On Friday, the second round of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament features a matchup between the No. 4 seed Illinois State Redbirds and the No. 5 seed Northern Iowa Panthers. The winner will take on whomever advances from the earlier game between the top-seeded Wichita State Shockers and Indiana State Sycamores. The Redbirds and Panthers split two regular season MVC matchups, with Illinois State winning 65-61 at home back on Dec. 29 and Northern Iowa returning the favor with a 78-63 win on Feb. 11.
SB Nation's Bill Connelly broke down the biggest storylines of the MVC tournament on Thursday, and Redbirds forward Jackie Carmichael and Panthers guard Anthony James both appeared on his "Players To Watch" list:
Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State. The 6-foot-9 junior from Manhattan, Kan. is a dominant force for the Redbirds' offense. His game is quite similar to that of Stutz above; he shoots 53 percent on two-pointers and ranks fourth in the country in defensive rebound rate. Accordingly, he almost averaged a double-double.Anthony James, Northern Iowa. The six-foot junior dominates the UNI offense, for better or worse. He takes one-third of the shots when he is on the floor, and he was the only Panther to average double-digits. He makes 40 percent of his 3-pointers, and when he's on, UNI is very dangerous. Needless to say, he'll need to be on.
Here is a look at the updated bracket going into Friday's action:
The full tournament bracket can also be found here, and below is the information on Illinois State's Friday game:
Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, Game 4
Game Time, Date: 2:35 pm CT, Friday, March 2, 2012
Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO
TV: MVC TV Network