Tyler Brown leads ISU against Louisville on Saturday (Photo courtesy GoRedbirds.com)
By Bryan Bloodworth
NORMAL - Tyler Brown will be facing his childhood team Saturday when Illinois State meets No. 5 nationally ranked Louisville at noon at the 22,000-seat KFC Yum Center.
"I was a Louisville fan all the way," Brown said Wednesday at the team's news conference. "My dad was a Louisville fan. The household it was all Louisville. Any time they played (Louisville and Kentucky) it was always crazy."
Brown, who grew up about 90 miles from the Louisville campus in Owensboro, Ky., understands he'll have a lot of friends and family in the stands.
"From a game aspect, it's just our next game so it's our biggest game," said Brown. "Nothing will change as far as it just being another basketball game we are looking forward to win."
ISU forward Jackie Carmichael said the Redbirds are obviously looking forward to the challenge. Both teams enter the game with 5-1 records.
"Any basketball player looks forward to this especially playing someone of their caliber," said Carmichael. "It's huge. You don't get this challenge very often, so we're just going to try and take full advantage of it.
"We have nothing to lose. We just have to go in there and play the way we play. We can't go in there over excited or thinking one way or another. We just have to play Redbird basketball."
ISU coach Dan Muller believes his team will be ready to face the Cardinals.
"We'll be prepared and I think our team will be confident. I'm looking forward to the opportunity for our our guys to go out and see where we are at," said Muller. "It's an opportunity for our team to have some fun, to improve as a team. Louisville is very good - their personnel, they play so hard."
Bryan Bloodworth can be reached at email@example.com