Illinois State 2009 NIT Tournament Preview
Illinois State Redbirds - Southern Conference (24-9, 11-7)
Seed: #5 - SDSU Region
Big Wins: 11/15 at Wright State (69-61), 1/3 Creighton (86-64), 3/7 vs Creighton (73-49)
Bad Losses: 1/10 at Indiana State (70-75), 1/21 at Wichita State (58-64), 2/8 Indiana State (73-75)
Coach: Tim Jankovich
Probable Illinois State Starters:
Lloyd Phillips, Junior, Guard, 10.8 ppg, 3.4 apg
Emmanuel Holloway, Senior, Guard, 10.2 ppg, 2.7 apg, 4.0 rpg
Osiris Eldridge, Junior, Guard, 13.9 ppg, 2.4 apg, 6.1 rpg
Champ Oguchi, Senior, Guard, 15.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg
Dinma Odiakosa, Junior, Forward, 8.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg
Key Illinois State Roleplayers:
Sead Odzic, Junior, Guard, 1.0 ppg, 1.0 apg
Alex Rubin, Sophomore, Guard, 1.6 ppg, 1.0 apg
Brandon Sampay, Senior, Forward, 7.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg
Landon Shipley, Junior, Guard, 3.2 ppg, 1.0 apg
Why The Redbirds Can Surprise:
Do not be fooled by the fact that Illinois State runs a four guard offense. Generally that would mean the Redbirds would be a bad rebounding team. But that is not the case with this group. Champ Oguchi and Osiris Eldridge, at 6-6 and 6-3 respectively, are two of the best rebounding guards around. Oguchi averages 5.5 boards per game and Eldridge adds an incredible 6.1. But those two do so much more than help out on the glass, they are the team’s top two scorers, consistent outside shooters and always threats to drive to the rim.
Oguchi and Eldridge spearhead the offensive attack and make this team one of the most prolific three-point shooting teams in the nation, but there are more weapons in the backcourt. Lloyd Phillips and Emmanuel Holloway are also very consistent outside shooters and will do a majority of the ball handling for the Coach Tim Jankovich’s squad.
Why The Redbirds Can Disappoint:
Size, or lack there of, is sometimes a problem, but the Redbirds do have starter Dinma Odiakosa and super sub Brandon Sampay. Both of those forwards are 6-8 and with a 6-6 Oguchi, the team does not look that small despite the four guard lineup. When necessary Coach Jankovich will play Odiakosa and Sampay at the same time and those two will battle with anybody under the basket. However, Odiakosa and Sampay are not great shot blockers and a patient offense can probe the Illinois State defense and get a decent look around the basket.
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Who To Watch:
All four starting guards averaged at least 30 minutes of playing time per game.Eldridge ended the regular season averaging nearly 35 minutes per contest and that will be an issue during the tournament. The Redbirds need to get some production off the bench in the backcourt from Sead Odzic, Alex Rubin and Landon Shipley. Odzic is coming off of knee surgery and may not be ready to go during the tournament and Rubin and Shipley are averaging less than 11 minutes per game. The team might not need too many minutes from this group, but they will need some quality minutes.
Illinois State By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.8 (123rd in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.8 (56, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.5 (134, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.2 (69, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.7 (14, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.1 (33, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.7 (135, 7)
Rebound Margin: 4.8 (41, 2)
Assists Per Game: 13.3 (140, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.8 (78, 3)
Joel’s Bracket Says: Second Round loss to San Diego State
By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer
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