Official Store

    Illinois Schools Square Off For South Padre Island Invite Title

    Alex Marcotullio and the Northwestern seniors are seeking their third in-season tournament title.

    Alex Marcotullio and the Northwestern seniors are seeking their third in-season tournament title.

    Nov. 24, 2012

     vs. Illinois State
     Date  Saturday, Nov. 24 | 7 p.m.
     Location  South Padre Island Convention Center  | South Padre Island, Texas
     Watch Live  CBS Sports Network
     Listen  720 AM WGN and
     Live Stats  Gametracker
     Social Media  @NUMensBball   |  Facebook
     Game Notes  Northwestern  |  Illinois State

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- A pair of schools from the Land of Lincoln square off for the South Padre Island Invitational title Saturday night as Northwestern takes on Illinois State. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. with CBS Sports Network providing television coverage.

    It will be the second meeting on the day between Northwestern and another Illinois school as the Wildcat football team faces Illinois for the Land of Lincoln Trophy.

    The NU cagers advanced to championship game with a commanding 55-31 win over TCU on Friday. The Horned Frogs' 31 points were the fewest by a Northwestern foe since a 68-30 win by the 'Cats over Oakland on Nov. 22, 1998. Jared Swopshire led the Wildcats with 15 points as NU led TCU to 26.5 percent shooting.

    Northwestern has won two of its last three in-season tournaments, winning the 2010 Chicagoland Invitational Challenge and last season's Charleston Classic.

    Series History: ISU leads the all-time series, 2-1. The teams last met Dec. 18, 1996 when the Redbirds posted a 67-47 win in Evanston.

    • The Redbirds (5-0) defeated UAB 77-65 Friday evening behind 30 points by Bryant Allen. Illinois State forced 27 turnovers in the contest.
    • Jackie Carmichael leads ISU with averages of 16.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.The Redbirds are forcing an average of 18.4 turnovers per game and are averaging 88.2 points per contest.
    • Dan Muller is in his first season as the head coach at Illinois State. An ISU alum, he was previously an assistant coach at Vanderbilt.

    The 31 points that Northwestern limited TCU to on Nov. 23 were the fewest in Bill Carmody's 13 seasons as head coach and rank as a tie for the second-lowest total by an NU opponent since 1944. Only Oakland has scored fewer points against the Wildcats in a 68-30 loss to NU on Nov. 22, 1998. SIU-Edwardsville also scored 31 on Dec. 1, 1982.

    The Wildcats have been especially stingy on the defensive end in the first half this season. Three times in the team's first five games, Northwestern's opponent has managed just 14 points. NU limited Texas Southern to 6-of-29 shooting (20.7%) on Nov. 13, Fairleigh Dickinson to 6-of-28 shooting (21.4%) on Nov. 18 and TCU to 6-of-22 shooting (27.3%) on Nov. 23. The 14 points are the fewest by a Northwestern opponent in a half since UC Riverside scored 14 points in the first half on Dec. 1, 2008.

    The Wildcats have found the month of November to their liking. Northwestern has won its last 20 games in the month, the second-longest streak in the nation. Only Syracuse (29) has a longer active winning streaks in the month. Indiana also has 20 straight November victories. NU is off to a 5-0 start for the third-consecutive season, starting the 2010-11 campaign with eight straight wins and last season with seven consecutive victories.

    Sophomore Dave Sobolewski has been in a giving mood through the Wildcats' first five games. The point guard handed out a career-best nine assists in Northwestern's season-opening win over Texas Southern Nov. 13 and then followed it up with eight helpers against Mississippi Valley State Nov. 15. Sobolewski has 29 assists to just three turnovers through NU's first five games. His average of 5.8 per game ranks second in the Big Ten to only Michigan's Trey Burke (2.8 pg). A year ago, Sobolewski led the Big Ten and paced all nation's freshmen with a 2.63 assist-to-turnover ratio. Through five contests, Northwestern leads the nation with an average of 21.2 assists per game.

    Northwestern is well known for playing "team" offense and that's reflected in the statistics. The Wildcats ranked fourth in the nation with a 1.53 assist-to-turnover ratio last season and they're third so far this year with a 2.16 ratio (106 assists, 49 turnovers). NU ranked second nationally to only Wisconsin with a 1.70 mark in 2010-11. NU also ranked fourth in the country last season with an average of just 10.2 turnovers per contest.

    Drew Crawford currently ranks 13th in school history with 1,345 career points. He is two points shy of matching Rod Roberson for 12th place and 23 points behind Jim Burns for 11th place. Last season, Crawford became the 17th Northwestern player to reach the 1,000 career point mark in his first three seasons of action. He is the second-leading returning scorer in the Big Ten in terms of scoring average behind only Penn State's Tim Frazier after posting a norm of 16.1 points per game in 2011-12.

    UP NEXT...
    Northwestern returns home Tuesday to face future Big Ten member Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Tip time is 8:15 p.m.


    Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!