No. 3 Seed at Stake in Regular-Season Finale at SIU Saturday Afternoon
Reggie Lynch
Reggie Lynch

Feb. 28, 2014

 Illinois State at Southern Illinois | Carbondale, Ill.
 Date  Saturday, March 1
 Location
 Carbondale, Ill.
 Tipoff
 3:05 p.m. CT
 Arena
 SIU Arena
 Capacity
 8,339
 TV  Comcast SportsNet Chicago, ESPN Full Court, ESPN3
 Radio  WJBC 1230 AM, FM 93.7 (Dick Luedke and Mike Matthews)
 TV Stream  ESPN3
 Live Stats  GameTracker
 Game Notes  Illinois State Notes | Southern Illinois Notes


QUICK HITS ABOUT #REDBIRDHOOPS

  • Illinois State has gone 15-9 (.625) over its last 24 games.
  • With a 9-8 Missouri Valley Conference record and one game remaining, Illinois State is in a three-way tie for third place in the league with Missouri State and Northern Iowa. ISU can finish as high as No. 3 and as low as No. 5.
  • The Redbirds must win at Southern Illinois, and Missouri State and Northern Iowa must both lose, for the Redbirds to earn the No. 3 seed in next week's MVC Tournament. MSU is at Wichita State and UNI is at Indiana State Saturday.
  • ISU freshman center Reggie Lynch is coming off of a career-game, after earning career-bests in points (16), rebounds (8) and blocks (5) during Illinois State's win over Indiana State Wednesday night.
  • Reggie Lynch continues to lead the Missouri Valley Conference and ranks 32nd nationally in blocks per game (2.6). He also ranks second in the league with a 61.3 percent field goal mark.
  • ISU ranks No. 1 in the Valley and No. 30 nationally in steals per game (7.8), and second in MVC blocks (4.5).
  • With 75 blocks this season, Reggie Lynch holds the ISU freshman blocked-shots record. The previous mark was 52. Lynch is now in pursuit of the MVC freshman blocks mark, which is 92, held by Benoit Benjamin (Creighton).
  • Redbird junior guard Daishon Knight is a four-time MVC Newcomer of the Week (Dec. 2, Dec. 9, Dec. 23, Feb. 17).
  • With just 2.5 years of previous NCAA Division I basketball experience divided amongst returners Kaza Keane, Nick Zeisloft and Matt Stacho, Illinois State is believed to have less returning experience than any other Division I team.

    PROGRAM EXCELLENCE
  • Illinois State is in its 44th season as a NCAA Division I program, and during that time, the Redbirds have only had eight losing seasons.
  • Throughout Illinois State's program history, the Redbirds have featured 20 All-American selections, two Missouri Valley Conference Larry Bird Valley Players of the Year, four Valley Tournament Most Outstanding Players, 66 All-Valley Selections, six NCAA Tournament appearances, 12 NIT appearances, five Valley regular-season championships and four Valley Tournament championships.

    ABOUT THE SOUTHERN ILLINOIS SALUKIS

  • Southern Illinois University is located in Carbondale, Ill., and has an enrollment of 18,847. The Salukis compete at the NCAA Division I level and are members of the Missouri Valley Conference.
  • The Salukis lead the all-time series against Illinois State, 75-69, with ISU winning the last four meetings and 10 out of the last 14. The Redbirds are aiming to win two-consecutive games at SIU for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
  • SIU can finish in either fifth or sixth place in the 2013-14 MVC standings after returning two starters from a team which finished 14-17 last season and placed 10th in the Missouri Valley Conference (6-12).
  • The Salukis were picked eighth in the Missouri Valley Conference according to the official preseason poll. Senior guard Desmar Jackson was named to the MVC Preseason All-Conference squad. Jackson averaged 15.1 points and 5.4 rebounds last year for the Salukis, and he is averaging 18.8 this season.

    WHERE TO WATCH: ILLINOIS STATE AT SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
    Comcast SportsNet Chicago: Comcast: 56/522/922, DirecTV: 665, Dish: 429, AT&T U-Verse: 741/1741
    ESPN Full Court: Comcast: 835, DirecTV: 722, AT&T U-Verse: 4503
    ESPN3: http://es.pn/1gSeIBN

    LAST MEETING: REDBIRDS SECURE FIRST VALLEY WIN, DEFEAT SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
    NORMAL, Ill. (Jan. 5, 2014) - Illinois State used a 17-2 second-half run to pull away late and defeat Southern Illinois, 66-48, at Redbird Arena. The Redbirds had their best defensive effort of the season, limiting Southern Illinois to 32 percent shooting, including just 25 percent (5-for-25) in the second half. Illinois State shot 42 percent from the floor and outscored SIU, 28-17, in the second half. Two Redbirds registered double-figure scoring, paced by Zach Lofton's game-high 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Lofton added four three-point baskets and was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. Bobby Hunter tallied 15 points and Paris Lee notched a career-high seven assists. Illinois State won the rebounding advantage, 37-35.

    NO. 3 SEED AT STAKE
    Illinois State enters Saturday's regular-season finale at Southern Illinois in a three-way tie for third place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings with Missouri State and Northern Iowa. All three teams share a 9-8 Valley record with one game remaining (complete standings are listed on page five). To earn the No. 3 seed in next week's MVC Tournament, the Redbirds must beat SIU, while Missouri State needs to lose at Wichita State and Northern Iowa must lose at Indiana State. ISU can finish anywhere from No. 3 to No. 5.

    SEASON-FINALE SCENARIOS
    The eight potential scenarios that can impact Illinois State's seed in next week's Missouri Valley Conference are listed below. Along with Saturday's ISU at Southern Illinois game, Illinois State will also be affected by Northern Iowa at Indiana State (Saturday at 12 p.m. CT) and Missouri State at Wichita State (Saturday at 1 p.m. CT). The scenarios are broken down by potential winners (underlined). The team codes include: Illinois State (ILS), Missouri State (MSU), Southern Illinois (SIU) and Northern Iowa (UNI).

    ILS, WSU, INS
    ILS 10-8 Seed: 3
    UNI 9-9 Seed: 4
    MSU 9-9 Seed: 5
    SIU 8-10 Seed: 6

    ILS, MSU, INS
    MSU 10-8 Seed: 3
    ILS 10-8 Seed: 4
    UNI 9-9 Seed: 5
    SIU 8-10 Seed: 6

    SIU, MSU, INS
    MSU 10-8 Seed: 3
    UNI 9-9 Seed: 4
    ILS 9-9 Seed: 5
    SIU 9-9 Seed: 6

    ILS, MSU, UNI
    UNI 10-8 Seed: 3
    ILS 10-8 Seed: 4
    MSU 10-8 Seed: 5
    SIU 8-10 Seed: 6

    SIU, WSU, INS
    UNI 9-9 Seed: 3
    ILS 9-9 Seed: 4
    SIU 9-9 Seed: 5
    MSU 9-9 Seed: 6

    SIU, MSU, UNI
    UNI 10-8 Seed: 3
    MSU 10-8 Seed: 4
    ILS 9-9 Seed: 5
    SIU 9-9 Seed: 6

    ILS, WSU, UNI
    UNI 10-8 Seed: 3
    ILS 10-8 Seed: 4
    MSU 9-9 Seed: 5
    SIU 8-10 Seed: 6

    SIU, WSU, UNI
    UNI 10-8 Seed: 3
    MSU 9-9 Seed: 4
    ILS 9-9 Seed: 5
    SIU 9-9 Seed: 6

     

    EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS
    Despite Illinois State featuring the least-experienced team in the nation, this year's Redbird squad (which includes eight newcomers to NCAA Division I basketball on the current active roster) has exceeded expectations by finishing above the seventh-place prediction made in the 2013-14 Missouri Valley Conference Preseason Poll. With ISU's win over Indiana State Wednesday night, the Redbirds secured their third-consecutive winning season which is also the sixth in the last seven years. ISU is now aiming to finish as high as third - and no lower than fifth - in the final conference standings after placing sixth last season. The Redbirds have earned third place five times since joining the MVC in 1981-82.

    CAREER BUILDERS
    Illinois State appears to be peaking at the right time, as four Illinois State players have earned career-scoring highs in four out of the last five games. Reggie Lynch most-recently totaled career-bests in points (16), rebounds (8) and blocks (5) during ISU's win over Indiana State Wednesday night. Lynch has reached double-figures in three out of the last four games. Before that, Zach Lofton netted a career-best 24 points on a career-high eight field goals in ISU's loss at Northern Iowa (Feb. 23), Daishon Knight scored a career-best 26 points on a career-high five three-pointers in ISU's win over Bradley (Feb. 15), and Nick Zeisloft tallied a career-best 18 points in the Redbirds' narrow loss at Evansville (Feb. 12).

    CUTTING DOWN THE SYCAMORES
    Illinois State built a 20-point first-half lead and never trailed en route to a 77-59 victory over Indiana State - the No. 2 seed in next week's Valley Tournament - Wednesday night on Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena. With the win, the Redbirds closed the home portion of the regular season schedule with a 12-3 record at Redbird Arena. Illinois State went 8-1 at home in the Valley, marking its best home conference record since posting an 8-1 campaign in 2009-10. Three Redbirds scored in double-figures, paced by Daishon Knight's game-high 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting. Indiana State leading scorer Jake Odum (12.7 ppg) was held to just nine points on 2-for-6 shooting from the field and finished the game with four fouls.

    LYNCH'S LEGACY
    Even though Illinois State center Reggie Lynch is a freshman, he is already building a legacy in the Redbird and Missouri Valley Conference record books.

    BLOCKS: Lynch is now in sole-possession of second place on the ISU single-season blocks list and ranks No. 10 on the career-blocks list, with 75 stuffs. Jeff Wilkins holds the single-season record with 103 in 1976-77. Lynch already set the record for most freshman blocks, by surpassing the previous-high of 52 earlier this year, and he is currently pursuing the MVC freshman blocks record of 92, set by Creighton's Benoit Benjamin in 1982-83. Lynch is now tied for second in MVC freshman blocks with Bradley's Patrick O'Bryant (2004-05). Lynch leads the league and ranks No. 32 nationally with 2.6 blocks per game.
    FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE: Lynch is currently shooting 92-for-150 (61.3 percent) from the field, which is setting him up for a few more spots in the ISU record book. While Lynch has to make eight more field goals to achieve the required 100-minimum, he currently ranks No. 1 in freshman field goal percentage (the current record is 45.7 percent by Billy Lewis in 1974-75) and No. 6 on the single-season field goal percentage list. Lynch ranks second in the MVC behind Evansville's Egidijus Mockevicius (63.4).

    STEALING THE SHOW
    Illinois State junior guard Bobby Hunter leads the Redbirds and is tied for No. 5 in the league with 1.6 steals per game. Hunter's 47 total steals this season are the most by a Redbird since Lloyd Phillips forced 60 during the 2009-10 season. Tyler Brown led ISU last season with 46 steals.

    NEWCOMER NOD
    For a program-record fourth time, junior guard Daishon Knight was the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week (Feb. 17). The Redbirds have now earned a league-best five Valley Newcomer of the Week honors this season. Knight - who is the first-ever Redbird to earn MVC Newcomer of the Week four times - passed Boo Richardson's former record of three honors during the 2006-07 season. Knight and Loyola freshman Milton Doyle both lead the league with four Valley Newcomer of the Week honors in 2013-14. Additionally, ISU's five honors this season are the most since earning seven in 2006-07.

    UNDER 70 SUCCESS
    The Redbirds - who rank second in league-field goal percentage defense (42.9 percent) - have statistically proven that holding teams under 70 points is a recipe for success. With a 77-59 win over Indiana State Wednesday night, Illinois State improved to 13-2 when holding its opponents to 69 points or less this season. Conversely, ISU is 3-11 when its opponents net 70 or more points. Illinois State is also 7-2 when the Redbirds force 10 or more steals and 10-5 when ISU blocks five or more shots.

    DOMINANT DEFENSE
    ISU's primary zone defense has continued to effectively challenge the opposition since the Redbirds began utilizing it in their fifth game of the season. Illinois State currently ranks No. 2 in field goal percentage defense (42.9 percent) among Missouri Valley Conference teams. With ISU's four-guard lineup - including redshirt junior Bobby Hunter and freshman guard Paris Lee who both rank in the top-10 among Valley players with averages of 1.6 and 1.5, respectively - the Redbirds lead the Valley in steals (7.8) per game. With freshman center and league-leading shot blocker Reggie Lynch in the middle of the zone, ISU ranks second in league-blocks (4.5), and ISU is No. 2 in defensive rebounds, with 25.0 per game.

    FOR COMPARISON'S SAKE
    Despite Illinois State featuring the least-experienced team in the nation, this year's Redbird squad (which features eight newcomers to NCAA Division I basketball on the current active roster) is guaranteed to finish higher than where last year's more-experienced Redbird team ended up in the Missouri Valley Conference standings. Last year's ISU team was 8-9 in the Missouri Valley Conference (17-13 overall), while the 2013-14 Redbirds are currently 9-8 and 16-13.

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