Illinois State Athletics will offer a free upper bowl game ticket to any World Vision Invitational game in exchange for donating a new or used basketball.
Nov. 26, 2008
NORMAL, Ill. -
After starting the season with a perfect 4-0 record, the Illinois State men's basketball team will make its home debut this weekend as the host of the World Vision Invitational. The three-day, round-robin tournament features Nicholls, Winston-Salem State, UC Santa Barbara and the Redbirds.
There are a number of activities and promotions surrounding the three days of basketball on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. To assist in the "Get Kids in the Game" program, which is coordinated by the event's title sponsor World Vision, Illinois State Athletics will offer a free upper bowl game ticket to any World Vision Invitational game in exchange for donating a new or used basketball.
The "Get Kids in the Game" program is an effort to obtain donations of basketballs for under-privileged children in the United States and around the world. More information about this program is available at www.worldvision.org/basketballs.
In addition to ticket specials, there will also be halftime performances during each of Illinois State's three games over the weekend. On Friday, during the Illinois State-Nicholls game, which tips off at 6 p.m., there will be a halftime performance by Dr. Lee Walden, "The Three-Point Doctor." Following that game, UC-Santa Barbara will face Winston-Salem State and that game will tipoff at 8:30 p.m.
On Saturday, ISU will host Winston-Salem State at 6 p.m. The halftime performance during the Redbird-Ram game will be Gymnastics Etc. After the ISU game, UC Santa Barbara will play Nicholls at 8:30 p.m.
Sunday will conclude the tournament as Winston-Salem State and Nicholls will play in the early game at 1 p.m. At 3:30 p.m., ISU will host UC Santa Barbara and Cheer Time USA will provide the halftime entertainment.
For more information or game tickets for any or all six games for the World Vision Invitational, please call the Redbird Arena Ticket Office at 309/438-8000, or visit GoRedbirds.com.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Senior transfer Champ Oguchi was named the SMU Tipoff Classic Most Valuable Player and the Missouri Valley Conference's Newcomer of the Week Monday. Entering the final game of the SMU tournament, against the host Mustangs, Oguchi ranked third on the team in scoring. However, after a career-best 28-point scoring night, which included an 8-for-11 effort from the field and a 6-for-8 performance on three-point field goals, Oguchi currently leads the team with 17.3 points per game. Oguchi also leads the team in made three-point field goals with 13.
Not only does this game kickoff the three-day World Vision Invitational on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena, but it also marks the first home game of the season for Illinois State. The Redbirds have started off the campaign with a 4-0 mark with each victory occurring away from Normal, Ill. This is the latest home-opener the Redbirds have had since the 1996-97 season, when Illinois State hosted and defeated Eastern Kentucky, 87-64, Nov. 30, 1996.
Tonight's game is the first meeting between the two schools.
Illinois State: Tim Jankovich (Kansas State, 1982) is 131-81 (.618) in his eighth season as a head coach, and 29-10 (.744) starting his second season with the Redbirds. At Illinois State, Jankovich is 13-5 against the Missouri Valley Conference, 16-5 versus non-conference opponents, 16-2 at home, 9-5 on the road, 4-3 on a neutral court, 1-1 in postseason play and he is 2-4 all-time against Nicholls.
Nicholls: J.P Piper (Southeastern Louisiana, 1991) is in his fifth season at Nicholls and owns a 34-83 (.291) record with the Colonels, his only head coaching position.
THE PROGRAM Illinois State is entering its 39th season as a NCAA Division I program, and during that time, the Redbirds have only had seven losing seasons.
The Redbirds have made 16 postseason appearances, including last season with a National Invitational Tournament berth.
In 2007-08, Illinois State tied the school record for wins in a season, as the Redbirds posted a 25-10 overall mark.
The 25 victories in 2007-08 under Tim Jankovich were the most ever by a first-year head basketball coach at Illinois State.
ABOUT NICHOLLS Nicholls is located in Thibodaux, La., and has an enrollment of 6,814. The Colonels are members of the Southland Conference.
The Colonels return four starters from a team that finished 10-21 last season.
Nicholls was picked to finish fifth in the East Division by Southland head basketball coaches, and sixth by the league's sports information directors. Senior Ryan Bathie was the lone Colonel named to the Southland Conference's Preseason Team and he received second-team accolades.
Prior to the World Vision Invitational, the Colonels suffered a two-point defeat, 72-70, at Tulane. The deciding points for the Green Wave were converted by former Illinois State guard Eric Vianney with a pair of game-winning free throws.
FOR (HOME) OPENERS
Since the first full season in Redbird Arena (1989-90), Illinois State owns a 12-7 record in home openers. Head coach Tim Jankovich is 1-0 in his lone home opener with a 70-37 victory over Missouri St. Louis last season. The Redbirds have won five-straight home openers.
IN-SEASON MEDIA CONFERENCES
Illinois State Athletics Media Relations will host seven in-season media conferences during the 2008-09 season. Each conference will feature head coach Tim Jankovich and a member of the Redbird basketball team. The media conferences will start at 1 p.m., and be held in the Redbird Arena Media Room, which is just off the southwest loading dock. The scheduled dates are: Dec. 18, Jan. 5, Jan. 23, Jan. 29, Feb. 23 and March 3.
Teleconferences with The Valley head coaches will be conducted each Tuesday throughout the season. The first teleconference is slated for Dec. 16, followed by every Tuesday from Jan. 6 to March 6. The conferences begin at 10 a.m. CT. To participate in the conference calls, call 913.981.5517. Illinois State head coach Tim Jankovich will participate at 10:30 a.m.
Since his arrival to Illinois State, head coach Tim Jankovich and the Redbirds are 16-5 in non-conference games.
START ME UP
Illinois State's starters are accounting for 80.4 percent of the offensive output so far this season. In the first four games, the Redbird starters have had 19 double-digit scoring efforts. ISU's starting five each posted double-digit points in the wins against Wright State, Houston Baptist and SMU, while senior guard Emmanuel Holloway fell two points shy of duplicating the feat against Alabama State.
EVERYTHING IS FINE FROM THE LINE
Through the first four games, the Illinois State basketball team is enjoying an 18.6 percent increase in free throw percentage from last season's team. ISU is shooting 81.8 percent from the line and at this pace, the Redbirds would set the school standard for free throw percentage in a season, breaking the old mark by 4.3 percent.
JUST IMAGINE ...
If the three-point line was not moved back a foot. Through four games, the Redbirds are averaging 11.5 made three-pointers per game, which is 4.2 more threes per contest than last season. Also, ISU is shooting 43.8 percent from beyond the arc this season, after shooting 37.2 percent last year. In four games this season, the Redbirds have already made double-digit three-pointers in three games. In 2007-08, ISU had five games in which it made 10 or more threes in a game.
GOING FOR BACK-TO-BACK
By claiming the SMU Tipoff Classic championship, the Redbirds won their first regular-season tournament title since the 1998 Hawaii-Pacific Shootout. Now serving as the host of the 2008 World Vision Invitational, Illinois State has the opportunity to claim two regular-season tournament titles in the same season. The last time the Redbirds did that was during the 1984-85 season when ISU won both the American Savings Classic in Stockton, Calif., and the Fleet Classic in Providence, R.I.
HOME SWEET HOME
Illinois State enters its 21st season of basketball action on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. The Redbirds notched a 16-2 home record last season, which were three more victories than the previous best for a season. ISU owns a 200-78 all-time record on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena, and boasts a 71.9 percent winning percentage.
THE DOUBLE-DIGIT FIVE
No, it's not a do-wap group that never it made it big. Instead, it's the Illinois State starting lineup. All five starters for the Redbirds are averaging double-figure points for the season. ISU has not had each member of its starting lineup average double-digit points since the 1977-78 season.
After four games, Illinois State's two leading rebounders aren't post players, instead they are members of the Redbird backcourt. Senior Champ Oguchi leads the team with 29 boards this season, while junior Osiris Eldridge is tied for second on the team with 23 caroms. In ISU's NCAA Division I era (1970-present), the Redbirds have never had two guards lead the team in rebounding.
EXPANDING THE HORIZON
For the third time this season Illinois State will face a team for the first time when the Redbirds host Nicholls Friday night. The Redbirds met Alabama State and Houston Baptist for the first time on the hardwood earlier this season, and ISU's game against Wright State was only the second meeting between the two schools after beginning that series history in 2007-08 with the ESPNU BracketBusters matchup.
EIGHT IS ENOUGH
At least that's what Houston Baptist was saying as the Redbirds had eight players score in double-figures. The eight double-digit scorers is the most by Illinois State in a single-game in the NCAA Division I-era (1970-present). Osiris Eldridge led the way with 16 points, while Emmanuel Holloway (15), Landon Shipley (14), Brandon Sampay (12), Lloyd Phillips (11), Champ Oguchi (11), Dinma Odiakosa (11) and Brandon Holtz (11) each scored 10 or more points in the game.
For the first time in 10 years, the Redbirds scored 100 or more points in a single game. Illinois State downed Houston Baptist, 107-70, and scored 107 points for the first time since the Redbirds defeated South Alabama, 107-82, Feb. 19, 1977.
THE HOST WITH THE MOST
ISU is hosting its first regular-season tournament since the 1979-80 season. Back then, ISU hosted US International, Lamar and Northern Illinois in the Illinois State Holiday Festival. The Redbirds won the event.
O, SHALL HE STEAL
It has been an unofficial commandment of Illinois State basketball since his arrival, and Osiris Eldridge is back at it again this year. Eldridge tied his career-best with six steals against Houston Baptist last Saturday night and leads the Redbirds with nine steals on the season. He now has 88 in his ISU career, which ranks tied for No. 22 in the Redbird record books with Randy Rice.
Even though the Redbirds have started a four-guard offense in all four games this season, it hasn't affected Illinois State's rebounding effort. In fact, in every game, the Redbirds have won the battle of the boards. On the season, ISU is boasting a +8.0 rebounding advantage.
After being named the Valley's Preseason Player of the Year, junior Osiris Eldridge appears to have an inside track to join a select group. Eldridge won the conference's freshman of the year award in 2007. If he ends his Illinois State career with the Larry Bird MVC Player of the Year Award, which he finished runner-up for last season, Eldridge would become only the second player in league history to win both the freshman of the year and player of the year award, joining Southern Illinois' Ashraf Amaya.
270 GAMES WITH A TREY
After sinking 13 three-pointers in the victory at SMU, ISU enters tonight's game against Nicholls with at least one made three in 270-straight games. The last time ISU didn't sink a trey was an 82-43 loss at Creighton Dec. 12, 1999.
BACK ON TRACK
With the 25-10 overall record in 2007-08, the Redbirds ended a string of two-straight losing seasons. Non-winning seasons are not common around Illinois State basketball. In the 37 years of being an NCAA Division I program, the Redbirds have had just seven losing seasons.
COURTING THE 1,000-POINT CLUB
If he stays at last season's scoring pace (15.8 points per game), Illinois State junior Osiris Eldridge should become the 39th member of the Redbirds' 1,000-point club against Morehead State (Dec. 14). Eldridge now has 908 career points and needs only 92 tallies to join the club. He would be the first addition since 2005, when Gregg Alexander, Vince Greene and Trey Guidry became members.
BEING THANKFUL FOR THE WINS
In 111 years of Redbird basketball, Illinois State owns a 59-33 (.641) record in the month of November. The Redbirds posted a 4-2 mark in the 11th month last season. ISU will play a total of seven games this season in the month of November, but has already defeated Wright State (69-61), Alabama State (77-71), Houston Baptist (107-70) and SMU (84-73).
Head coach Tim Jankovich's first season at Illinois State was a memorable one, not only for him, but for the program. With a 25-10 record, Jankovich guided the Redbirds to a school-record-tying 25 wins and he posted the most single-season wins for a first-year coach in program history. Currently he holds a 74.4 percent winning percentage (29-10) at Illinois State, which ranks fourth on the all-time coaching ledger in ISU's 111-year history.
THE BIG 5 AND 0
With a victory over Nicholls, Illinois State would open the season with a perfect 5-0 record. The last time ISU won its first five games of the season was in 1982-83, when the Redbirds won their first six games of the campaign.
Newcomers Champ Oguchi and Lloyd Phillips are putting up some early numbers. So many numbers in fact, that both Oguchi and Phillips have each scored in double-figures in all four games this season. Oguchi leads the team with 17.3 points per game, while Phillips is third, averaging 12.3 per contest.