Illinois State Opens Valley Play; Hosts UNI

Dec. 28, 2011

 Illinois State vs. Northern Iowa | Normal, Ill.
 Date  Thursday, Dec. 29
 Normal, Ill.
 7:05 p.m. CT
 Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena
 Radio  WJBC 1230 AM, FM 93.7 (Dick Luedke - Play-by-Play | Mike Matthews - Analyst)
 Watch  Redbird All-Access
 Live Stats  GameTracker
 Game Notes  Illinois State Notes


  • Illinois State has fared extremely well in December Missouri Valley Conference games under head coach Tim Jankovich. The Redbirds are 4-1 against the league in the month of December, with wins over Creighton (2007-08), Missouri State (2008-09), Evansville (2008-09) and Wichita State (2009-10).
  • Since joining the Valley in 1981-82, the Redbirds are 14-16 in league openers, but under Jankovich the Redbirds are 3-1 in league openers.
  • Also under Jankovich, the Redbirds are 7-1 in games surrounding the Christmas holiday break.
  • The Redbirds have not defeated UNI since March 8, 2008 in the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. The last Redbird win on Doug Collins Court occurred on Jan. 8, 2008.
  • Only six players on the Illinois State roster have ever played in a Missouri Valley Conference game - Trey Blue, Jackie Carmichael, Anthony Cousin, Jon Ekey, Zeke Upshaw and John Wilkins.
  • Tyler Brown (23) and Nic Moore (17) each posted career-high scoring totals in the last ISU outing.
  • Redshirt freshman Jordan Threloff has averaged 10.5 rebounds per game over the last two outings.
  • Illinois State's success this season has been based on 60 points. If the Redbirds reach 60, they win. If not, they lose. ISU is 8-0 when scoring 60 or more and 0-3 when scoring less.
  • Head coach Tim Jankovich owns a 44-37 record (.543) against members of the Missouri Valley Conference during his time with the Redbirds, including a 39-33 (.542) mark in the regular season.
  • Illinois State is in its 42nd season as a NCAA Division I program, and during that time, the Redbirds have only had eight losing seasons.
  • Jankovich is the first coach in league history to lead his team to back-to-back Valley (@MVCSports) Tournament title games in his first two seasons.
  • The Redbirds have made 17 postseason appearances, including NIT berths in three of the last four seasons.


  • Northern Iowa is located in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and has an enrollment of 13,201. The Panthers are members of the Missouri Valley Conference. The Panthers were projected to finish fourth in the Valley, according to the league's preseason poll.
  • The Panthers return three starters from a team which finished 20-14 last season and advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIT before falling to SMU, 57-50.
  • Junior guard Anthony James was named to the Preseason All-Valley Honorable Mention Team. James leads the Panthers in scoring with 13.7 points per game and he enters the contest with eight-straight double-digit scoring efforts.

    Illinois State has only played seven home games this season, but the Redbirds have already rewrote several records in the 24-year-old facility. Some of the new standards include:

  • Defensive Field Goal Percentage - Illinois State opened the season against SIU Edwardsville and held the Cougars to 25.5 percent shooting, but on Dec. 18 the Redbirds topped that mark by limiting Norfolk State to a 21.7 shooting clip.
  • Field Goals Allowed - In addition to holding Norfolk State to an arena low field goal percentage, the Redbirds also limited the Spartans to a Redbird Arena record 10 made field goals.
  • ISU Field Goal Percentage - The Redbirds shot a school record 63.9 percent (27-for-42) from the field in the facility in the win over Bethune-Cookman.
  • Margin of Victory - Illinois State defeated Chicago State, 85-41, and the 44-point win was the most-lopsided Redbird win in arena history.
  • Made Three-Point Field Goals - Against Chicago State, Illinois State tied the arena record with 14 made three-point field goals.
  • Three-Point Field Goal Attempts - The Redbirds attempted 38 threes against Chicago State, tying the arena record.
  • Individual Free Throw Makes - Jackie Carmichael sank 14 free throws against Norfolk State.
  • Individual Free Throw Percentage - Carmichael set the record with a 14-for-14 effort versus Norfolk St.

    Last Meeting
    Illinois State
    Northern Iowa
    Feb. 2, 2011
    UNI's Threes Sink Illinois State, 53-51
    It was a game of runs Wednesday night at the McLeod Center between Illinois State and Northern Iowa, but it came down to free throws down the stretch, as the Panthers sank 5-of-6 in the final 33 seconds to secure a 53-51 win over the Redbirds.

    Following the 68-36 win over Norfolk State, head coach Tim Jankovich announced in his postgame media conference that the team will start having a rotation for the starting five among six players. Those six players - Tyler Brown, Jackie Carmichael, Anthony Cousin, Jon Ekey, Nic Moore and John Wilkins - have accounted for all the starts this season and a combination of five will be selected each game.

    ISU has had six different players account for this season's starting lineup, yet none of them are from the state of Illinois. The 'Birds have started players from Kansas (Jackie Carmichael), Missouri (Jon Ekey), Alaska (Anthony Cousin), Indiana (Nic Moore), Kentucky (Tyler Brown) and France (John Wilkins).

    In preparation of the January issue of the Redbird Magazine, junior Jackie Carmichael was asked for his New Year's resolution. He didn't hesitate on his answer - "average double-digit rebounds." He enters the game with 8.2 boards per game and is knocking on the door. He has already grabbed eight or more rebounds in seven games this season and has collected three double-digit boarding totals.

    With Christmas approaching, it was only appropriate for Jordan Threloff to have his most-decorated game in an Illinois State uniform. Threloff posted his first career double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds against Norfolk State. He followed that effort with eight more boards against UALR on Dec. 20.

    Illinois State is averaging 8.7 made three-pointers per game this season, which is second-best in the Missouri Valley Conference this season. The Redbirds are also No. 26 nationally in treys per game. In the Tim Jankovich-era, the Redbirds have made 994 threes, or 6.9 treys per game.

    Eight times this season Illinois State has outshot its opponent and all eight games have resulted in victories, while the Redbirds' three losses have all come in games when they had a lower shooting percentage. Under Tim Jankovich, the Redbirds are 71-17 (.807) when outshooting their opponent.

    Illinois State enters the Northern Iowa game with at least one made three in 375-straight games. The last time ISU didn't sink a trey was an 82-43 loss at Creighton, Dec. 12, 1999.

    Junior college transfer Tyler Brown has made at least one three-pointer in each of the last nine games and is leading the team with 28 made threes and a 48.3 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. Brown leads the Valley with 2.8 made three-point field goals per contest, and ranks No. 45 nationally. He is also coming off his career-best scoring effort with 23 points against UALR on Dec. 20.

    Junior Jackie Carmichael collected his eighth career double-double and his second-straight with 17 points and 10 rebounds at Morehead State. As a result, Carmichael enters the game leading the Redbirds in both categories with 13.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

    The fate of Illinois State's basketball team can pretty much be decided by only 20 minutes of play. In the Tim Jankovich-era, the Redbirds boast a 68-10 (.872) mark when leading at the half. In addition, ISU owns a 82-7 mark (.921) under Jankovich when leading with five minutes remaining in regulation.

    It's early, but Illinois State has already held opponents to single-game point totals of 36, 38, 41, 51 and 55. As a result, Redbird foes are only averaging 56.8 points scored, which is the top scoring defense in the Missouri Valley Conference and No. 14 nationally. If this pace were to continue, it would top the school mark of 59.1 points per game allowed which was set during the 2005-06 season.

    Heading into the Illinois game, junior Anthony Cousin had totaled nine assists and 14 turnovers on the season for a 0.64 assist-to-turnover ratio. However, after an eight assist effort against the Fighting Illini without a single turnover, Cousin has come full circle and has 28 assists over the last seven games with only seven turnovers, for a 4.00 assist-to-turnover ratio during that span.

    For the fifth time on the season, and the fifth time in seven games, Illinois State dropped in at least 10 three-point field goals after making 10 treys against UALR. The feat continues to shatter the number of double-digit three-point games the Redbirds had last season, which was two.

    Last season, sophomore Jon Ekey posted two double-digit scoring efforts throughout the whole season. Already this year, Ekey has collected seven double-figure performances which included a six-game streak in which he scored 10 or more points in each of the games.

    Tyler Brown has been sinking treys this season at a mad clip. He's shooting 48.3 percent from beyond the arc, while sinking 28-for-58 on threes. As a result, Brown ranks No. 12 nationally in three-point field goal percentage, among players who are averaging at least 2.5 made threes per game.

    ISU has six players on the roster who have scored at least 20 points in an NCAA Division I game. Jackie Carmichael has six 20-point efforts in his career, including two this season, while Anthony Cousin, John Wilkins, Tyler Brown and Jon Ekey have each posted one 20-point game. Trey Blue had a 20-point effort while playing at Fordham.

    Illinois State enters its 24th season of basketball action on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. Under head coach Tim Jankovich, the Redbirds are 60-15 (.800) when playing at home. ISU owns a 244-91 (.728) all-time record on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena.

    ISU got off to a slow start converting 32.5 percent of its three-point tries in the first two games. But since then, it has been a different story. As a result, ISU is shooting 38.1 percent on the season from three, which if this pace continues would be tied for the fourth-best team effort in school history.

    Illinois State got a jump on the 2011-12 season with a four-game tour to Canada in August. The Redbirds posted a 2-2 mark, while facing off against collegiate programs in Canada, as well as professional all-star teams. In addition to the four games, the Redbirds were also granted, per NCAA rules, 10 days of practice leading up to the trip.

    Last season, Illinois State's Jon Ekey and Jackie Carmichael became the first set of Missouri Valley Conference teammates to finish the regular-season ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in blocked shots since the 1986-87 season. Ekey finished the year with 52 swats (1.7 bpg.), while Carmichael added 36 rejections (1.2 bpg.). The duo has combined for 22 blocked shots this season.

    Illinois State has a pair of players this season who were runner-up for Mr. Basketball in their respective home state. Junior Anthony Cousin was runner-up for Mr. Basketball in Alaska in 2008, while in 2011, Nic Moore was runner-up for Mr. Basketball in Indiana.

    THAT 70's SHOW
    ISU's success during the Tim Jankovich-era has been pretty much based on 70 points. When the Redbirds score 70 or more points, Illinois State owns a 52-10 record (.839) in his five seasons. When ISU opponent's score less than 70 points, the Redbirds are 77-28 (.733) during that span.

    North Chicago High School point guard Aaron Simpson and Anthony Beane Jr., a product of Normal Community High School and the son of Illinois State assistant basketball coach Anthony Beane Sr., will continue their collegiate and basketball careers at Illinois State, after each signed National Letters of Intent (NLI) during the NCAA early signing period. Last season, Simpson averaged 22.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, while sinking 71 three-point field goals. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound senior also led North Chicago to a fourth-place finish at the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Class 3A State Tournament. Beane, who was named the 2011 Big 12 Conference Player of the Year, started the last two seasons at NCHS and averaged 14.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game last year. He led the Ironmen to a fourth-place finish at the IHSA Class 4A State Tournament.