Austin Peay head coach Dave Loos is the only Division I head basketball coach who also serves as his respective school's athletic director.
BEATING THE BEST TO BE THE BEST
When Illinois State head coach Dan Muller was first hired in May of 2012, he vowed to improve the Redbirds' non-conference strength of schedule to better prepare ISU for the challenging Missouri Valley Conference. The Redbirds not only gained valuable experience, but also a winning record against added quality road opponents, Drexel, No. 5 Louisville and Dayton. The Redbirds went 2-1 against the three teams, with an 86-84 overtime win at Drexel (Nov. 15), a 69-66 loss at No. 5 Louisville (Dec. 1) and a 74-73 win at Dayton on Wednesday night (Dec. 19).
DEFENDING THE NEST
With Illinois State's 87-68 win against Morgan State last Sunday afternoon, the Redbirds are now 5-1 at home this season and 20-4 over their last 24 games played on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. This year, ISU is out-scoring its opponents at home, 517-to-390, a +21.2 scoring margin. ISU is averaging a blistering 86.2 points per game at Redbird Arena, compared to 65.0 averaged by the visiting opposition.
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 8-0 when scoring 70 or more and 0-3 when scoring less than 70.
THREE BLOCKS AWAY FROM THE RECORD
With two more blocked shots in the win at Dayton Wednesday night, ISU senior forward Jackie Carmichael pulled within three blocks of the career-blocked shots record. Carmichael now has 157 blocks, which puts him just three blocks away from tying the record of 160 set by Greg Dilligard, who played from 2003-07. Carmichael already has 25 blocks through the first 11 games.
FIRST HALF FRENZY
Illinois State has dominated in the first half of nearly every game this season. The Redbirds have led at halftime in 10 out of their first 11 games, with the only exception being a 43-37 deficit at Drexel. ISU has outscored its opponents in the first half 490-to-364, which breaks down to a game average of 44.5 ISU first-half points compared to 33.1 opponent first-half points.
KING OF THE HILL
Sophomore guard Johnny Hill, who averaged just 7.4 minutes per game last season, has been a vital part of ISU's success this year. After point guard Kaza Keane was sidelined with an ankle injury, Hill stepped up to make his first three career starts, and over the last five games, he has led ISU with 31 assists (6.2 per game), nine steals (1.8 per game) and an average of 6.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest.
Senior forward Jackie Carmichael's career-high 30-point performance in Illinois State's win over Morgan State Sunday afternoon marked the third time a Redbird has scored 30 or more points in a single game so far this season. The other 30-plus point efforts were from Bryant Allen (30 points versus UAB on Nov. 23) and Tyler Brown (36 points versus Northwestern on Nov. 24). Illinois State is the only program in the country which has had three different players score 30 or more points this season.
FORCE TURNOVERS, WIN GAMES
The Redbirds are 7-1 this season when they force more turnovers than their opposition, and 1-3 when they commit more turnovers. The Redbirds won their first game with more turnovers than their opponent Wednesday in the victory at Dayton.
THE 700 CLUB
ISU forward Jackie Carmichael is 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 721 career rebounds and ranks 10th on the career rebounding list. He is also a 1,000-point club member.
Illinois State senior guard Tyler Brown ranks third in the Missouri Valley Conference with 17.4 points averaged per game, and he ranks third in the league with 2.5 three-pointers averaged per contest. Brown has scored double figures in nine out of 11 games this season, with five 20-plus point performances. He scored 16 points in the win at Dayton on Wednesday night.
THE FRENCH CONNECTION
Illinois State senior forward John Wilkins recorded his two best games of the season in ISU's 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 also scored seven points in Sunday's win over Morgan State, and Wilkins is averaging 5.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game this season.
At least three Redbirds have netted double-figures in nine of ISU's 11 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), three reached double-figures versus Western Michigan (Dec. 8), three scored double-figures against Morgan State (Dec. 16) and three netted double figures at Dayton (Dec. 19). ISU is 8-1 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 199-to-170 (1.2) assist to turnover ratio through the first 11 games. ISU has teamed up for four 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.