Illinois State Redbirds
Overall record: 3-0
Missouri Valley Conference record: 0-0
2006-07 record: 14-16
2006-07 RPI: 138
2006-07 Sagarin: 98
Series: IU leads 3-0 (last meeting: 1988)
TV: 8:30 pm tonight, Big Ten Network
The Redbirds, while they didn't have much of a season last year, would seem to be IU's biggest test to date, since they play in Missouri Valley Conference, probably the best of the non-major conferences. ISU has a guard named Osiris Eldridge leading the way, averaging 21 ppg on 12 shots and 58 percent on nearly 6 three point attempts per game. Forward Anthony Slack is shooting nearly 80 percent on the season. Also, the Redbirds feature a point guard named Doninitrix Johnson. I don't even know what to do with that. He does average 4.7 assists to 1 turnover per game.
As a team, ISU is playing fast this year, at 75.8 possessions per game, within about a possession of IU. While IU ranks 4th nationally in at 1.27 points per possession, ISU is right there at #20 with 1.18. The Redbirds allow .95 points per possession as opposed to IU's .85. Still, one would expect this will be another test for the IU defense, which has allowed a couple of its overmatched opponents to look good for ten to twenty minutes. ISU is a middling defensive rebounding team, so IU may have a chance to show a bit more on the offensive boards. The Redbirds to rebound offensively pretty well, a 38.5 percent clip.
We shall see, and I'll put together a quick review/preview tomorrow for the final game of the CIC.