This game is part of the South Padre Island Invitational. It is the second tournament matchup for both teams. Illinois State already faced and beat Delaware State, 87-48, on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. ISU will wrap up play in the tournament at South Padre Island, Texas for a game against UAB Nov. 23, followed by the finale versus either TCU or Northwestern Nov. 24. ISU's final game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
Illinois State has gone 16-3 at home dating back to last season, and the Redbirds have won eight of their last nine games played on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.
First-year head coach Dan Muller is 3-0, which matches the second-best start for a Redbird head coach in the NCAA Division I-era (1970-present). Former coach Tim Jankovich started 3-0 before his first loss, while Gene Smithson went 6-0, which is the best ISU D-I coaching debut in program history.
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 Nov. 12, 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.
ISU earned a rare road-opening victory at Drexel Nov. 15. With the win, the Redbirds have now won three of their last 13 road openers, and they hold a 16-28 record in Division I-era road openers.
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 FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON KNIGHTS
Fairleigh Dickinson is located in Teaneck, N.J., and has an enrollment of 6,051. The Knights compete at the NCAA Division I level and are members of the Northeast Conference.
The Knights return three starters from a team which finished 3-26 last season with a 2-16 NEC record. Returning starters for Fairleigh Dickinson include Melquan Bolding (6-3, 195, Sr.), Lonnie Robinson (6-5, 220, Sr.) and Kinu Rochford (6-6, 235, Sr.).
Fairleigh Dickinson was predicted to finish 11th in the MEAC.
The last time Illinois State played Fairleigh Dickinson, Redbird head coach Dan Muller was a sophomore, who scored 10 points in 20 minutes of action. ISU won, 79-58, on Dec. 9, 1995.
By beating Delaware State, 87-48, Nov. 18, Illinois State tallied its third-straight 80-plus performance this season, a feat that hasn't been done since the 1977-78 season, when the Redbirds opened up 4-0, scoring 90 or more points in all four of those contests. The win against the Hornets also marked the largest margin of victory since 2009, when ISU beat SEMO by 40 points. The Redbirds have now scored 80 or more points in five-consecutive games, dating back to the end of last season.
Three different Redbirds scored in double-figures (Tyler Brown (14), Jon Ekey (11) and Nick Zeisloft (11)), and all 12 players who appeared in the contest scored during Illinois State's win against Delaware State Nov. 18. It is the first time the entire team has contributed offensively since ISU's 78-48 win over Bradley Feb. 4, 2012. ISU also had five players score in double-figures at Drexel and four in double-figures versus UCSB.
THESE BIRDS CAN FLY!
If the first three games are 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 Nov. 12, 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. Against Delaware State Nov. 18, ISU out-scored the Hornets 27-4 off the fast-break, and the Redbirds went on a 27-4 run in the final 6:30 of the first half.
CARMICHAEL NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Redbird senior forward Jackie Carmichael is the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week, as announced by the league office Monday, Nov. 19. Carmichael set or tied a career high in four categories, including points (27), field goals (13), field goal attempts (20) and assists (3), in Illinois State's season-opening win against UC Santa Barbara Nov. 12, and he then led the Redbirds offensively with a 21-point performance during ISU's overtime win at Drexel Nov. 15. With Drexel leading, 75-73, Carmichael was fouled with 2.0 seconds remaining and proceeded to hit two pressure-packed free throws to send the game into overtime. The Valley Player of the Week award is the first for Illinois State since Carmichael won it Jan. 30, 2012. That was the lone player of the week honor awarded to the Redbirds last season.
ISU's Jackie Carmichael is tied with teammate Tyler Brown for second in the MVC with 18.7 points averaged. But Carmichael ranks among the nation's best in terms of points per game/per 40 minutes played. His 40-minute average would translate into 33.9 points -- that is No. 12 among all players nationally.
HAVE YOU SEEN KEANE?
True-freshman guard Kaza Keane has started all three games for Illinois State this season, and is averaging 4.3 assists per game, with 13 assists and only five turnovers. He is also averaging 5.3 points on 58 percent shooting from the field. In his first game as a college player, Keane dished a team-best five assists and scored five points versus UC Santa Barbara Nov. 12. During his first-ever road game at Drexel Nov. 15, Keane was credited with four assists, including an alley-oop to senior guard Tyler Brown, which was featured on ESPN's Top 10 Plays. He also netted four points and committed only one turnover to help the Redbirds beat the Dragons. Keane then scored a career-high with seven points to go with four assists and three steals during ISU's win over Delaware State Nov. 18.
KING OF THE HILL
Illinois State sophomore guard Johnny Hill averaged just 7.4 minutes with two points and one rebound per game last season. However, this season, Hill is proving to be a critical piece to the Redbird basketball puzzle. Hill has averaged 22.0 minutes over the first three games, and he scored a career-high 13 points in a career-best 28 minutes of play at Drexel Nov. 15. Hill's previous high was 11 versus Lipscomb Nov. 19, 2011. Not only did Hill score five key field goals against the Dragons, but he also made a key free throw late in overtime to secure the Redbird road win.
BEAT THE BEST TO BE THE BEST
The Redbirds earned a road victory against one of the highest preseason-rated mid-major programs in the nation Nov. 15, as ISU held off Drexel in overtime. The Dragons won the 2011-12 Colonial Athletic Association title and are favored to win it again this season. Drexel also received five votes in the preseason AP Top 25 Poll, and two points in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Dragons will make the return trip to Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena on Nov. 12, 2013. Illinois State has not received votes in either of the two polls since Jan. 2009, and the Redbirds have not been ranked since 1998.
DOUG THE JET
Doug Collins, the most decorated ISU men's basketball player in program history, cheered on the Redbirds from behind their bench at the Nov. 15 game at Drexel in Philadelphia. He has served as the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers since 2010. During his Redbird playing days, he 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.
THE REDBIRD QUINTET
In a balanced scoring effort, five Redbirds tallied double figures during the win over Drexel (Nov. 15). Jackie Carmichael (21), Tyler Brown (20), Johnny Hill (13) and Jon Ekey (10) became the first quintet to accomplish that feat since Dec. 2011. The Dragons also had five players with 10 or more points.
THIS IS SPORTSCENTER
Two Tyler Brown dunks from ISU's win over Drexel made ESPN's Top Plays list Nov. 15-16. No. 5 was an alley-oop dunk from Bryant Allen, and No. 4 was an alley-oop dunk from Kaza Keane.
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).