The last and only meeting between Illinois State and Louisville occurred Mar. 4, 1974, at Freedom Hall, with Louisville winning, 117-107.
BACK-TO-BACK 30-POINT GAMES
Senior guard Tyler Brown and junior guard Bryant Allen each scored 30 or more points in back-to-back games last weekend at the South Padre Island Invitational in South Padre Island, Texas. Allen netted a career-high 30 points, on 9-for-15 shooting (60.0 percent), in Illinois State's win over UAB on Nov. 23. In doing so, he became the first Redbird since 2010 to score 30 points in a game. While it previously took two years between 30-point games, Brown accomplished the feat 24 hours after Allen, against Northwestern. He netted a career-high 36 points on 12-for-20 shooting (60.0 percent), which was the fourth-highest scoring output in the nation this season, and the most points scored by a Redbird since Tarise Bryson tallied 41 against Central Michigan on Dec. 3, 2000.
While Illinois State's offense is averaging a blistering 85.0 points per game this season, the Redbird defense is simultaneously stifling the competition. Opponents are averaging just 66.5 points per game, a +18.5 scoring margin. Illinois State has not allowed an opponent to shoot better than 50 percent from the field, and ISU has not been outshot by the opposition at any point this season. The Redbirds have also forced 110 turnovers compared to 84 turnovers of their own, a +4.3 margin. In the win over UAB on Nov. 23, ISU forced the Blazers to commit 27 turnovers, which marked the first time that an opponent has been charged with 25 or more turnovers since Missouri-St. Louis had 34 on Nov. 7, 2007.
The Illinois State bench has outscored opposing benches, 163-88, through the first six games this season. ISU's bench has only been outscored once, 11-8, during the win over UAB, Nov. 23. The Redbirds' most dominating bench performance occurred in the win over Fairleigh Dickinson on Nov. 20, when Illinois State finished with a 42-4 advantage over the Knights' bench.
Illinois State found itself ranked among some of the top teams in the nation when the NCAA released its first statistics report of the 2012-13 season. The Redbirds are 12th in points (510), 14th in points per game (85.4), 22nd in scoring margin (+18.5), 17th in field goal percentage (50.5) and 41st in three-point field goals per game (8.2). Additionally, ISU forward Jackie Carmichael ranks 31st with 2.5 blocks per game, point guard Kaza Keane ranks 33rd in the country with 5.8 assists per game, and Carmichael is 30th in the country with his two double-doubles this season.
THE ALLEN WRENCH
Junior Bryant Allen proved to be ISU's most useful tool Friday, Nov. 23, in the win over UAB. Allen netted a career-high 30 points and was credited with a career-best six steals. In doing so, he became the first Redbird since Dinma Odiakosa to score 30 points in a game. Odiakosa accomplished the feat Feb. 17, 2010, versus Missouri State. Allen also recorded the first five-plus steal effort since Anthony Cousin had five steals at Bradley, Feb. 26, 2011.
THEY SAY IT'S BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE
In the spirit of the holiday season, Illinois State is spreading the scoring cheer with a 110-to-84 (1.3) assist to turnover ratio through the first five games. ISU has teamed up for two 20-plus assists games this year, and freshman Kaza Keane amassed a Redbird season-high nine assists against Fairleigh Dickinson on Nov. 20, and versus Northwestern on Nov. 24.
By beating Fairleigh Dickinson, 91-58, Nov. 20, Illinois State tallied its fourth-straight 80-plus point performance this season, a feat that had not been done since the 1977-78 season, when the Redbirds opened up 4-0, scoring 80 or more points in all four of those contests. ISU had not scored 80-plus points in four consecutive games at any point during a season since a four-game stretch from Dec. 17 - Dec. 31, 2000. The Redbirds are now averaging 85.0 points per game and shooting 50.5 percent.
At least three Redbirds have netted double-figures in each of five of ISU's games this season. Four reached double-figures in the opener versus UC Santa Barbara (Nov. 12), five scored double-figures at Drexel, (Nov. 15), three tallied double-figures against Delaware State, (Nov. 18), four reached double-figures versus Fairleigh Dickinson, (Nov. 20), and three scored double-figures against UAB, (Nov. 23).
THESE BIRDS CAN FLY!
If the first six 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. Versus Fairleigh Dickinson (Nov. 20), ISU started the second half with a 20-1 run to establish a 71-38 advantage. Against UAB (Nov. 23), Illinois State used a 13-2 run to take its first lead after falling behind early in the first half.
CARMICHAEL MOVES INTO SECOND ON THE BLOCKED SHOTS LIST
With a season-best five blocked shots performance in the win over UAB Nov. 23, ISU senior forward Jackie Carmichael moved into second place on the career blocked shots list, with 145. He surpassed LeRoy Watkins, who had 143. With two blocks against Northwestern Nov. 24, Carmichael now has 147 blocks, which puts him 13 blocks away from tying the record of 160 set by Greg Dilligard, who played from 2003-07. Carmichael already has 15 blocks through the first six games.
HAVE YOU SEEN KEANE?
True-freshman guard Kaza Keane has started all six games at point guard for Illinois State this season, helping the Redbirds to a 5-1 record. During last week's three games, Keane helped guide ISU to a 2-1 mark, with a team-best 22 assists (7.3 per game), plus 10 rebounds, five steals and 11 points. He is now averaging a team-high 5.9 assists per game, plus 4.5 points and 2.7 rebounds per contest. Keane currently possesses a 35-to-15 assist-to-turnover ratio.