Hello from Redbird Arena where Illinois State will tip against No. 20-ranked UNI at 3 p.m. on ESPNU. Deontae Hawkins, who has played four minutes since Dec. 17 with stress reaction in right foot, is going through warmups and could see action today. That would mean ISU is playing with a full deck for first time since Dec. 14. That should come in handy against a deep UNI squad. This should be a great game. Any questions fire away!
Hawkins' stress reaction was in left foot. Confusing with Akoon-Purcell right hand. Too many injuries to keep track of. Hope that's all over with.
Still half hour to tip. Arena not packed by any means. Student section behind basket is about half full. At this time vs. Bradley was already full. Hopefully, crowd will be in 9,000-plus range. Weather damp and raining outside, but no snow yet.
UNI is a team that won't beat itself. The Panthers won't turn the ball over a lot and generally get pretty good shots with a deliberate offense. ISU has to make sure it gets high-quality shots on offensive end, which is difficult to do against UNI, and then crash the boards. I think ISU has a definite advantage on the glass and must get at least 10 offensive boards and win battle of boards by 6-plus.
Definitely easier with Reggie, but Reggie, Jones and Ransom equals 15 fouls. Tuttle is best inside player in the Valley and is a savvy veteran who has everything pretty much figured out at this stage of his career. It will be interesting to see how physical the officials let the Redbirds be.
UNI usually is able to control the pace and I think that's OK. The Redbirds can play that style. Pretty much happened at Wichita and ISU was down two wih 4 minutes left, without Akoon-Purcell and Hawkins and with Reggie limited. UNI doesn't force a lot of turnovers, just plays solid head-up man to man defense. If ISU has 12 or more turnovers, that's not good news. Means the Redbirds are throwing the ball away.
I would say under just because of the opponent. Won't get many fast break chances and UNI too experienced to let that happen on a back-screen.
The fans are not exactly streaming in. Behind the one basket in the upper bowl is nearly empty 18 minutes before tip. Really disappointing.
Washpun does give UNI a real change of pace player who is clutch at crunch time. He doesn't start games, but he definitely finishes. ISU must stay in front of him at all times. Obviously, they have a bunch of shooters on the perimeter, too, along with Tuttle in middle. Maybe why ranked No. 20 in country.
Daishon Knight is really playing at a high level for ISU. I would think UNI will try to have Jeremy Morgan on him. Morgan is a couple inches taller and can contest shots on perimeter, but Daishon can get around him. I believe this really good matchup for ISU, plus whoever Bohannon is guarding.
Paris looks great. Don't think any concerns there.
Probably when they average 9,000 fans a game.
I totally agree with everything you said. ISU needs to beat a team that is considered above them to be considered a top level team. I believe that's gonna happen today.
I would say there is a slight satisfaction. I will always question why Creighton made that move. I know, I know $$$$ But it doesn't help every team except basketball torturous travel plus most of their fans can't get to NYC for the Big East Tournament. Also, this Creighton team would probably be in middle of pack in MVC. Now, they're at the end of the Big East pack.
It did hurt the Valley that Creighton left. That can't be denied. Loyola really has no fans that travel and the Chicago thing is really a joke because the Chicago media barely pays any attention to Loyola.
Let me know. They are not even the same kind of player.
Really? I don't see that. Tuttle barely shoots 3s, exactly 21 in 19 games this season. That's where McDermott was so dangerous.
I really think the college game is great and I would leave the shot clock at 35 seconds. Maybe the players need to become better shooters. What I would do is limit each team to two timeouts in last minute, plus also limit the endless monitor reviews. That really drags down the game. They've taken it too far.
I think Paris might be a little tentative in the first 5 minutes until he sees the knee is fine and he can go all out and not worry about hurting it any more. I agree, his on-ball defense really sets up the whole ISU defense.
ISU already has the North Gym facility. It's just not connected to Redbird Arena. I'm not sure what Wichita does, but if they don't have a practice facility sure they will get one.
Paris Lee is in starting lineup along with Knight, Wills, McIntosh and Lynch.
Great chat today. Thanks to everyone. We will do so again at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday before ISU plays Missouri State. Game on ESPNU and you can follow me on Twitter at Pg_Benson. Thanks again and enjoy the telecast.