Recon: Illinois State

Recon: Illinois State

Illinois State VCU Basketball2_r620x349

Not many people tuned into the Delaware State game on Wednesday. Part of the problem was the fact that Fox Sports Ohio picked the game up and eliminated the possibility of a live stream. The other issue was the opponent itself, one of the worst programs in the nation.

Fortunately, there are no excuses this weekend as UD’s website reports, “the game will be televised on CSN Chicago, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and ESPN3, carried by WHIO Radio and is available with live video, stats and streaming audio at DaytonFlyers.com.” Dayton takes on Illinois State at 8:00pm on Saturday night, there’s nothing else to distract your average Flyer fan — all eyes will be on the Flyers tomorrow night.

The big news, of course is Doogie Harris’ “early-retirement” from the DDN. Here is his farewell, in its entirety, from yesterday’s edition:

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When I was a college basketball player at Dayton in the late 1970s, I met with my coach, Don Donoher, after my sophomore year, and I told him I had no idea what I should study or what I wanted to do for a living and wondered if he had any suggestions.

He just said, “What do you like to do?”

Well, it never occurred to me to pose that question to myself. Pretty clueless, I know. But, boy, I’m glad he asked.

A rewarding career in journalism for me is coming to an end Saturday at the Big Ten title game. I’m taking an early-retirement buyout from the Dayton Daily News. My inclination was to just disappear, but that somehow didn’t feel right, so forgive me if this piece sounds a little self-serving.

I’m grateful for how the last 35 years have unfolded. I’ve basically covered everything I wanted to cover: the Super Bowl, Final Four, Ryder Cup, three college football national championship games with Ohio State, an NCAA tournament win for Dayton and much more. The only thing I would have like to have seen and didn’t was the Masters golf tournament. Oh well.

I’ve worked beside and covered some great folks — too numerous to name. I’m going to miss the people most of all. And I’ll miss the work — even with those crazy deadlines where I slammed a story in and then had a panic attack about whether I had the right score or even included the score at all.

I’ve been asked by friends what I’ll do next. Honestly, I don’t know. Nothing for a while. I’m trusting, though, that the next chapter will be as much of a blessing as the last one was.

But I may need to talk to Donoher.

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And of course, the tributes to Harris began flying in…

swampass

Overview

The Redbirds welcome their visitors from the Gem City with a perfectly mediocre 4-4 record. ISU has played some decent competition — beating Northwestern and losing to the likes of Drexel, VCU and Manhattan. On the plus side, they come into tomorrow’s riding a three-game winning streak, so there’s that.

Illinois State has offensive ability similar to Delaware State’s, a poor shooting team in almost every offensive metric, but does their thing at a much quicker pace (averaging around 78 possessions a game). The Redbirds like to get shots up quickly, act with complete indifference as to what their opponents do on offense, before getting another shot up just as rapidly.

ISU has a roster without a single senior on it, and not much experience to boot. The Redbirds return exactly zero starters from last year’s squad — only three players and a walk-on are present and accounted from last season. The current lineup is chock full of transfers and JUCOs, a coach’s worst nightmare. Coach Dan Muller is building for the future, aren’t we all, and theoretically will have everyone back next season.

Illinois St Northwestern Basketball2_r620x349

Meet and Greet

Jackie Carmichael, who produced a 25 point/12 rebound gem in ISU’s victory over Dayton last season, has moved on, currently plying his trade in Spain. His departure has left a big, festering hole in the hearts of Redbirds fans everywhere.

Their offense is centered around its guards, who produce the overwhelming amount of the team’s scoring. Freshman Daishon “Scoochie” Knight (13.6 ppg/4.0 rpg) and Zach Lofton (14.4 ppg/2.9 rpg/89% FT%) pace the Redbird attack. Bobby Hunter (8.6 ppg) and Paris Lee (8.4 ppg/2.3 rpg) round out the ISU backcourt. Nick Zeisloft is a white backup guard, he shoots all the threes, all of them.

Up front, ISU is led by John Jones (6.3 ppg/4.7 rpg) and Reggie Lynch (6.3 ppg/3.7 rpg). Jones redshirted and then was declared academically ineligible last season, so this is the junior’s first season of basketball since his prep days. Lynch is long and strong, currently leading the Missouri Valley in blocks (2.1 bpg). 6’9″ Michael Middlebrooks (5.5 ppg/9.8 rpg) is suspended for the game.

Numbers Game

ISUUDStatz

Prediction

Ya boy Ken Pomeroy has the Flyers winning by five points, and I think UD rolls out a decent effort as well. UD wins 81-72, and has a week to bask in the glow of a 8-1 record and a national ranking. Big boy stuff.

Have your say!

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Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o’ D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.

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