Illinois State Renews I-74 Rivalry with Bradley at Peoria

Jan. 24, 2011

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Illinois State and Bradley open up the second-half of the conference season with one league win between the two teams. The Redbirds earned their first league win Sunday against Southern Illinois, while the Braves are 0-9 in Valley play. ISU is looking for its first MVC road victory and is 1-5 on the road this season, including an 0-4 mark in conference play, while Bradley is 5-6 at home this season, but 0-4 in Valley play.

This is the 111th meeting between the two schools. Bradley leads the all-time series, 61-49, but Illinois State has won the last three meetings and four of the last five. ISU is looking for its first back-to-back wins over Bradley in Peoria, Ill., since the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons.

Illinois State: Tim Jankovich (Kansas State, 1982) is 80-42 (.656) in his fourth season with the Redbirds and 183-113 (.618) in his 10th season as a head coach. At Illinois State, Jankovich is 41-30 (.577) against teams from the Missouri Valley Conference, 39-12 versus non-conference opponents, 52-12 at home, 21-24 on the road, 7-5 on a neutral court and 4-2 against Bradley. Bradley: Jim Les (Bradley, 1986) is in his ninth season at his alma mater. He owns a 148-134 (.525) record with the Braves, his only head coaching position. He is 10-8 all-time against Illinois State.


  • Illinois State is in its 41st season as a NCAA Division I program, and during that time, the Redbirds have only had seven losing seasons.
  • The Redbirds have made 17 postseason appearances, including the last three seasons with an NIT berth.
  • In the previous three seasons, Illinois State is the only Valley school to post at least 20 regular-season wins in each campaign.
  • Jankovich is the first coach in league history to lead his team to back-to-back Valley Tournament title games in his first two seasons.

    The last time Illinois State posted two-straight wins over Bradley in Peoria, Ill., was during the 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons. ISU won 56-55 on Jan. 31, 1983, and 56-50 on Feb. 18, 1984. The Redbirds won in Peoria last season with a 62-61 victory at Carver Arena on Feb. 9, 2010.

    ISU Athletics Media Relations will host eight in-season media conferences during the 2010-11 season. Each conference will feature head coach Tim Jankovich and a member of the ISU basketball team. The media conferences start at 1 p.m., and the remaining scheduled dates are: Jan. 25, Feb. 21 and March 1.

    Teleconferences with The Valley head coaches will be conducted each Tuesday throughout the season. The first teleconference is slated for Jan. 4 followed by every Tuesday to March 1. The conferences begin at 10 a.m. CT. To participate in the conference calls, call 913.981.4900. Illinois State head coach Tim Jankovich will participate at 10:24 a.m.


  • Bradley is located in Peoria, Ill., and has an enrollment of 5,873. The Braves are members of the Missouri Valley Conference.
  • The Braves were slated to return four starters from a team that finished 16-15 last season and placed tied for fifth in the conference with a 9-9 league mark. The veteran leadership was quickly erased when Taylor Brown was forced to miss the season due to precautionary health reasons and Sam Maniscalco had his season come to an end on Nov. 30, due to an injury.
  • Bradley was projected to finish fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Poll, as compiled by league coaches, media and sports information directors. Maniscalco was tabbed on the league's all-preseason team, while Brown and Andrew Warren earned honorable mention honors.

    It took 34 days, but Illinois State tasted victory again by ending its eight-game losing streak with a 59-55 win over Southern Illinois on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. The win was the Redbirds' first in Valley play this season and the first win in 2011. It was the latest ISU had gone into a new year without a win since the 2002-03 season (Jan. 29), which is also the longest drought in school history.

    Senior Austin Hill has really stepped up his game as of late. Hill has posted double-digit scoring efforts in each of the last two games. He is averaging 14.5 points per game over his last two contests and has shot a combined 11-for-21 (.524) from the field during that span.

    Against Southern Illinois Sunday, Illinois State found itself down 11 points early in the first half. However, the Redbirds rallied and posted their first Valley win of the season. The 11-point deficit was the largest Illinois State has overcome to post a win this season.

    Senior Tony Lewis has taken the lead rebounding role for the Redbirds this season. He is averaging 6.9 boards per game, which ranks sixth in the Valley, but he leads the conference in offensive caroms with 2.7 per game, which is amazing since he is only averaging 18.3 minutes played per game. If he logged 40 minutes per game, Lewis would average 15.0 boards per contest, including 5.9 offensive rebounds. He has led the Redbirds in rebounding in 13 games this season.

    Sophomore transfer Trey Blue might have shaken off his shooting woes in Sunday's win over Southern Illinois. Blue finished the game with 10 points, his highest scoring total since the Nov. 21 game at Arkansas-Little Rock when he tossed in a season-best 14 points. He also sank a pair of threes against SIU, ending a streak of 13-straight misses.

    The Illinois State campus has historic Route 66 running through it, but this season the Redbird offense has had a tough time reaching 66. In fact, ISU hasn't reached 66 points in a game for a total of 15 contests this season, including 14 of the last 16 games.

    This season is anything but normal in regards to the Tim Jankovich-era at ISU. In fact, at 9-11, it is the first time Jankovich has ever been below .500 in his three-plus seasons with the Redbirds. He had not personally been under .500 as a head coach since Jan. 16, 1997, when he was coaching at North Texas. The 11 losses also already equal his most defeats in a season, matching the Redbirds' total from last season with the team's 22-11 record.

    Sitting at 1-8 in the Valley and with a roster dominated by inconsistent underclassmen, things might be feeling bleak for the Redbird faithful. However, just two short seasons ago, fellow league member Missouri State opened league play with five-straight losses and finished with a 3-15 mark while playing a number of sophomores and freshmen. Turn the clock forward, and the Bears are currently sitting on top of the MVC standings with an 8-1 mark. In addition, Wichita State, which owns a 7-2 record, started league play 1-8 two seasons ago with a core of underclassmen.

    So far this season, Illinois State has had 10 different players post a double-digit scoring game. The Redbirds have had 46 double-figure performances to date on the campaign achieved by: Jackie Carmichael (11), Austin Hill (9), Blake Mishler (6), John Wilkins (5), Anthony Cousin (4), Tony Lewis (4), Trey Blue (3), Justin Clark (2), Jon Ekey (1) and Alex Rubin (1).

    Of the 10 Illinois State players to post double-digits this season, only Jackie Carmichael (three times), Anthony Cousin (twice), Austin Hill (four times) and John Wilkins (once) have posted double-digit scoring efforts in consecutive games.

    Because of the lack of individual consistency within the Illinois State offense, the Redbirds have had 10 different players lead the team in scoring this season. By tying his season-high with 15 points against Southern Illinois Sunday, senior Tony Lewis became the 10th different Redbird to lead the squad in scoring this season.

    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 44-10 record (.815) in his four seasons. When ISU opponent's score less than 70 points, the Redbirds are 71-20 (.780) during that span.

    Illinois State enters the game at Bradley with at least one made three in 353-straight games. The last time ISU didn't sink a trey was an 82-43 loss at Creighton, Dec. 12, 1999.

    The most obvious explanation for Illinois State's inconsistent start this season can be found with the team's shooting percentage. On the season, ISU is shooting 29.4 percent from three-point range, which would rank as the lowest single-season effort in school history, undercutting the 30.4 percentage during the 1990-91 campaign.

    After the first two games of the season, Illinois State appeared to have a strong perimeter team with a combined 14-for-33 (.424) effort on threes. However, in the last 18 games, shooting from beyond the arc has dried up for the Redbirds. Illinois State has shot 82-for-293 (.280) and does not have a single player shooting over 40 percent during that span.

    Already this season, the Redbirds have had more players earn a spot in the starting lineup than the team did all of last season. The Redbirds have had nine different players start for seven different starting five combinations. Illinois State has started the same five in each of the last five games: Anthony Cousin, Austin Hill, John Wilkins, Jon Ekey and Jackie Carmichael.

    Illinois State's Jon Ekey (32) and Jackie Carmichael (24) are the top two shot blockers in the Missouri Valley Conference this season. With the two top shot blockers in the conference, it is no surprise that the Redbirds rank econd-place in the conference with 3.8 blocks per game. At this pace, the Redbirds would have the third-best blocks per game average in school history.

    As the most inexperienced team in the Valley entering the season, the Illinois State roster had combined to play a total of 3,257 minutes for the Redbirds. Opening the season, the Redbirds had combined to play 10 Division I seasons, which ranked ISU No. 23, as one of the most inexperienced teams in the nation.

    With Anthony Cousin's 23-point effort at Missouri State, ISU now has five players on their roster who have scored at least 20 points in an NCAA Division I game, including four this season. Jackie Carmichael has three 20-point efforts in his career and two this season, while Cousin, Justin Clark and Jon Ekey have each posted one 20-point game this season. Trey Blue had a 20-point effort with Fordham.

    Sophomore Jackie Carmichael ended his first season with the Redbirds as the most-prolific freshman shot blocker in Illinois State history. Carmichael swatted away 46 shots during the 2009-10 season, crushing the old mark of 36 set by Mike VandeGarde during his freshman campaign in 1990-91. With 70 career blocks, Carmichael is ninth in career blocked shots at ISU and needs five more to surpass Jarod Coleman (74) for eighth place.

    Jackie Carmichael's ISU freshman shot block record might be short lived, as freshman Jon Ekey has collected 32 blocked shots this season. The Valley leader in blocks per game (1.5) is on pace to finish with approximately 50 blocked shots on the season, which would not only be the freshman record, but would mark the third-best, single-season blocked shot total in Illinois State history. Ekey only needs six more blocked shots to tie Greg Dilligard for 10th place for single-season blocks in ISU history.

    Both the Illinois State men's basketball and football programs were benefactors by the transfer of Bryant Allen from Minnesota. Allen, who is an ISU football scholarship student-athlete, will be eligible immediately for the Redbirds on the gridiron, but won't be able to play until the completion of the 2011 fall semester due to NCAA residency rules. With the Gophers, Allen, a six-foot, 170-pound guard, played in nine games during the 2009-10 season, all as a reserve. He scored seven points over 22 minutes played.

    Illinois State head basketball coach Tim Jankovich solidified the Redbird backcourt for years to come as guards Johnny Hill (Glenbard East), Nic Moore (Warsaw, Ind.) and Nick Zeisloft (Lyons Township) each signed National Letters of Intent (NLIs) to continue their education and basketball careers at Illinois State, during the early signing period on Nov. 10.