Any way you slice it, Illinois State’s matchup against No. 4 Wichita State on Wednesday night is huge.
As a Top 5 team, the undefeated Shockers are the highest-ranked team to ever play in Redbird Arena, which opened in 1989. (The Redbird men did knock off a couple No. 4 teams, Indiana State and UNLV, at home back in the late 1970s in Horton Field House.)
One good reason to like our chances: The Redbird men (11-7 overall, 4-2 conference) are on a seven-game winning streak on Doug Collins Court heading into Wednesday’s game against Wichita State (19-0, 6-0), and have won four of their last five games and 10 of their last 13.
Tickets can be purchased at GoRedbirds.com, by phone at (309) 438-8000, or in-person at one of the ISU Athletics Ticket Offices located either at Redbird Arena or Hancock Stadium.
In honor of Wednesday’s historic matchup, STATEside teamed up with Athletics for a quick look back at the Top 12 men’s basketball moments in Redbird Arena’s 25-year history:
January 11, 1989: Welcome home
Illinois State 71, Chicago State 70
In the first game at the new Redbird Arena, Jarrod Coleman added 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Scott Fowler had 16 in front of 9,724 fans.
January 15, 1989: First MVC win
Illinois State 91, Bradley 83
Illinois State wins its first Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) game in Redbird Arena (against a heated rival, no less), as Jarrod Coleman tied his career-high with 26 points.
March 6, 1990: The Big Dance
Illinois State 81, Southern Illinois 78
Illinois State wins the MVC tournament final, as Ricky Jackson scored 20 and had 11 of ISU’s last 14 points. Plus, the Redbird Arena attendance record was set with 10,625 fans. After earning the automatic bid, Illinois State advanced to play Michigan in the NCAA West Regional.
March 1, 1993: First outright MVC title
Illinois State 71, Northern Iowa 59
Mike VandeGarde scored 32 points as Illinois State claimed its first-ever outright MVC men’s basketball title.
February 8, 1995: Muller Time
Illinois State 73, Evansville 72
Then-player (and now head coach) Dan Muller’s layup with 7.6 seconds left iced the game, as Illinois State set an arena record for blocked shots at the time, with nine.
February 8, 1996: Retiring a legend
Illinois State 97, Northern Iowa 80
Redbird star Rico Hill (above) scored 26 points as legend Doug Collins’ number was retired.
February 21, 1998: Standing-room only
Illinois State 80, Creighton 76
Illinois State clinched its second-straight outright MVC title in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 10,044 on senior night. Rico Hill came off the bench to lead all scorers with 21 points.
February 8, 2000: Bryson’s big shot
Illinois State 75, Bradley 74 (OT)
Down by seven at the half, Tarise Bryson hit a jumper with 3 seconds left in overtime for the win, as Bryson finished with 25 points.
December 31, 2005: Ford’s buzzer-beater
Illinois State 53, Creighton 50
Dana Ford buried a 40-footer at the buzzer to give Illinois State its first MVC win of the season; Ford finished with 14 points.
March 19, 2008: Postseason play
Illinois State 61, Utah State 57
In an NIT first-round matchup, the Redbirds built a nine-point halftime lead and made it hold on to advance in postseason play; Osiris Eldridge (above) led Illinois State with 14 points and Dinma Odiakosa added 11 points and six rebounds.
January 7, 2012: Jackie goes viral
Illinois State 75, Evansville 73
Jackie Carmichael scored his first-career 3-pointer at the buzzer to secure Illinois State’s win over Evansville.
December 7, 2013: Top 25 takedown
Illinois State 81, No. 25 Dayton 75
The Redbirds earned their first-ever win over a Top 25 team at Redbird Arena and their first at home since 1984. Daishon Knight (above) scored 20 points with six rebounds to lead the Redbirds.
January 22, 2014: Top 5 takedown
Illinois State ??, Wichita State ??
The Redbirds have a chance to take down a Top 5 team (and MVC rival) when Wichita State comes to town.
Ryan Denham can be reached at rmdenha@IllinoisState.edu.