Head coach Porter
Moser will have his work cut out for him in his inaugural season
with the Redbirds, as Illinois State will face four teams, including
three on the road, that ranked in the top 100 of the college
Percentage Index last season.
"I'm looking forward
to building a home-court advantage at Illinois State again," Moser
said. "I played in Horton Field House and Redbird Arena, and I know
how electric it can be. I'm prepared to go speak at every student
group and community function in town. I'm going to make this happen.
For the second time
in three years, after an 18-year hiatus, the Redbirds will face
intrastate rival Illinois in Champaign. In a game slated for Jan. 3,
the 'Birds will face longtime foe Bruce Weber in his first season
with the Illini after a five-year stint at Southern Illinois.
"Being from Illinois
and after taking this job, I was glad to see that we were able to
keep the Illinois game on our schedule," Moser said. "This game is
great for our program, our fans and the state of Illinois. It's a
fantastic in-state rivalry -- one that I would like to see every
The Illini finished
last season with a 25-7 mark and a No. 16 ranking in the RPI. Weber
owns a 7-3 mark against the 'Birds.
In addition to
traveling to Champaign, the Redbirds will face Northern Illinois and
Illinois-Chicago on the road. The Huskies topped Illinois State
72-65 in Redbird Arena last season and finished with a 17-14 record.
The Redbirds will face NIU on Nov. 26.
"Along with Illinois,
playing Northern Illinois and UIC is also good for our fans," Moser
added. "These are teams that people in the area know. Our players
also know their players, which makes for strong rivalries."
On Dec. 13, the
Redbirds will battle Illinois-Chicago in the Windy City for the
first time since 1999. The Flames topped the 'Birds 78-65 last
season in Normal before posting a 21-9 record and advancing to the
National Invitation Tournament. UIC finished the year ranked No. 80
in the RPI.
Rounding out the away
portion of the non-conference slate, the Redbirds will make a return
trip to Utah State on Nov. 29. The Aggies dropped the 'Birds 68-53
in the season opener before losing to NCAA runner-up Kansas in the
first round of the NCAA Tournament. Utah State finished with a 22-9
record while ranking No. 86 in the RPI.
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"The non-conference schedule will be difficult," Moser said. "All
the programs we are playing -- UIC, Western Kentucky, Utah State and
Illinois -- are at the top of their league. And we will playing them
all on the road, which should prepare us for the Valley, a league
that a lot of people are saying is even stronger from top to
For the fourth
straight season, Illinois State will open the men's basketball
campaign in Redbird Arena, which in 2004 will house the Redbirds for
the 15th year.
The 'Birds will host
Florida A&M on Nov. 23, in the first-ever meeting between the two
schools. The Rattlers finished the 2002-03 season with a 17-12
On Dec. 2 Illinois
State will host Bellarmine, a Division II school located in
Louisville, Ky., for the second home game. The Knights ended the
year with a 10-19 record. The Knights will be the 'Birds' first
Division II opponent since 1999, when Illinois faced Puerto Rico-Mayaquez
in the San Juan Shootout.
The Redbirds will
also host Marshall and Western Kentucky, two teams that haven't
played in Normal since the mid-1970s.
Marshall comes to
Illinois State on Dec. 6 as a return game from the initial ESPN
Bracket Buster Saturday game last season, when the Redbirds stunned
the Thundering Herd 57-53. It was only the second victory by a
non-conference opponent in Huntington in the last seven years.
Marshall ended the year 13-15.
Kentucky Hilltoppers travel to Illinois State on Dec. 16. WKU
finished last season with a 23-9 record, which included a
first-round loss to Illinois at the NCAA Tournament and a No. 59 RPI
In addition to the
Marshall game in December, the Redbirds will host a second ESPN
Bracket Buster II game on Feb. 21. With an expanded field for this
year's event, the Redbirds are currently slated for a home game.
"I'm really excited
about getting to host an ESPN Bracket Buster game," Moser said.
"This is one of the most exciting and creative concepts to come out
of college basketball in a while. The players love it and so should
the fans. It's a great way to promote our program and to help us
schedule home games with teams that normally wouldn't want to come
into Redbird Arena."
Season tickets for
the upcoming men's basketball season are currently on sale. For more
information, please call the ticket office at Redbird Arena, (309)
for the 2003-04 Illinois State men's basketball prospectus (in Adobe
here to download the Adobe Acrobat reader.]
[Todd Kober, director of athletics
Illinois State University]