Quincy (89 votes) was predicted to finish third in the GLVC West Division Preseason Poll.
'BIRDS FLYING HIGH IN PRESEASON POLL
The Redbirds earned their highest Missouri Valley Conference preseason ranking since the 2001-02 season, as the Redbirds are picked to finish second in the league according to the 2012 Valley Preseason Poll. ISU senior forward Jackie Carmichael is also an MVC Preseason All-Conference selection. Creighton is the preseason-favorite, with 38 first-place votes, while ISU earned two first-place votes to rank No. 2.
IT'S MULLER TIME
The last time the Illinois State men's basketball team participated in the NCAA Tournament, Dan Muller was the leader on the floor. He hopes to repeat that accomplishment, this time from the sideline, as ISU's head coach. Muller was named the 19th men's basketball coach in school history May 8, 2012. Muller's basketball resume includes over a decade of basketball coaching experience, including the last 12 years as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt under former Illinois State head coach Kevin Stallings. As a player, Muller guided the Redbirds to two regular season and Valley Tournament championships and four postseason appearances, including trips to the NCAA Tournament in his final two seasons (1997 and 1998).
A NEW ERA
Along with a new coach, ISU also has a new floor, a new locker room and new uniforms. The floor is the first replacement since Redbird Arena opened in 1989. The 2,200 square-foot Franke Family Locker Room and Player Lounge features custom wood lockers, couches and TVs, a film room with theater seating and a team study space. The new Nike Hyper Elite Dri-FIT game jerseys feature mesh fabric for a lightweight fit.
BIG EXPECTATIONS FOR THE BIG MAN
Redbird forward Jackie Carmichael has received preseason publicity from numerous national publications. Not only is Carmichael a preseason All-Missouri Valley Conference selection, but he has also been named the eighth best rebounder in the country according to the ESPN.com Top 10 Rebounders list, the 30th best big man in the country according to the CBSSports.com Top 50 Big Men list, and the 79th best player in the country according to the CBSSports.com Top 100 Player list. Carmichael was the top rebounder in the Valley last year, with 9.7 boards averaged per game. He also led ISU with 13.9 points averaged per game.
RECORD BOOK, MEET Jackie Carmichael
As Jackie Carmichael begins his senior season, he is in a position to etch his name near the top of several categories in the Redbird record book. Carmichael is on pace to break the program-blocked shots mark. He begins the season with 132 blocks (tied for fourth place with Joe Galvin), and the record is 160. If he blocks as many shots as he did last season (50), he will surpass the old record, held by Greg Dilligard. He is also on pace to finish among the top-10 scorers, top-three rebounders and top-five free throw shooters.
WELCOME TO THE CLUB
Thanks to his 21-point effort at Stanford Mar. 19, 2012, Jackie Carmichael became the 40th member of Illinois State's 1,000-point scoring club. Carmichael now has 1,005 career-points to rank No. 40.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?
ISU guard Tyler Brown also earned some national hype by ranking No. 38 on the CBSSports.com Top 50 Shooters list. Brown averaged 13.7 points per game to rank second on the team in scoring. However, he saved some of his most significant contributions for late in the season, averaging a team-best 16 points per game at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, and 24.5 points per game during the two games of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) where he shot a combined 13-for-14 from three-point range.
ALLEN RECEIVES WAIVER; JONES TO REDSHIRT
Transfer guard Geoffrey Allen will be eligible to play during the 2012-13 men's basketball season based on a waiver granted by the NCAA. Allen will not be forced to miss a season of competition, despite transferring from Eastern Washington. The waiver was granted for two reasons. First, he left Eastern Washington following a coaching change. Second, after playing at Eastern Washington as a freshman during the 2010-11 season, he underwent shoulder surgery and did not play in 2011-12. Meanwhile, the NCAA ruled that forward John Jones has two years of playing eligibility remaining. He will redshirt during 2012-13.
A RETURN TO POSTSEASON
Illinois State, which became an NCAA Division I program prior to the 1970-71 season, enjoyed postseason play for the 18th time last season. The Redbirds have qualified for the NCAA Tournament six times (1983, 1984, 1985, 1990, 1997 and 1998) and the NIT 12 times (1977, 1978, 1980, 1987, 1988, 1995, 1996, 2001, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012).
FOUR OUT OF FIVE AIN'T BAD
By making the 2012 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) field, the Redbirds have earned postseason berths in four of last five seasons, all NIT bids. The last time ISU made four postseason bids in five years was in 1994-95 (NIT), 1995-96 (NIT), 1996-97 (NCAA) and 1997-98 (NCAA).
FIRST TIME SINCE '78
With Tyler Brown (23), Jackie Carmichael (21) and Nic Moore (25) each scoring more than 20 points during ISU's season-ending NIT loss at Stanford Mar. 19, 2012, it marked the first time three Redbirds have scored 20-plus points in a game since Derrick Mayes (21), Ron Jones (20) and Del Yarbrough (20) accomplished the feat against Southern Illinois, Dec. 6, 1978.
Seventeen of them to be exact! That was the number of three-point field goals Illinois State knocked down in the first round NIT game at Ole Miss on March 14, 2012. The Redbirds' 17 three-point makes tied the school record set on Feb. 14, 1996, at Drake. ISU's 17 threes were also the most ever made by a single team at Tad Smith Coliseum on the Ole Miss campus.
Not only did Illinois State make 17 three-pointers against Ole Miss on March 14, 2012, but the Redbirds did that in only 23 attempts. The 73.9 percent effort from three-point range was the best shooting percentage in ISU history from three, when making 10 or more treys. The Redbirds shot 73.3 percent (11-for-15) from three against Butler on Feb. 24, 1988, which was the old mark. ISU's three-point field percentage at Ole Miss also marked the fifth-best percentage from three in NCAA Division I basketball this season.