This is the first meeting between Illinois State and Morgan State.
THE MAGIC NUMBER IS 70
Illinois State's success this season has been based on 70 points. If the Redbirds reach 70, they win. If not, they lose. ISU is 6-0 when scoring 70 or more and 0-3 when scoring less than 70. In Redbird wins, ISU netted 100 versus UC Santa Barbara, 86 at Drexel, 87 against Delaware State, 91 versus Fairleigh Dickinson, 77 against UAB and 85 versus Western Michigan. In ISU losses, the Redbirds were held to 69 versus Northwestern, 66 at No. 5 Louisville and 67 against Wyoming. ISU is averaging 80.9 points per game.
FORCE TURNOVERS, WIN GAMES
The Redbirds are 6-0 this season when they force more turnovers than their opposition, and 0-3 when they commit more turnovers. This stat held true last week, as Illinois State fell to Wyoming after committing 20 turnovers compared to 14 by the Cowboys. ISU then beat Western Michigan after forcing 12 Bronco turnovers while ISU matched a season-low seven turnovers.
FIRST HALF FRENZY
Illinois State has dominated in the first half of nearly every game this season. The Redbirds have led at halftime in eight out of their first nine games, with the only exception being a 43-37 deficit at Drexel. ISU has outscored its opponents in the first half 354-to-266, which breaks down to a game average of 39.3 ISU first-half points compared to 29.6 opponent first-half points.
After suffering through a three-game losing streak, Illinois State bounced back with an 85-63 win against Western Michigan on Dec. 8, thanks in large part to ISU's dominant defense. The Redbirds teamed up to block 10 WMU shots, which tied ISU's single-game blocked shots record. Illinois State also had 10 blocks versus Evansville Feb. 2010 and against the Purple Aces Jan. 1979. ISU additionally recorded seven steals versus the Broncos, while Western Michigan was limited to two blocks and two steals.
CLOSING IN ON THE BLOCKS RECORD
With a career-high six blocked shots in the win over Western Michigan on Dec. 8, ISU senior forward Jackie Carmichael pulled within five blocks of the career blocked shots record. Carmichael now has 155 blocks, which puts him just five blocks away from tying the record of 160 set by Greg Dilligard, who played from 2003-07. Carmichael already has 23 blocks through the first nine games.
THE 700 CLUB
ISU forward Jackie Carmichael became one of just 11 Redbirds in program history to collect 700 or more rebounds. Carmichael grabbed his 700th board in the win against Western Michigan on Dec. 8. He now has 700 career rebounds and is tied with Hank Cornley for 10th on the career rebounding list.
Illinois State senior guard Tyler Brown ranks second in the Missouri Valley Conference with 19.2 points averaged per game, and he ranks first in the league with 2.9 three-pointers averaged per contest. Brown has scored double figures in eight out of nine games this season, with five 20-plus point performances. Over the last four games, he is averaging 24.0 points per contest. Brown scored a game-high 25 points in the loss at No. 5 Louisville on Dec. 1. He has been impressive in games vs. top-25 teams in his career, averaging 17.2 points in six total games.
THE FRENCH CONNECTION
Illinois State senior forward John Wilkins recorded his two best games of the season in ISU's last two matchups against Wyoming (Dec. 4) and Western Michigan (Dec. 8). The Antibes, France native netted 12 against Wyoming and 16 on a career-best seven field goals versus Western Michigan. In both contests, Wilkins hit two three-pointers. He is now averaging 5.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game this season.
At least three Redbirds have netted double-figures in seven of ISU's nine 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), three scored double-figures against UAB, (Nov. 23), three netted double-figures against Wyoming (Dec. 4) and three reached double-figures versus Western Michigan (Dec. 8). ISU is 6-1 when three or more players score in double-figures, and 0-2 when less than three net double-figures.
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 161-to-133 (1.2) assist to turnover ratio through the first nine games. ISU has teamed up for three 20-plus assists games this year, and sophomore Johnny Hill amassed a Redbird season-high 10 assists in the win over Western Michigan on Dec. 4.
THE B&C SCORING CO.
Illinois State senior guard Tyler Brown and senior forward Jackie Carmichael are scoring points like it is their job this season. Brown and Carmichael have both netted 20 or more points in the same game on three occasions this season, including against No. 5 Louisville on Dec. 1 (Brown: 25 points, Carmichael: 20 points). They have also both netted double-figure efforts in three additional games, meaning that Brown and Carmichael have both tallied 10 or more points in the same six-out-of-nine games this season.
THESE BIRDS CAN FLY!
If the first nine 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. The Redbirds went on a 17-4 run to begin the game at No. 5 Louisville (Dec. 1). With ISU and Wyoming tied, 21-21, in the first half, the Redbirds went on a 20-3 run to take a 41-24 lead (Dec. 4).