES AS REDBIRDS FALL TO UNI, 70-60
NORMAL, Ill. (Jan. 5, 2013) - Illinois State's offense came into the game against Northern Iowa leading the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring, averaging 80 points per game, but the Redbirds (9-6, 0-3 MVC at the time) were held to their lowest scoring output of the season by the Panthers (8-7, 1-2 MVC) in a 70-60 loss on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. ISU was held to under 70 points for just the third time this season and shot 45.8 percent from the field. Jackie Carmichael led the Redbirds with his fifth double-double of the season, as he scored 19 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Tyler Brown finished with 12 points, but failed to make a three-pointer with a 0-for-6 effort from three-point range. Johnny Hill was the only other Redbird in double figures, with 10 points.
WIN, AND THE 'BIRDS ARE IN (AND OUT OF THURSDAY)
ISU controls its own destiny heading into Saturday night's regular-season finale. The Redbirds are attempting to finish in the top six of the Valley standings to avoid an MVC Tournament play-in game. Only 25 times in NCAA history has a team won four (or more) games to win its conference post-season tournament, so avoiding the play-in game is crucial. There are two scenarios in which ISU would finish No. 6:
- If Illinois State beats Northern Iowa
- If Illinois State loses to Northern Iowa AND Drake loses at home to Southern Illinois.
However, if ISU loses to Northern Iowa AND Drake beats Southern Illinois, the Bulldogs would earn the No. 6 seed, based on their higher non-conference strength of schedule, and Illinois State would be No. 7.
ARCH MADNESS MATCHUPS
Illinois State will enter next week's Missouri Valley Conference Tournament as either the No. 6 or No. 7 seed. With either an Illinois State win OR a Drake loss Saturday, the Redbirds will wrap up the No. 6 seed and face the No. 3 seed in the quarterfinals, Friday, March 8 at 8:30 p.m. Evansville, Indiana State and Northern Iowa are all potential quarterfinal opponents. The No. 3 seed will be determined based on:
- If the Panthers beat Illinois State, Northern Iowa would be the No. 3 seed.
- If UNI loses to Illinois State, the winner of the Indiana State at Evansville game would earn the No. 3 seed.
However, if Illinois State loses to Northern Iowa AND Drake beats Southern Illinois, the Redbirds would play No. 10 Southern Illinois in the opening round, Thursday, March 7 at 8:30 p.m.
A WIN AWAY FROM HISTORY
ISU started the conference season with an 0-6 mark. 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. ISU will need to win its regular-season finale to finish 9-9, which is what the Redbirds' league record was last season.
Redbird senior guard Tyler Brown enters Saturday's game with 981 points, which is just 19 away from 1,000. If Brown reaches the milestone, he will be just the third player in program history to reach 1,000 points in his first two seasons as a Redbird (467 as a junior, and 514 so far as a senior). Brown transferred to ISU from Marshaltown Community College. The only other two players to accomplish that feat were Doug Collins (743, 847) and Tarise Bryson (465, 578). Brown would also become the 41st member of the 1,000-point club, joining teammate Jackie Carmichael.
Redbird senior forward Jackie Carmichael earned his 34th-career double-double and 14th of the season during Illinois State's Senior Night win over Missouri State Wednesday night. He is in third place on the career double-doubles list, behind Jeff Wilkins (42) and Ron deVries (50). Carmichael is also the Valley's active leader for career double-doubles, followed by Doug McDermott of Creighton, and Carmichael's 14 double-doubles this season rank 11th in the nation.
TWO 35+ POINT GAMES
Tyler Brown tallied his second 35-plus point game of the season, with 35 points, in ISU's loss at Utah State (Feb. 23). Brown is the only player in the Missouri Valley Conference, and one of just eight players in the country, to net 35 or more points in two different games this season. He also accomplished the feat with 36 points in ISU's Nov. 24 loss to Northwestern.
OFFENSE EXPLODES AGAINST BEARS
After being held below 40 percent from the field in their previous three games, the Redbirds shot above 50 percent for the first time during the Valley season in Wednesday night's win over Missouri State, finishing with a 59.2 percent clip. It was ISU's best percentage since shooting 62.1 percent in the season-opener against UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 12). Also, with a 39-point advantage at the 3:52 mark of the second half versus MSU, the Redbirds matched their largest margin of the season.
Tyler Brown and Jackie Carmichael teamed up for the first ISU multi-player double-double this season in Illinois State's BracketBusters loss at Utah State Feb. 23. Brown grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds during his 35-point performance, while Carmichael collected 20 points and 10 rebounds. Two players each recorded double-doubles in the same game on three occasions last year, with it last occurring Jan. 28, 2012, when Carmichael and John Wilkins earned double-doubles against Southern Illinois.
CARMICHAEL A LOU HENSON AWARD FINALIST
ISU senior forward Jackie Carmichael is one of 25 national finalists for the 2013 Lou Henson Award, announced by CollegeInsider.com Monday. The award is presented annually to the top mid-major player in college basketball. Carmichael is currently averaging 17.8 points and a Missouri Valley Conference-best 9.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 69.9 percent at the free throw line.
BROWN MOVES TO "ELITE 8" OF DUNK CONTEST
Tyler Brown earned more fan votes than first-round competitor Tydran Beaty of Benedict College, allowing Brown to advance to the "Elite 8" of the "State Farm Dark Horse Dunker Competition." Fans must now cast their daily votes to help Brown win his way into the contest's Final Four, by voting online at: facebook.com/CollegeSlam. Second round voting ends next Monday, March 4, at noon CST.
THE DIFFERENCE IS DEFENSE
"Defense wins games" might be a cliché, but it is the truth when it comes to the ISU men's basketball team this season. During ISU's eight Valley victories, the Redbirds have held the opposition to 61.2 points per game, compared to the 76.8 points per game averaged during ISU's Valley losses (a difference of 15.6 points). Illinois State has also limited the opposition to 38.7 percent shooting in league wins, contrasted with a 46.3 percent clip allowed in conference losses (a 7.6 percent difference).
With 10 steals recorded during Illinois State's win over Missouri State on Feb. 27, the Redbirds improved to 8-0 this season when they record 10 or more steals in a game. It marked the third time that ISU has collected double-digit steals in a Missouri Valley Conference game this year.
Part of Illinois State's recent success can be attributed to success at the foul line. In Illinois State's eight Valley victories, the Redbirds have averaged 18.9 free throws on 25.1 attempts. In contrast, ISU averaged 12.9 free throws (a difference of 6.0) on 17.1 attempts (a difference of 8.0) 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 Feb. 20 was the second-fewest makes and attempts by ISU this season. ISU is now 13-2 this season when the Redbirds shoot more free throws than their opponent.
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 10 times. ISU is 10-0 when netting 80 or more.
CLIMBING THE HILL
Redbird sophomore guard Johnny Hill is Illinois State's most improved player this season. Hill has played in 30 games, including 23 starts, after playing in just 28 with no starts last season. He is averaging 7.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 24.8 minutes per game this year, compared to 2.0 points, 1.0 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 7.4 minutes per game last season (an increase of 5.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 17.4 minutes). Hill has scored in double-figures nine times, after only accomplishing that feat once last year, he has collected seven or more rebounds seven times this year compared to no times last season, and he is the only Redbird this season to collect 10 assists in a game.
CARMICHAEL 1 OF 12
Jackie Carmichael is one of just 12 players in MVC history with 1,500 career points and 900 career rebounds. He notched both milestones in ISU's game at Evansville on Feb. 20. Carmichael currently ranks ninth on the Illinois State career-points list, with 1,538 and fourth on the career-rebounding list, with 921. 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.
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 1,538-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 'BIRDS NEED BROWN
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 a team-best 21.3 points per game and 5.1 rebounds. He led ISU with 27 points in the win at No. 16 Creighton, Feb. 9.
JACKIE'S BLOCK PARTY
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Jackie Carmichael had two blocks Wednesday versus Missouri State to give him 191 for his career - that ranks seventh-best all-time in the MVC. Only two Valley players since 1991 have had more (Grant Stout of UNI-222 from 2003-07; and Randal Falker of SIU-195 from 2004-08).