You may remember Illinois State coach Dan Muller soliciting opponents on the line last spring after his Redbirds shared the Missouri Valley title at 17-1 before losing to Wichita State in the conference tournament and missing out on the NCAA tournament despite a 27-6 record. Muller was upset with the committee so he reached out to any and all takers for help on his 2017-18 schedule. Insert Ross Bjork.
After only facing one top 100 KenPom team in the non-conference stretch last year, Saturday’s matchup in Oxford will be the Redbirds’ fifth overall and third on the road. The tougher schedule has given out some lumps, with Illinois State just 4-6, but they are no stranger to SEC competition as they beat South Carolina earlier this year.
Ole Miss is coming off a sluggish win over Sam Houston State, but all wins are good at this point in the year for the Rebels. Illinois State struggles on the glass, and that comes at a good time. Dominik Olejniczak and Bruce Stevens look to finally be adjusting to the speed of play after scoring 19 points and grabbing six rebounds in 27 total minutes Wednesday. The Basketbearsharks will need more of that because the Redbirds are a big step up from Sam Houston State.
How to watch:
Where: The Pavilion, Oxford, Miss.
When: 2:30 p.m. CT
TV: SEC Network
Online streaming: WatchESPN