Northern Iowa (7-7) at Illinois State (9-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 8:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Redbird Arena (10,000) -- Normal, Illinois. Television:
Mediacom Connections. Home Record: UNI 6-1, ISU 6-2. Away Record: UNI 1-2, ISU
2-2. Neutral Record: UNI 0-4, ISU 1-1. Conference Record: UNI 0-2, ISU 0-2.
Series Record: Illinois State leads, 36-26.
GAME NOTES: The Northern Iowa Panthers and Illinois State Redbirds both strive
for their first Missouri Valley Conference victory of the season as they
square off at Redbird Arena.
The Panthers fell to 0-2 in MVC action and 7-7 overall on Wednesday when it
suffered a 65-61 setback to Indiana State on their on home floor. UNI has lost
four of its last time games since its promising 6-3 start to the season. Coach
Ben Jacobson's squad is performing poorly on both ends of the court so far as
it is eighth in the conference in scoring offense (67.7 ppg) and just one slot
better in scoring defense (64 ppg).
The start of league play was not as kind to Illinois State, as the Redbirds
had a four-game win streak halted by a 77-75 loss at Indiana State on Sunday
before they were defeated 79-72 by Creighton to drop to 0-2 in the conference
standings. Illinois State's recent skid made it 9-4 on the season. Dan Muller
has already gained the respect of many just 14 games into his head coaching
career, as his team is leading the MVC with 79.9 ppg. However, the Redbirds
are also second to last in the conference in scoring defense (69.0).
These teams split their season series in 2011-2012 with each defending its
home floor successfully. Illinois State defeated UNI, 54-42, in the MVC
Tournament to increase its all-time series lead to 36-26.
UNI was unsuccessful against the Sycamores on Wednesday despite Seth Tuttle
tallying game-highs in both points (24) and rebounds (10). Anthony James added
12 points, six boards, and four assists for the Panthers, although he also
committed six turnovers and shot just 6-of-16 from the floor. After entering
the intermission trailing 37-32, the Panthers kept their deficit to single-
digits throughout the second half, even making it a one possession game in the
final minute, but they could never tie or take the lead. Deon Mitchell is
netting team-best averages of 11.2 points and 3.3 assists, while Tuttle is
chipping in 10.9 points and 5.9 boards per game. James, who is third on the
team with 10.4 ppg, needs just three points to reach 1,000 for his career.
Illinois State played tough its last time out before the powerful Bluejays
made a final push to put it out of reach in the closing minutes. Bryant Allen
and Tyler Brown scored 15 points apiece and Jackie Carmichael added 10 for the
Redbirds in the loss. Although he reached double figures, it was an off-night
for Carmichael, who is filling up the stat sheet on a regular basis with 17.3
points, 8.3 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game. Brown was also held under his
average of 16.6 ppg by Creighton. Outside of Carmichael and Brown, none of the
Redbirds are scoring in double figures regularly, but they are sharing the
ball to the tune of 18 assists per outing, which is seventh best in the
Illinois State's potent offensive system delivered it a handful of wins during
its non-conference slate. It is only a matter of time before it translates
over to the MVC. However, although UNI is 0-2 in the conference standings, it
has a history of bouncing back from slow starts. The Panthers have a shot at
escaping Normal with a victory if they can contain Carmichael.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois State 75, Northern Iowa 70
01/05 10:36:57 ET
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