Illinois State Men's Basketball 2012 NIT Capsule

Illinois State Redbirds
Missouri Valley (20-13, 9-9)

Illinois State capped off an average season by making a great run in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament. They eventually lost to Creighton in overtime, but the Redbirds did enough to sneak into the NIT. This is a team playing its best basketball late in the year. Three of their best played games came in the conference tournament, with wins against Northern Iowa and Wichita State. They could continue to be dangerous in the NIT.

Big Wins: 12/29 Northern Iowa (65-61), 3/2 vs Northern Iowa (54-42), 3/3 vs Wichita State (65-64)
Bad Losses: 11/11 at Fresno State (47-55), 12/3 UNC-Wilmington (54-63), 1/1 at Southern Illinois (71-86)
Coach: Tim Jankovich (5 seasons at Illinois State)

Why They Can Surprise:
Coach Tim Jankovich has three extremely consistent and prolific outside shooters. Tyler Brown, Jon Ekey and Bryant Allen all connect on over 40 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. Brown is the most dynamic scorer of the bunch and will attack the basket as well as knock down the long ball. Allen provides a superb offensive spark off of the bench and his ability to come into the game and knock down shots can get really get this sometimes stagnant offense rolling again. Ekey is the power forward who can stretch out the defense with his shooting. At 6-7, it would be nice if Ekey could do a little more damage in the paint, but at least he can shoot. Nic Moore is another capable shooter. At 34.9 percent, his three-point shooting seems bad compared to the big three, but Moore is the point guard and his ability to be a threat to knock down the long ball is very important. The opposition must respect his ability to shoot and that is when Moore can get past the defenders and drive and dish.

Why They Can Disappoint:
The Redbirds have one great interior player, but beyond that the depth is seriously lacking. Jackie Carmichael leads this team with 13.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. The 6-9 junior is a beast on both ends of the floor and can compete with just about any opposing post player that Illinois State runs into during the NIT. However, Carmichael can only spend so many minutes on the floor. He averages 28.5 per game and during those other 11.5 minutes, Illinois State will be outmanned in the paint. Ekey has enough size, but he does not hang out in the paint very often and every other major contributor is a guard. Carmichael alone has made Illinois State a pretty good rebounding team, but when they run into a team that has two athletic and strong frontcourt players, the Redbirds will be in trouble.

Probable Starters:
Nic Moore, Freshman, Guard, 9.1 ppg, 3.7 apg
Tyler Brown, Junior, Guard, 13.1 ppg, 2.4 apg
John Wilkins, Junior, Guard, 7.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Jon Ekey, Sophomore, Forward, 8.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg
Jackie Carmichael, Junior, Forward, 13.8 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 1.4 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Bryant Allen, Sophomore, Guard, 8.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg
Anthony Cousin, Junior, Guard, 4.9 ppg, 2.4 apg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.3 (171st in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.4 (102, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.3 (174, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.8 (61, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.0 (30, 2)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.3 (80, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.3 (22, 2)
Rebound Margin: 2.5 (96, 3)
Assists Per Game: 12.8 (174, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.8 (40, 3)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
Illinois State    2010    NIT        First Round loss to Dayton
Illinois State    2009    NIT        First Round loss to Kansas State
Illinois State    2008    NIT        First Round win over Utah State
Illinois State    2008    NIT        Second Round loss to Dayton
Illinois State    2001    NIT        First round loss to Purdue
Illinois State    1998    NCAA     Round of 64 win over Tennessee
Illinois State    1998    NCAA     Round of 32 loss to Arizona

*all team stats through 3/4

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