ISU men’s and women’s hoops release non-conference schedules for upcoming season

Both of the Redbirds men’s and women’s basketball teams will begin play in early November. (Greg Halbleib)

By Jake Fogal

BLOOMINGTON – Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at Illinois State have dropped their non-conference schedules for the upcoming season.

Following an NCAA tournament appearance, head coach Kristen Gillespie unveiled the women’s schedule for the reigning Missouri Valley Conference Champions, knowing that tougher competition better prepares her players.

“We’re facing some strong opponents before conference play starts as we prepare to chase another title and NCAA Tournament appearance,” Gillespie said.

The Redbirds will host Indianapolis in an exhibition game on November 1 before beginning their season on the road for the second consecutive season on November 10 at Dayton. ISU will play St. Thomas in its first home game at Redbird Arena on Nov. 15.

ISU will match up against the Big Ten’s Wisconsin and Purdue again this season, facing the Badgers on Nov. 20 for a White Out game at Redbird Arena and traveling to West Lafayette, Indiana, later in the year to play the Boilermakers on Dec. 11.

“The opportunity to play two Big Ten programs and three teams who finished in the top-100 NET rankings last year will be great preparation before Valley play,” Coach Gillespie said.

Following their matchup with Wisconsin, the Redbirds will flock to Las Vegas to play in the UNLV Thanksgiving Classic. The women will have four additional games in December, featuring games against St. Louis, Missouri-St. Louis, Purdue and UW-Green Bay.

On the men’s side, The first game of the Ryan Pedon era falls on Nov. 7, when the Redbirds face Western Illinois. The Redbirds will then trek to Charleston, Ill. for a game against Eastern Illinois on Nov. 10.

Illinois State will then play two games, one on the road and one at home, against Northwestern State, a program that ISU has never faced in its history.

The Redbirds’ next trip is to the Cayman Islands on Nov. 21, where they will face LSU. The following day, ISU will face either Akron or Western Kentucky in the second game of the Cayman Islands Classic, with the third game taking place on Wednesday, November 23.

Moving into December, the Redbirds have four non-conference games remaining, including three at Redbird Arena. Eastern Michigan and SIU-Edwardsville will travel to Normal before ISU takes on Ball State in the Indy Classic on December 17. The non-conference schedule concludes on December 19 with a game against Chicago State at Redbird Arena.

Jake Fogal can be reached at [email protected].


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…