Head coach Dan Muller owned a 7-3 record against Northern Iowa as a player from 1994-98.
WHERE TO WATCH: No. 6 ISU VS. No. 3 NORTHERN IOWA
Fox Sports Midwest (Valley-TV): Comcast Ch. 57, DirecTV Ch. 671, Dish Ch. 418, AT&T U-Verse Ch. 748
ESPN3.com (outside the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska)
LAST MEETING: REDBIRDS FALL AT UNI; STILL CLINCH NO. 6 SEED
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (March 2, 2013) - Even though Illinois State lost its regular-season finale, 80-72, Saturday night at Northern Iowa, the Redbirds still clinched the No. 6 seed in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, thanks to Southern Illinois' victory at Drake. ISU (17-14, 8-10 MVC) avoided the play-in game, and will face No. 3 Northern Iowa (18-13, 11-7 MVC) again in the tournament quarterfinals, Friday, March 8, at 8:35 p.m. Tyler Brown became the 41st member of Illinois State's 1,000-point club, as the senior guard finished with a game-high 28 points against the Panthers. Johnny Hill also reached double-figures, with 14 points, while Brown grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Jackie Carmichael was plagued by foul trouble and limited to five points and six rebounds. Northern Iowa featured four players in double-figures, including Anthony James, who netted a team-best 19 points. Seth Tuttle and Jake Koch each contributed double-doubles in the winning effort. The Redbirds shot 50 percent from the field, but were outrebounded, 42-26. The Panthers also attempted 15 more free throws than ISU.
THE QUARTERS PAY OFF
In previous tournaments, Illinois State has fared well in the quarterfinals. The Redbirds boast a 20-7 (.741) record when playing in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
IT'S MULLER TIME
The last time the Illinois State men's basketball team won the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, Dan Muller was a senior leader on the floor. He hopes to repeat that accomplishment, this time as the head coach. Muller was 8-2 in the Valley Tournament as a player, with Illinois State winning the championship during his junior and senior years, in 1997 and 1998. In his first two seasons, as a freshman and sophomore, the Redbirds won their quarterfinal matchups before falling in the semifinals.
CARMICHAEL'S LAST CHANCE
Senior forward Jackie Carmichael is the only Redbird participating in his fourth Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. Carmichael, along with three other seniors, has one last shot at a Valley Tournament title. The Manhattan, Kan., native has started five out of six tournament games, averaging 12.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks. Carmichael has also shot 50.0 percent (23-for-46) from the field. His five blocks and 15 rebounds in ISU's quarterfinal win last year against Northern Iowa (March 2, 2012) both rank No. 1 in their respective Illinois State single-game tournament categories. Carmichael averaged a double-double of 15.0 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks during ISU's three-game run in last season's Valley Tournament, for which he was named an All-Tournament Team selection.
CLOSE, BUT NO TITLE
No other team has made it to the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship game more times in the past five years than Illinois State. However, in ISU's three championship-game appearances during the five-year span, the Redbirds have not taken home the title. Illinois State has come close, dropping two final games in overtime, including last year's 83-79 loss to Creighton. The Redbirds' last Valley Tournament title came in 1998, with a win against Missouri State.
After starting 0-6 in the Missouri Valley Conference, the Redbirds bounced back to finish in sixth place with an 8-10 league record. Three individuals were also recognized for their efforts this season, including Jackie Carmichael, Tyler Brown and Johnny Hill. Carmichael received first-team and all-defensive team recognition, and Brown garnered second-team accolades. Hill was named a member of the most-improved team. Carmichael and Brown teamed up to become the first all-conference ISU duo since 2010.
Senior guard Tyler Brown will try to stay hot in downtown St. Louis, after finishing the regular season on a scoring tear. Brown started the Valley season with a modest 9.5 points averaged during the first four games. But, after being held scoreless at Missouri State (Jan. 8), Brown bounced back to more-than double his productivity to average 21.2 points per game during the remaining 14 contests. During that span, Brown tallied nine 20-plus point performances, with 11-consecutive double-figure efforts, dating back to Jan. 26.
JOINING THE 1,000-POINT CLUB
Senior guard Tyler Brown became the 41st member of Illinois State's 1,000-point club, as he finished with a game-high 28 points against the Northern Iowa Saturday night. He is also just the third player in program history to reach 1,000 points in his first two seasons as a Redbird, after transferring to ISU from Marshalltown Community College (467 points as a junior and 542 points as a senior). The only other two players to accomplish that feat were Doug Collins (743, 847) and Tarise Bryson (465, 578). Brown joins teammate Jackie Carmichael on the list, who currently ranks eighth in scoring,with 1,543 points.
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 (Feb. 27). He is in third place on the ISU 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 13th 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 the Feb. 27 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, when Carmichael and John Wilkins earned double-doubles against Southern Illinois.
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 75.4 points per game averaged during ISU's Valley losses (a difference of 14.2 points). Illinois State has also limited the opposition to 38.7 percent shooting in league wins, contrasted with a 45.6 percent clip allowed in conference losses (a 6.9 percent difference).
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 13.3 free throws (a difference of 5.6) on 17.4 attempts (a difference of 7.7) during the Redbirds' 10 conference losses. Illinois State made a season-high 32 charity shots on 36 attempts in the win at Drake 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 Feb. 17. The Redbirds' 5-for-7 free throw effort at Evansville 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.
With 10 steals recorded during Illinois State's win over Missouri State (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.
CLIMBING THE HILL
Redbird sophomore guard Johnny Hill is Illinois State's most improved player this season. As a result, he was named to the Valley's Most-Improved Team. Hill has played in 31 games, including 24 starts, after playing in just 28 games with no starts last season. This year, he is averaging 7.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 25.0 minutes per game, compared to 2.0 points, 1.0 rebound and 0.5 assists in 7.4 minutes per game last season (an increase of 5.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.2 steals and 17.6 minutes).
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 Feb. 20. Carmichael currently ranks ninth on the Illinois State career-points list, with 1,543, and fourth on the career-rebounding list with 927. 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.
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. The award is presented annually to the top mid-major player in college basketball. Carmichael is currently averaging 17.4 points and a Missouri Valley Conference-best 9.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 52.8 percent from the field and 69.2 percent at the free throw line.
BROWN MOVES TO "FINAL FOUR" OF DUNK CONTEST
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Redbird senior guard Tyler Brown won his way into the "Final Four" of the State Farm Dark Horse Dunker Competition, after edging "Elite 8" competitor Ra'Shad James of Northwood Monday. Fans must now cast their daily votes to help Brown win his way into the contest's championship round, with voting ending next Monday, March 11, at noon CST. The winner of the entire contest will participate in the Denny's Slam Dunk Competition at the State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships in Atlanta, April 4 at 6 p.m. CST, on ESPN. Brown is now facing Stephen F. Austin's Hal Bateman.