Dan Muller is coaching his first-ever Illinois State road game. He served as an assistant at Vanderbilt since 2001.
Muller became the 19th men's basketball coach in ISU history when he was hired May 8, 2012. Muller, a Percy Family Hall of Famer who helped the Redbirds to four-straight postseason appearances and a 91-37 record as a player from 1994-98, replaced Tim Jankovich, who resigned from ISU to accept a position at Southern Methodist.
Muller led Illinois State to a, 100-72, season-opening win against UC Santa Barbara Monday night, marking the largest offensive output in a Redbird opener since the 1997-98 season, where as a player, Muller helped ISU to a 101-66 season-opening victory against Oakland at Redbird Arena.
In the NCAA Division I-era (1970-present), first-year Redbird head coaches have now gone 6-3 in their openers, with the last four, Tom Richardson, Porter Moser, Tim Jankovich and Dan Muller, all winning their first games. Will Robinson and Gene Smithson also won their openers. Only two coaches, Smithson and Jankovich, have started 2-0, with Smithson beginning 6-0, which was the best start for an ISU Division I-era coach.
Associate Head Coach Dana Ford is also coaching his first ISU road game since playing at ISU from 2002-06.
In the NCAA Division I-era (1970-present), the Redbirds are 15-27 (.357) in road openers.
ISU has won just two of its last 12 road openers, falling at Fresno State, 55-47, in last year's first road game.
The Redbirds are playing their first game in the state of Pennsylvania since playing UC-Irvine, Pittsburgh and Hofstra at the University Hoops Classic in Moon Township, Pa., to begin the 2001-02 season.
Illinois State is in its 43rd season as a NCAA Division I program, and during that time, the Redbirds have only had eight losing seasons.
Illinois State earned a berth to a postseason tournament for the 18th time last season with a National Invitational Tournament bid, marking the 12th spot in the NIT field, including NIT berths in four of the last five seasons.
ABOUT THE DREXEL DRAGONS
Drexel is located in Philadelphia, Pa., and has an enrollment of 24,860. The Dragons compete at the NCAA Division I level and are members of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
The Dragons return four starters from a team which finished 29-7 last season and won the CAA with a 16-2 record. Drexel ultimately went 2-1 in the NIT. Returning starters for Drexel include Frantz Massenat (6-4, Jr., G), Daryl McCoy (6-9, Sr., F), Derrick Thomas (6-4, Sr., G) and Damion Lee (6-6, So., G)
Drexel was predicted to win the CAA.
BEAT THE BEST TO BE THE BEST
In an effort to strengthen Illinois State's schedule, first-year Illinois State head coach Dan Muller secured a home-and-home series with Drexel back in July 2012. The Dragons will make the return trip to Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena on Nov. 12, 2013. "To add Drexel, one of the best non-BCS schools in the country, to our schedule is another chance for our team to grow," Muller said. "It's an opportunity for our guys to play in an incredibly tough environment against a team that won 29 games last year and was very close to making the NCAA Tournament. Bruiser Flint is a heck of a coach with a veteran team, and I know (Drexel) will be a physically tough opponent." This is the first meeting between the two schools.
JETTING TO DOUG
Illinois State is not only playing in the city of brotherly love, but also in what has become Doug Collins country. Collins, the most decorated ISU men's basketball player in program history, has served as the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers since 2010. Collins, who was known as "Doug the Jet" during his Redbird playing days, was a consensus All-American in 1973 and the winner of the NCAA Top Five Athletes of 1973. He averaged 29.1 points in three seasons at ISU and is the program's all-time leading scorer (2,240 points).
Like Drexel, Illinois State features an experienced team, including four seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and just two freshmen - with only one true-freshman (Kaza Keane). ISU welcomes back four out of five starters from last year's team and returns 84.5 percent of offense (2,062/2,439), 92.4 percent of rebounding (1,135/1,229), 100 percent of shot blocking (118/118) and 69.1 percent of assists (317/459).
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).
'BIRDS FLYING HIGH IN PRESEASON POLL
Illinois State earned its 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.
The Redbirds rolled to a 100-72 season-opening win against UC Santa Barbara Nov. 12, marking the largest offensive output in an ISU opener since the 1997-98 season, where as a player, Dan Muller helped ISU to a 101-66 season-opening victory against Oakland at Redbird Arena. ISU's 51 second-half points marked the first 50-point half for the Redbirds since scoring 60 versus Missouri State in 2009. Additionally, ISU's 41 field goals signified the first 40-plus field goal game since the Redbirds tallied 44 against Southern Illinois in 1998. In the 115-year history of the program, Illinois State has compiled a 77-38 (.669) all-time record in season-opening games.
THESE BIRDS CAN FLY!
If the Nov. 12 season opener was any indication of what's to come, the 2012-13 Redbirds will maintain a high-energy, fast-paced tempo, which can lead to explosive scoring runs. During the first half against UC Santa Barbara, the game was tied, 6-6, before the Redbirds went on a 21-0 run over five-plus minutes to take a 27-6 advantage. ISU guard Tyler Brown contributed 12 points alone during the scoring stretch.
CARMICHAEL CONTROLS COURT
Forward Jackie Carmichael did not disappoint in ISU's season-opening win over UC Santa Barbara. The senior netted a career-high 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to record his 22nd career-double-double. Carmichael has now scored double figures in seven-straight games dating back to last season, and 47 total times throughout his career. He also tallied a career-best 13 field goals on 13-for-20 shooting.
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 1,032 career-points to rank No. 38.
HAVE YOU SEEN SPORTS ILLUSTRATED?
Sports Illustrated is profiling Jackie Carmichael as a Future Game Changer. A video featuring Carmichael is streaming on SI.com, and a two-page photo spread about Carmichael is appearing in the Sports Illustrated College Basketball Preview, available now. Sports Illustrated photographer Bill Frakes was on campus Oct. 29-30 to photograph and film Carmichael at Redbird Arena, the Karin Bone Athletic Study Center, the ISU quad and in front of the Normal Theater. Head coach Dan Muller and athletic trainer John Munn are also featured in the video.
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. Brown finished the Nov. 12 season-opener with 22 points, marking his eighth-career 20-plus point game.