#66 Illinois State Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Illinois State Redbirds
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #66
Conference Rank: #2 Missouri Valley
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Illinois State finished a respectable third place in the Missouri Valley last season. They could not compete with the likes of Loyola, who they lost to three times including in the conference championship game, but the Redbirds got the best of most of the rest of the conference. With four starters returning, including three who averaged over 15 points per game, the expectations are relatively high. However, this is likely a one bid league again and Illinois State will not be able to reach the NCAA Tournament without winning Arch Madness.
2017-18 Record: 18-15, 10-8
2017-18 Postseason: None
Coach: Dan Muller
Coach Record: 122-80 at Illinois State, 122-80 overall
Key Departed Players:
Madison Williams, 5.3 ppg
Dauda Ndiaye, 4.3 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Milik Yarbrough, Senior, Guard, 16.6 ppg
Phil Fayne, Senior, Forward, 15.6 ppg
Keyshawn Evans, Senior, Guard, 15.2 ppg
William Tinsley, Senior, Guard, 6.0 ppg
Taylor Bruninga, Sophomore, Forward, 4.9 ppg
Matt Hein, Junior, Guard, 4.0 ppg
Isaac Gassman, Sophomore, Guard, 3.8 ppg
Key New Players:
Matt Chastain, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, Transfer from Loyola Chicago
Zach Copeland, Junior, Guard, JC Transfer
Rey Idowu, Freshman, Forward
Josh Jefferson, Junior, Guard, JC Transfer
Abdou Ndiaye, Freshman, Forward
Jaycee Hillsman, Senior, Guard, Transfer from San Jose State, not eligible
Keith Fisher III, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from San Jose State, not eligible
Dedric Boyd, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer fron Eastern Kentucky, not eligible
Milik Yarbrough, Keyshawn Evans and Phil Fayne are all back after tallying at least 15 points per game last season. Yarbrough led the way with 16.6 points and 4.8 assists per game. The 6-6 senior also ranked second on the team with 6.6 rebounds. If Yarbrough can be more consistent shooting the basketball, he will be extremely difficult to defend. Keyshawn Evans is the team’s most prolific shooter, connecting on 41.9 percent of his 217 attempt from beyond the arc. Phil Fayne is the big man in the paint and one of the few players on the roster who is not a threat to shoot the ball. The 6-9 senior averaged 15.6 points and a team high 7.4 rebounds and is a proven force on both ends of the floor. Finding a frontcourt mate for Fayne is a potential issue though. Sophomore Taylor Bruninga gained some valuable experience as a freshman, but Coach Dan Muller does have the ability to play smaller thanks to big guards like Yarbrough and William Tinsley.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.6 (238th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 73.3 (200, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.4 (291, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 42,6 (94, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 9.1 (54, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.1 (222, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.3 (287, 10)
Rebound Margin: -3.5 (308, 10)
Assists Per Game: 14.2 (128, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.3 (213, 6)